What we know about the possibility of the New York Knicks playing again this season.
Is it possible we haven’t seen the last of Julius Randle and the 2019-20 Knicks this season? Well, maybe. According to ESPN, the NBA is advancing their discussions about a potential second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams who were not invited to resume play in Orlando. The set-up would take place sometime in September and allow teams to participate in a mini-training camp and subsequent games, per Jackie MacMullan.
The New York Knicks are apparently reluctant to participate in a tournament-like atmosphere with several of their veteran players set to hit the open market in October, as reported by The Athletic last week.
A new report by Jonathan Macri of Sports Illustrated indicates the Knicks, and at least one other team, could opt out of the activities in Chicago, should they occur. Macri adds that New York has a strong preference to keep their workout activities close to home later in the summer.
Why wouldn’t the Knicks want to participate in the Chicago bubble?
The league finds itself trying to balance the desire of several teams who were left out of their Disney plans and don’t want to go 8-9 months without competitive basketball against the realities of scheduling another gathering of teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
New York has four players on team-controlled deals – Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton – who are unlikely to return next season. Reggie Bullock could also be waived, but most people covering the team believe he will return.
The final details of a potential second bubble still need to be worked out by the league, but it’s safe to bet the player’s association would negotiate the ability of players to opt out of playing, which would likely leave the Knicks roster sparse.
Perhaps, similar to Summer League, teams will be allowed to include a wider group of young players as a potential showcase event.
Following the Knicks idea to allow teams to host mini training camps in their home city seems the most logical path forward. For New York, they are hoping this would give their new head coach a chance to work with his new players while reducing the risk of traveling to a centralized location.
The Knicks were the only team who didn’t participate on the league call with the eight non-Orlando teams about the Chicago bubble. It was later reported by SNY that they were conducting previously scheduled Zoom calls with head coaching candidates Jason Kidd and Will Hardy.