By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
As the NBA prepares for the official restart of its 2019-20 season, new reports have emerged from the league stating there are discussions of a second bubble being created in Chicago intended for the league’s non-playoff teams.
With the league already taking a risk on bubble No. 1 in Orlando, the major question regarding this unexpected plan is has the NBA become over-ambitious with this idea of a second bubble? Simply, the answer is yes.
The NBA has recently taken an aggressive, NFL-like approach when it comes to its commitment to complete its season, including the exploration of creating opportunities for the league’s non-playoff teams to make money compete within their own rights via an exhibition league and an early start to their training camps for the following 2020-21 season, which is hoped to start by the end of this calendar year.
We all know that the foundation of this aggressive play is due to generating as much revenue as possible in hopes of maintaining their current CBA agreement.
It has been reported that the league could lose up to $2 billion if the NBA season does not resume, and that is a huge loss for the NBA that would ultimately force a re-negotiation on a new CBA between the players and the owners, with the players losing their leverage from the original deal.
But at what cost is it worth putting unnecessary people in danger just create an extra form of income? Coronavirus has not let up since its arrival in the United States, killings thousands of lives and affecting millions of people throughout the country. Many sports are planning and preparing for upcoming seasons, but the virus has been so lethal it is affecting those plans, forcing people to think twice, adjust their original choices and exercise their rights to sit out seasons. In regards to the NBA, you have definitely seen players remove themselves from the sport they love to secure their lives for the time being.
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Players like Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Celtics forward Gordan Heyward have made it clear that they will do what it takes to make sure family comes first, even if it means starting in the league and not going back. Let’s not also forget players that have actually contracted the coronavirus and made the decision not to put their lives in anymore danger like DeAndre Jordan and half of the Brooklyn Nets team. Or the fact that players have an increased chance of getting injured due to potentially being out of basketball shape and being forced to regain that condition in lone a week/two worth of seeding games.
Unlike Orlando, Florida, Chicago has been one of the few cities with strict mandates and guidelines behind reopening the city, making the city a very attractive location for finishing or starting a season based on the sport. They even put implemented a travel/quarantine ban stating if you travel to/returning from a certain state that is considered not a deadly hotspot, you are mandated to quarantine for 14 days. However, opening a second bubble can create another spike in COVID-19 cases and depending on the age group, can be deadly.
Though it is very risky, creating a bubble plan for players that have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs and winning a championship makes sense — there is an inherent purpose to play in spite of the risks to catching COVID-19. But having players play just to stay competitive without a winning end goal in mind does not make sense for this current environment, especially if the goal for the entire NBA is to be play for a championship.
The NBA needs all the money it can get for the players sake, but let’s make it clear; there is a hefty price for another man’s life, and the league is making it known its willingness to pay that price by creating an unimportant environment that unfortunately cannot just derail the product, but put the players in danger.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media