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NBA, union agree to let non-restart teams train in individual team bubbles
9:31 PM ET
  • Tim BontempsESPN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced an agreement Tuesday evening for the eight teams who were not invited to the league’s restart inside a bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort to have voluntary group workouts at their facilities beginning in mid-September.

The agreement calls for players to work out “while residing in a campus-like environment” and includes “comprehensive health and safety protocols” for all players, coaches and team staff taking part.

That falls in line with the guidelines NBPA executive director Michele Roberts laid out to ESPN last month, when she was asked about what it would take to reach an agreement to allow the non-bubble teams to have some sort of offseason workouts.

“As far as I know, I haven’t changed the position that I have taken,” Roberts said. “That’s the position that the players have taken, that we have spent all this time coming up with what we thought was the safest way to return to play, and we agreed that we figured it out, and anything short of that is, by definition, an unsafe, or less safe, way of proceeding that the players are not going to support. Period. I’ve never vacillated. I still don’t.

“I’m not privy to the conversations that are happening between those eight teams. I hear rumors like everybody else. But I’ve been consistent and I intend to remain consistent because every time I’ve asked the players if they want to change our position, their answer has been consistently “no.” And so, look, there’s some players that want to play, perhaps. But every single one of them wants to be safe.”

Ever since the NBA came to an agreement with the NBPA to return to play in June, the fate of the eight teams that were left out of the restart — the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks — has been a point of contention. Those teams have repeatedly advocated for some way to get a chance to work with their players sometime before the start of next season.

Now, after this agreement, they will get one. The teams will be allowed to have players in for voluntary workouts beginning on Sept. 14, and going through Oct. 6, in a series of phases.

During the first phase, from Sept. 14 to Sept. 20, there will be voluntary individual workouts at the teams’ facilities, along with the beginning of daily COVID-19 testing for all participating players, coaches and staff. The second phase, which runs from Sept. 21 through the end of the workouts on Oct. 6, can include practices, skills or conditioning sessions and scrimmages, align with daily testing.

Teams will also create their own “campus-like environment” in their home cities to mimic what the teams in Orlando, Florida, have done. To participate, players and team staff will have to remain on the campus.

According to the agreement, participation is voluntary and can only include players who are under contract with a team and up to five players who are not currently under contract with an NBA team but who were part of the team’s G League affiliate this past season.

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