On December 24th, G League fans received a present through the reporting of ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Within the piece published on Thursday afternoon, it was stated that at seventeen teams, along with the incoming Ignite squad headlined by Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Daishen Nix, have determined their decision on whether or not to play in a single-site tournament bubble that is scheduled to take place in February. Over the course of that time, the teams are expected to play in at least a dozen games, which doesn’t include playoff games.
According to Ridiculous Upside’s sources, the G League teams that won’t competing in this bubble include: South Bay, Grand Rapids, Texas, Wisconsin, Windy City, Sioux Falls, Maine, Northern Arizona, Stockton, and College Park. If you’re even a tiny bit deceptive, you’d realize that there were ten teams that declined while there are seventeen that have decided to make their way to the bubble. That uneven number is due to the unique possibility of the Erie BayHawks and Capital City Go-Go combining forces to create a singular team, in a similar mold as the 1943 Steagles. The report of the two teams merging has been courtesy of the Athletic’s Fred Katz, who has actually been on that beat for the last few weeks.
In terms of where the tournament will be played, that still remains a mystery. Ever since Marc Stein’s reporting back in late November, the general consensus had the event taken place in the Atlanta area around College Park, where the Skyhawks call home. Although that’s still a possibility, Dallas stands as another possible location for the event, according to a G League source.
In terms of how the rosters of G League teams will be organized during this event, there are going to be some interesting wrinkles. According to that same report from Givony, the NBA is eliminating the restrictions on organizations acquiring veteran free agents for G League rosters. Rather than veterans like Nate Robinson and Ricky Davis having to sign a deal with the league and go through the waiver process, NBA teams can now designate a player with five years or more years of experience in the NBA for assignment to one of the ten roster spots on the G League club.
This move is beneficial for both the players and NBA teams. In regards to the veterans, they’ll have additional control over which organization that they’ll be with in the G League, rather than dealing with the uncertainty of the waiver wire. Now with the NBA organizations themselves, they’ll have more control over the player that will be on their G League affiliate, while also having the peace of mind knowing that the veteran will be tested for COVID-19 while in the bubble.
Along with the addition of NBA veterans, teams will have another chance to fill out their rosters through the use of a G League Draft, which will be conducted in January, according to Givony. This year’s iteration will be significantly different as the pool will consist of players with G League rights owned by teams that decided to not go to the bubble. This would honestly increase the value of the draft due to the inclusion of players that already have G League experience, compared to past versions that is filled with rookies that haven’t taken the time to get adjusted to the pace and skill of the G League.
While we’re still waiting for the league itself to officially announce the start of the season and the details surrounding the bubble, these reports are a sign that our time without G League hoops may finally be nearing its end.