Several teams, hoping to avoid months of inactivity that could hinder the development of their young players and their brand in general, are looking to stay active with a number of ideas, ESPN said.
These ideas include training camps in July, joint training, regionally determined shortened summer leagues in August, and organized team activities in September like the NFL usually has during its off-season. Another suggestion was to allow teams not part of the Orlando restart to start training camp up to 10 days earlier for the 2020-21 season. These teams have opened their training facilities for voluntary and socially distant training, like the rest of the league.
“Nine months is too long without organized basketball,” Hawks owner Tony Ressler told ESPN. “We just can’t risk it. I think the league heard it loud and clear. We strive to remain competitive. This is what our players want. We desperately wanted something that helps us stay competitive. ”
In order for any of the above to happen, the NBA and the Players’ Association would have to negotiate the terms because they are not in the current collective agreement. The two sides must already agree on several financial and competitive issues related to the restart, although ESPN said the league had told the eight teams that they planned to make their offseason requests a priority.
The non-Orlando teams are the Hawks, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Timberwolves and Knicks.
It’s not certain that the Knicks are among the teams pushing for these new concepts. New President Leon Rose is looking for a new coach – interim coach Mike Miller should get an interview, but is seen as a long-term goal for the full-time position – and his list will get a lot of turnover , with up to eight free agents.
A truncated summer league or some sort of training camp would give any new Knicks coach a head start on alignment, especially young players RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina before anyone Rose adds in the project and the free agency.