Chicago could be ‘bubble’ for eight teams left out of restart

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas hoped the NBA would give the teams not headed to Orlando some sort of minicamp or scrimmage time, and he might get his wish in his backyard.

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Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas hopes the NBA will make provisions for the eight teams left out of this month’s season restart.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas hopes the NBA will make provisions for the eight teams left out of this month’s season restart.

AP

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas was counting on the NBA to do the right thing and throw the eight teams left out of the Orlando restart “bubble’’ a lifeline.

That finally might have come Thursday.

ESPN reported that the league was set to sign off on a second “bubble’’ in Chicago for those eight teams, with a league source confirming the news.

“I’m confident because I think eight teams is a huge part of our league, and I think the league’s interest is to support those teams as well as they can,’’ Karnisovas said in early June. “The proposed structure of some practices and some scrimmages that we would like to see this summer, I think it’s not too much to ask.’’

Karnisovas didn’t seem focused on the details of what the league could give the teams, only that it would give them something.

Having a layoff from mid-March, when the coronavirus shut down the NBA, until possibly December is a huge disadvantage, especially for a young, rebuilding team like the Bulls. Meanwhile, the other 22 teams get to compete, practice and recruit.

“Again, I think we will get support from the league based on that,’’ Karnisovas said.

While the details for the “Chicago Eight’’ are being discussed, the league is targeting to hold the “bubble” in September, possibly at Wintrust Arena.

When Chicago hosted the All-Star Game at the United Center in February, most of the activities were held at Wintrust. Considering it’s connected to a hotel, the location would be a solid base to add coronavirus protocols.

Ideally, the “bubble” would take on a summer-league like feel. Teams could hold a mini-training camp in their home markets to get in shape, then play a tournament in Chicago.

What could help the Chicago “bubble’’ move forward is timing. If the NBA likes how things are progressing in Orlando and it’s able to get through the shortened regular season and start the playoffs without many setbacks, the excluded eight teams might be allowed to proceed.

That’s all Karnisovas was asking for when he said the Bulls were disappointed in being left out.

“We wanted to play because we thought we need to bring the sports back for our fans during this emotional time,’’ Karnisovas said. “At the end of the day, we have to compromise and do what is best for our league. The organization [must] be creative and perhaps discover new opportunities to support and develop our players once we were left out.

“I know it was a very hard decision for [commissioner] Adam [Silver] to make. That’s the direction of the league. That was decided in a vote, and we’ll stick to that.’’

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