The New York Knicks are reportedly hesitant to head to Chicago for a secondary NBA “bubble” and they should be.
Call it whatever you want: Delete Eight, Loser’s Bubble, Scrubble, Tragic Kingdom, and the list goes on and on. The secondary bubble for the eight teams on the outside of the NBA’s restart isn’t a terrible idea in theory. However, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the New York Knicks.
Last week, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the NBA was considering a second bubble and the Knicks “expressed reservations about participating.” Although it appears as if the league is pressing forward with the idea, the Knicks still don’t sound all that interested.
According to multiple reports, the Knicks missed the league’s conference call about the bubble due to previously scheduled coaching interviews. Marc Berman of the New York Post is reporting that the team was interviewing head coaching candidates Jason Kidd and Will Hardy.
Blaming the Knicks for missing the NBA’s conference call is downright ludicrous. What’s more important, choosing the team’s next head coach or scrimmages in Chicago two months from now?
Moving on, Jonathan Macri of SI.com reports that the Knicks could opt out of the second bubble and choose to conduct their own training camp in New York later on this summer.
Why We Can’t Blame The Knicks Here
There are a lot of reasons why the second bubble is a good idea. Teams that aren’t going down to Orlando for the 22-team restart are going to have a sizable layoff. Players are going to need some kind of competition to stay fresh.
However, the counterpoint here is that there are plenty of players who are in a contract year can’t afford to sustain an injury in a meaningless game. There are even guys on championship-contending teams who are opting out of Orlando for various reasons. Expect that number to be much higher in a glorified summer league.
And that’s where the Knicks come in.
New York has a handful of veterans on one-plus-one type deals. Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, and Elfrid Payton are on two-year deals with light guarantees in year two. Essentially, the Knicks can cut bait with these players this offseason, but they don’t have to make a decision on four of these guys until Oct. 17. The decision on Portis will likely be due the day after.
This would put these players in an impossible situation. Would opting out help or hurt their chances of coming back to the Knicks next season? In fact, Portis is already scratching his head at the idea.
— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) July 2, 2020
Damyean Dotson is another interesting case. The third-year guard is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and whether or not the Knicks plan to re-sign him is still unclear. There are already reports of interest in Dotson around the league. Should he go to the bubble and risk injury right before his first crack at NBA free agency? If he chooses to stay home, would that tank his chances at a contract with the Knicks?
Again, this is putting players in a no-win situation. It’s fitting considering there won’t be a winner at this second bubble like there will be in Orlando.
Truth be told, we’d all love to see more basketball. This year has been beyond weird with Kobe Bryant’s death and the season shutting down in March due to coronavirus.
The extra reps could be beneficial for guys like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, but the value they would extract from these games wouldn’t be enough to ignore the downsides for their teammates. Too many guys would be put in between a rock and a hard place with this decision.
The Knicks should not be vilified for pushing back against this idea. If it happens, that’s OK too, but teams like the Knicks should have the option of opting out entirely.