What we know after week 1 of the NBA’s restart bubble
As the great Neil Armstrong said in 1969, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Those are also the same words echoed by every NBA fan on July 9th when teams arrived at the bubble in Orlando, Florida for training camp preparations for the upcoming July 30th restart. To that, I say this. We’re almost there, but we’re not out of the woods just yet. Here’s all that we know about the NBA’s bubble thus far.
Notable NBA players opting out
There is a significant list of NBA players that have decided to opt-out of the NBA’s restart. Headlined by Washington Wizards all-star Bradley Beal, the list includes fellow all-star Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler, and a few others.
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With superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson already on the outside looking in on the restart due to injury, some could say the restart will lack competition with the others mentioned above the following suit for their own personal reasons. However, the league came up with a plan to combat that problem.
Notable NBA players opting in
With the number of players opting out of the league’s restart, the NBA has allowed teams the opportunity to sign free agents to supplement the loss gained by their opting out player or players.
For example, with Avery Bradley opting out of the restart for the Lakers, J.R. Smith was signed a few days later to substitute for his loss. Then, the Brooklyn Nets decided to fill their production losses of Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, and Spencer Dinwiddie with veterans Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley (who recently left the bubble after initially testing positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the bubble, per ESPN).
NBA’s late arrivals
Now, let’s stick to the topic at hand here, but with a twist. Forget getting back into the league as a free agent like I had alluded to earlier with the three above. A few players are actually having a hard time just getting to the bubble in Orlando. And they’re not just any players, they’re superstars.
According to the Denver Post, Denver Nuggets superstar big man Nikola Jokic finally practiced with his teammates Tuesday afternoon. This comes three weeks after their training camp initially opened and one week after the Nuggets officially arrived in Orlando.
The LA Clippers also had to deal with a late arrival by their own superstar Kawhi Leonard who showed up a few days late to the bubble after dealing with a family matter. And if you think that’s tough, try being a Houston Rockets fan. BOTH James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the team charter to Orlando, Florida according to coach Mike D’Antoni. Later we discovered that Westbrook had tested positive for COVID-19, according to his own twitter account. So, in other words. Good luck, Rockets fans.
We’re almost two weeks away from the moment we’ve all been waiting over four months for. So, It’s been said before but we can say it again. Those NBA arrivals this past Thursday were, “one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind”. Next stop? July 30th. Let’s go!