Mini-bubbles are no longer being discussed for when the NBA season resumes. Instead, using team practice facilities for actual regular-season games is an idea gaining traction as next season approaches.
A league source told BasketballNews.com on Monday that regular-season games, which will begin Dec. 22, could be held in practice facilities or G League arenas as a way of controlling costs during the upcoming season if the coronavirus pandemic remains out of control.
As an example, the source said the Washington Wizards could play their home games at the 4,200-seat Entertainment and Sports Arena in the Congress Heights section of Washington D.C. That is the building where the Wizards normally practice, and it also is the home court for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA and Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ G League affiliate.
Teams that would use practice facilities as home courts would have to make them look suitable for television, perhaps with the same type of virtual fan setup that the league used in the Orlando bubble when the 2019-20 season was completed.
Earlier this fall, there had been talk of a series of mini-bubbles spread around the United States in geographic areas where the coronavirus pandemic was less of a concern. But with the virus now peaking across the country, that idea has been scrapped.
Numerous logistical ideas are being considered as the NBA gets ready to begin the 2020-21 season, with a limitation on travel being one of the primary focuses. In order to reduce travel, teams would likely play a series of games in a single region as much as circumstances permit. For example, teams traveling to Florida would play against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat several times during the course of a single trip.
Also, there would be a reduction in games (or an elimination of games) involving teams from the East playing teams from the West during the regular season. News broke over the weekend that the NBA Board of Governors still must approve a new play-in playoff format involving the No. 7-10 teams in both conferences, along with the following key dates:
Opening Night: Dec. 22
All-Star Break (No All-Star Game): March 5-10
Regular Season Ends: May 16
Play-In Tournament: May 17-21
First-Round Playoffs Begin: May 22
Conference Semifinals Begin: June 7
Conference Finals Begin: June 22
NBA Finals: July 8-22
Some NBA teams have proposed allowing a limited number of fans into their regular home arenas, but day-to-day changes regarding the spread of the pandemic have made some of those plans unworkable. With new rules being instituted nearly every day in different jurisdictions, what seemed workable one or two weeks ago is no longer a practicality.
So as planning discussions continue, the practice facility/G-League arena idea is gaining traction -- although it is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, as some teams practice at their regular arena and others do not have a nearby G League affiliate. In the case of the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, there is no G League affiliate.
Here is a list of each NBA team’s practice facility and/or G-League affiliate (and home court location):
Atlanta Hawks: Practice facility: Emory Sports Medicine Complex, Brookhaven, Ga. (11 miles from Atlanta); G League Affiliate: College Park Skyhawks, College Park, Ga. (9 miles from Atlanta)
Boston Celtics: Practice facility: Auerbach Center, Boston (7.5 miles from TD Garden); G League affiliate: Maine Red Claws, Portland, ME.
Brooklyn Nets: Practice facility: HSS Training Center, Brooklyn (3.2 miles from Barclays Center); G League affiliate: Long Island Nets, Uniondale, NY (29 miles from Barclays Center)
Charlotte Hornets: Practice facility: Separate court inside Spectrum Center; G League affiliate: Greensboro Swarm, Greensboro, NC (92 miles from Charlotte)
Chicago Bulls: Practice facility: The Advocate Center, Chicago (0.3 miles from United Center); G League affiliate: Windy City Bulls, Hoffman Estates, IL (32 miles)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Practice facility: Cleveland Clinic Courts, Independence, OH (12 miles from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse); G League Affiliate: Canton Charge, Canton, OH (59 miles from Cleveland)
Dallas Mavericks: Practice facility: BioSteel Practice Facility, Dallas (0.6 miles from American Airlines Arena); G League affiliate: Texas Legends, Frisco, TX (28 miles from Dallas)
Denver Nuggets: Practice facility: Inside Ball Arena (formerly Pepsi Center); G-League affiliate: None.
