After some speculation, the NBA is close to moving forward with a second "bubble" in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to finish the 2019-20 season in Orlando, according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. This would serve as a mini-training camp of sorts, and would allow those teams to avoid a lengthy layoff from competitive basketball by playing in games against each other. The event would take place in September, and would feature the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
Hawks executive Travis Schlenk has talked about the need to get his team some game reps to continue the development and chemistry of its young players. Pistons coach Dwane Casey expressed similar sentiments.
"We can't let these guys sit around from March 11 to December without something," Casey said, via ESPN. "It's going to hurt their careers. It's too long of a layoff."
The Warriors, however, are in quite a different boat with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson coming back healthy next season to join Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins with championship aspirations. Needless to say, Golden State's goals for a "fall league" wouldn't align with most of the other teams. To that end, don't expect to see Curry, Thompson, Green or Wiggins in Chicago. In fact, the Warriors were already planning to hold Curry out if the team was invited to participate in the Orlando restart, MacMullan recently reported on "The Hoop Collective" podcast.
"I was told unequivocally by people with Golden State that if Golden State came back, they weren't gonna let Steph Curry set foot on the floor," MacMullan said. "The reason they were worried about Steph Curry is that they didn't feel he had played enough to come back."
If the Warriors were going to sit Curry, who played in only five games this season due to a broken left hand, for relatively meaningful NBA competition at Disney, you better believe they're going to keep him as far away from Chicago as possible. A month ago, Warriors coach Steve Kerr foreshadowed the possibility of a separate summer or fall mini-camp and said that his team would be much better served by practicing than by participating in games.
"If we're talking about a mini-camp (in July, August or September) and some of the other teams are interested in playing games, we'd not be interested in that," Kerr said, via The Athletic. "I've talked to a couple of the coaches about that. Every team has its unique set of circumstances. And I know some of the teams are younger, interested in getting game action for their young players. But we're in a different space. We'd be more interested in practice time."
Given both the report and Kerr's statements, it's hard to imagine the Warriors taking any risks (both injury and COVID-19) by sending their stars to play games in Chicago. Given the lack of game activity over the past year for both Curry and Thompson, the rewards for a few games against young, developing teams just aren't there.
If the Warriors do participate, they will more likely send the host of young players Golden State fans became all too familiar with this season like Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Alen Smailagic. For some teams, the Chicago mini-camp might make sense, but the Warriors are clearly in a different place than the rest of the NBA bottom-dwellers.