The eight N.B.A. teams that did not qualify for the season’s restart at Walt Disney World in Florida can create bubbles and hold voluntary group workouts at their team facilities beginning in mid-September, the league and its players’ union announced on Tuesday.
The provision applies to teams like the Knicks and the Golden State Warriors, who were no longer in contention for the playoffs when the N.B.A. suspended its season on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league resumed play in July with 22 teams in an isolated campus at Disney World near Orlando, Fla., that has thus far not yielded any positive coronavirus tests after players and staff left quarantine.
The announcement by the league is an indication that the N.B.A. has faith in its approach and feels comfortable expanding it, even as the pandemic continues to affect lives daily in the United States. Like the Florida restart, this plan would be implemented in phases, including a quarantine period before workouts. It would require players and staff to stay “in a campuslike environment under controlled conditions,” according to the statement released by the N.B.A., and to undergo daily testing for the coronavirus.
The eight teams affected are the Knicks, Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets. The league said that all eight teams could also invite up to five players who currently are not signed to a league contract but were assigned to the team’s G League affiliate.
The news release said that it would be up to the teams to create campus environments in their own home cities and that it is not mandatory for players to attend. This new agreement would open the door for teams to have intrasquad scrimmages and group conditioning sessions.
It is not clear where the home city campuses would be. The Knicks declined to comment. The team recently hired Tom Thibodeau as its newest head coach.
In the plan for the Florida restart, the N.B.A. allowed 22 teams to take part: the eight teams slated for the playoffs in each conference, as well as six teams that were within six games of the eighth seeds in their conferences. They played eight seeding games to complete the regular season and to determine which 16 teams made the playoffs and where they would be seeded. The playoffs began Monday.