NBA Rumor: G League Bubble

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Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-3, 18-year-old basketball phenom who is on a path to becoming the first native-born son of the Philippines to play in the NBA, is opting out of the start of the NBA G League bubble in Orlando next month in order to meet contractual obligations with the Filipino National Team — the Gilas. Instead of entering the G League bubble on Jan. 26 with the G League Ignite team, Sotto will travel to the Philippines and play with the Gilas when they host Korea (Feb. 18 and Feb. 22) and Indonesia (Feb.20) at Clark City in Pampanga. “The G League agreed for me to meet my previous commitments to play for the national team,” Sotto said via direct message. “They have asked for me to immediately report back to the bubble after my last national team game.”

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The NBA G League announced today that 18 teams, including 17 NBA G League teams and G League Ignite, will take to the court in February at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The top eight teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff. “We worked closely with our teams, the Basketball Players Union, and public health experts to develop a structure that allows our teams to gather at a single site and safely play,” said NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “We are thrilled to get back to basketball and to fulfill our mission as a critical resource for the NBA in developing players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office staff.”

The 17 participating NBA G League teams are: Agua Caliente Clippers (LA Clippers), Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs), Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers), Erie BayHawks (New Orleans Pelicans), Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers), Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets), Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves), Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic), Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies), Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder), Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors), Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)

Stefan Bondy: Per source, the tentative G League schedule: Jan. 29: Training camp opens at bubble site. Feb. 8: Season starts March 5: Playoffs start *the hope is that the bubble site is Atlanta but that’s not set.

Preliminarily, 10 teams, including the South Bay Lakers and the Maine Red Claws (the Boston Celtics’ affiliate) indicated they will opt out, sources told ESPN. The G League has received commitments from about a dozen teams, including the Ignite, sources told ESPN, and await final decisions from a handful of other franchises. With the details surrounding the upcoming season being so fluid, the teams on the fence are not sure what exactly they would be committing to, sources told ESPN.

The G League, the NBA’s developmental league, is made up of 28 teams who are each affiliated with one NBA team as a sort of minor-league feeder system for parent organizations to develop young talent and look for diamonds in the rough. The G League suspended its 2019-20 season on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic before canceling it entirely on June 4. Unlike NBA teams — who fly in private jets and are thus more easily and safely able to isolate during travel — G League teams have always flown on commercial airlines, making getting anywhere during a pandemic a much less safe proposition for them than it is for their parent teams.
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January 23, 2021 | 6:44 pm EST Update