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Bulls, other non-playoff teams can train in individual bubbles

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association finalized an agreement Tuesday that allows the Bulls and the other seven teams that didn’t qualify for the restart to have voluntary group workouts in their facilities beginning next month.

The Bulls and the other seven teams that did not qualify for the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World and create their own individual team bubbles.
The Bulls and the other seven teams that did not qualify for the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World and create their own individual team bubbles.
Brian O’Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Bulls and other teams that didn’t get invited to Walt Disney World now have instructions on how they can get back to basketball — in their own bubbles.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association finalized an agreement Tuesday that allows the Bulls and the other seven teams that didn’t qualify for the restart to have voluntary group workouts in their facilities beginning next month.

Much like the 22 teams that resumed play after the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, teams will need to have all players and staff remaining in a campus environment in which everyone will be tested daily for the virus.

A two-phase system will be used for the program that will run from Sept. 14-Oct. 6, which will have players “residing in a campus-like environment under controlled conditions.”

The first phase, from Sept. 14-20, will be a continuation of voluntary individual workouts at team facilities. Players and staff who plan to take part in group workouts will begin daily coronavirus testing at that time.

Teams can then practice and scrimmage from Sept. 21-Oct. 6. Each team will have to create a campus in its home market, which will include the team’s facilities and private living accommodations for players and team staff — all of whom must remain on the campus.

The eight teams that weren’t within six games of a playoff spot at the time play was suspended on March 11 didn’t qualify for the restart. Those teams were the Bulls, Atlanta, Golden State, New York, Minnesota, Charlotte, Cleveland and Detroit.

There was concern among those teams about not getting to work with their players during a potentially long layoff, with the 2020-21 season expected to start no earlier than December.