Just so nobody feels left out, the NBA is apparently “closing in on a second bubble in Chicago” for the eight teams that sucked too much in 2019, to make the expanded return to play tournament in Orlando. Yes, that means our hometeam, Minnesota Timberwolves too.
Let’s consider, though, the teams that would be part of this “Return of the Losers”. Is this really something we want?
The NBA is closing in on signing off on a second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Orlando, enabling mini-training camps and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources tell ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2020
- Atlanta Hawks (20-47)
- Charlotte Hornets (23-42)
- Chicago Bulls (22-43)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46)
- Detroit Pistons (20-46)
- Golden State Warriors (15-50)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)
- New York Knicks (21-45)
Pros and Cons
There are a few positives for the Timberwolves specifically, if this does end up happening. This would give them an opportunity to further develop the roster around Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Gersson Rosas was very active in retooling the roster this season. If the Wolves are to take a leap and join the upper tier of the NBA, they need to figure out who can play and who can’t.
The Wolves would also be stacked up against competition they actually have a chance against. As currently constructed, they aren’t going to match up with any of the teams in Orlando. Therefore, the games should be more watchable and competitive vs the rest of the NBA’s bottom-dwellers.
I’m all for watching more D’Angelo Russell/Karl-Anthony Towns games but I doubt they are gonna be coming back for this second bubble. This is I guess more to cater to the GLeague guys, the rookies and free agents. Don’t expect to see DLo or KAT or Lavine or Steph— Basketball Never Stops ? (@DomFlournoyNBA) July 2, 2020
One major con, is the health of Towns and Russell. If the games aren’t going to matter, is there a point to having those two play? This is especially important with KAT, considering COVID-19 has already claimed his mother. Would he be comfortable with a return?
Not a Done Deal Yet
Regarding the potential second bubble in Chicago, this scenario would need to be agreed to by the players association. Work remains on that front, I’m told. If hurdles get cleared, Wintrust Arena makes sense from logistical standpoint because it’s connected to a hotel.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 2, 2020
There is work yet to be done, if this 8-team return is even going to come to fruition. From a purely developmental standpoint, this could be a good thing for the Timberwolves. That still doesn’t mean it’s the right thing, especially without anything of value on the line (like there is in Orlando).
We’ll have more on this story as it unfolds.
Seth Toupal | Minnesota Sports Fan