Detroit Pistons: Practice facility: Pistons Performance Center, Detroit (2.2 miles from Little Caesars Arena); G League affiliate: Grand Rapids Drive, Grand Rapids, MI (157 miles from Detroit)
Golden State Warriors: Practice facility: Inside Chase Center; G League affiliate: Santa Cruz Warriors, Santa Cruz, CA (73 miles from Chase Center)
Houston Rockets: Practice facility: Inside Toyota Center; G League affiliate: Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Edinburg, TX (337 miles from Houston)
Indiana Pacers: Practice facility: St. Vincent Center, Indianapolis (across the street from Bankers Life Fieldhouse); G League affiliate: Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Fort Wayne, IN (126 miles from Indianapolis)
Los Angeles Clippers: Practice facility: L.A. Clippers Training Center, Playa Vista, CA (16 miles from Staples Center); G League affiliate: Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (44 miles from Staples Center)
Los Angeles Lakers: Practice Facility: UCLA Health Training Facility, El Segundo, CA (15 miles from Staples Center); G League affiliate: South Bay Lakers, El Segundo, CA (1 mile from Staples Center)
Memphis Grizzlies: Practice facility: Inside FedExForum; G League affiliate: Memphis Hustle, Southhaven, MS (13 miles from Memphis)
Miami Heat: Practice facility: Inside American Airlines Arena; G League affiliate: Sioux Falls Skyforce, Sioux Falls, SD (1,825 miles from Miami)
Milwaukee Bucks: Practice facility: Froedtert Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center (across the street from Fiserv Forum); G League affiliate: Wisconsin Herd, Oshkosh, WI (88 miles from Milwaukee)
Minnesota Timberwolves: Practice facility: Mayo Clinic Square (across street from Target Center); G League affiliate: Iowa Wolves, Des Moines, IA (401 miles to Minneapolis)
New Orleans Pelicans: Practice facility: Ochsner Sports Performance Center, Metarie, LA (8 miles from Smoothie King Center); G League affiliate: Erie Bayhawks, Erie, PA (1,150 miles from New Orleans)
New York Knicks: Practice facility: MSG Training Center, Greenburgh, NY; G League affiliate: Westchester Knicks, White Plains, NY (27 miles from Madison Square Garden)
Oklahoma City Thunder: Practice facility: Thunder ION (9 miles from Chesapeake Energy Arena); G League affiliate: Oklahoma City Blue, Cox Convention Center (0.2 miles from Chesapeake Energy Arena)
Orlando Magic: Practice facility: Advent Health Practice Facility at Amway Center); G League affiliate: Lakeland, FL (56 miles to Amway Center)
Philadelphia 76ers: Practice facility: Camden, N.J. (6.5 miles to Wells Fargo Center); G League affiliate: Delaware Blue Coats, Wilmington, DE (32 miles to Wells Fargo Center)
Phoenix Suns: Practice facility: Suns Performance Center. (9 miles from Talking Stick Resort Arena); G League affiliate: Northern Arizona Suns, Prescott Valley, AZ (93 miles to Phoenix)
Portland Trail Blazers: Practice facility: 13 miles from Moda Center; G-League affiliate: None.
Sacramento Kings: Practice facility: Inside Golden 1 Center; G League affiliate: Stockton Kings, Stockton, CA (48 miles to Golden 1 Center)
San Antonio Spurs: Practice facility: Spurs training center, suburban San Antonio (16 miles from AT&T Center); G League affiliate: Austin Spurs, Cedar Park, TX (99 miles from San Antonio)
Toronto Raptors: Practice facility: OVO Athletic Center, Toronto (3 miles from Scotiabank Arena); G League affiliate: Raptors 905, Mississauga, Ontario (19 miles from Toronto)
Utah Jazz: Practice facility: Zions Bank Basketball Campus (2.6 miles from Vivint Bank Home Arena); G League affiliate: Salt Lake City Stars, Taylorsville, UT (10.5 miles from Salt Lake City)
Washington Wizards: MedStar Wizards Performance Center, D.C. (5.3 miles from Capital One Arena); G League affiliate: Capital City Go-Go (5.3 miles from Capital One Arena)