Per a report from The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Cavs are among the so-called ‘Delete Eight’ teams who are pushing for the NBA to form a second campus site for those teams to train, compete and perhaps play televised games. Per the report, the the idea is to design it like the campus in Orlando where games are scheduled to start in late July.
Per Amick, the Cavs, Hawks and Timberwolves are among the most ‘vocal’ teams pushing for such a format with the Knicks not as keen on the idea. Houston and the Las Vegas have been discussed as possible host sites with the Timberwolves and other organizations offering to host, per Amick. It’s unclear if the Cavs have offered to host.
Publically, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and multiple players have noted the need for players on the eight teams not going to Orlando to play some competitive basketball before the next season starts.
“Our expectation is that the league is going to let us do something,” Bickerstaff said a few weeks back. “We are fighting, and I know there’s other teams too that are fighting to get something done.”
“It’s paramount for teams like us that are in the bottom eight to have some good competition,” Kevin Love said. “Eight months off from competitive basketball is not conducive to getting better.”
Per Amick, NBPA head Michelle Roberts wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea.
“We’ve spent … a tremendous amount of time and energy coming up with a protocol that each of us is able to sleep at night knowing it’s the best we can do to mitigate the risk of an infection on our players and our teams and our staffs,” she said. “If I didn’t feel that way, I would be recommending to Chris [Paul] and to the players to stay home. I feel that way, and so I can sleep at night.
“Candidly, while I appreciate (concerns) that there will be a bit of a layoff, I think there are some things these teams can do to get the guys that are not playing some (benefit) by their not being involved in Orlando. But unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be — I’m being tame now — suspicious. I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams. I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough [opportunities]. I think our teams are incredibly smart and creative and can come up with ways to get their guys engaged, if not now, before the season starts. But I am very concerned and frankly, my concern aside, our players, our teams are very concerned about any — in terms of play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando. So yeah, never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met, and if it’s not met, next question, as far as I’m concerned.”
Right now, it’s far too early to know if (or when) this will happen. The Orlando season comes first, and per Amick, no decision about the eliminated eight teams will occur until after that starts. In the U.S., coronavirus cases are on the rise again across the board and that likely will cool any rush to form another campus for players to return to. Recalling players for the Cavs would include players across the U.S. — Collin Sexton is in Georgia, Darius Garland is in Tennessee, etc. — but also from overseas, as Cedi Osman left the country after the Cavs weren’t included in Orlando. It’s also unknown how many of the Cavs’ players would actually want to go a campus site.
To do a second campus could require a lot of moving parts — many not controllable — to fall into place correctly. It’s understandable for teams to want it, but it’s also not going to be easy to pull off.