NBA ‘Delete 8’ bubble scrapped as Knicks hope for OTAs


While a one-site bubble arrangement with scrimmages for the “Delete 8″ has been scrapped, talks have picked up between the NBA and Players Association officials to stage a less-complicated, voluntary organized team activity format for the eight clubs not part of the Orlando restart, according to league sources.

The Knicks were never in favor of a one-site bubble scrimmage situation but are hoping for some form of OTAs.

The scaled-down new plan would allow for the “Delete 8’’ clubs to have group workouts at their own facilities with, as one source said, “enhanced safety protocols.’’

It’s unclear how many players would be permitted to form a group workout, as negotiations are ongoing. For now, the eight teams are allowed to stage individual workouts at their facilities with one coach and no more than four players inside the complex at a time.

The sticking point all along with the union had been concern about the health for the players if they aren’t in a bubble-like environment similar to the league’s setup in Orlando, Fla.

RJ Barrett (l) and Mitchell Robinson
RJ Barrett (l) and Mitchell RobinsonAnthony J Causi

The concept hit a bump in the road the last few weeks with the focus being on the league’s restart at Disney World.

But with six teams set to be eliminated from the restart and the league’s wild success in maintaining a safe environment with no Covid-19 cases the last four weeks, more attention will be paid to the “Delete 8” teams that haven’t played since March 11.

The Knicks are especially eager to work with seven of their young players and introduce them to their new coach Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks hope to get some form of group workouts with RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Ignas Brazdeikas and the newly acquired Jared Harper.

Most “Delete 8’’ teams will be disappointed if this doesn’t go through, since the clubs will have been without a team setting for five months.

Knicks GM Scott Perry has been floated as a possibility for the newly opened Sacramento job following Vlade Divac’s firing Friday. Sacramento consultant Joe Dumars, Perry’s boss in Detroit, is running the GM search. According to a source, Bill Duffy, RJ Barrett’s agent, may be considered.

Knicks president Leon Rose kept Perry around by exercising his option for next season but that’s not a lot of security. Perry briefly worked for Sacramento in 2017 as Divac’s righthand man before leaving for more money with the Knicks under Steve Mills. Perry’s work has been heavily praised. He ran the 2017 draft and, through some dealings, netted D’Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson and Frank Mason III.

It’s been reported Perry left Sacramento on good terms as the Kings picked up a second-round pick as compensation. Perry also dealt with Sacramento on draft night in 2019, sending them $1M to move up in the second round to pick Brazdeikas.

The Knicks’ new front office is overloaded with the new hirings of VP William Wesley, director of strategy Brock Aller, assistant GM, college scouting Walter Perrin and assistant GM, pro scouting Frank Zanin. If Perry leaves, Perrin, who mentored Perry in Detroit, likely would succeed him.

With the Regular season now complete, Robinson officially set the record for highest FG percentage (74.2), breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record, albeit it in 61 games. The Knicks also officially will have 27th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft via the Clippers. They also hold the sixth best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the draft, as the lottery is scheduled for Aug. 20.

From early polling returns, there’s a chance Knicks prized rookie RJ Barrett won’t make any of the two All-Rookie Teams, which is surprising. did a poll of 10 ballots and Barrett did not finish high enough to make either team.

Previously, celebrated journalists John Hollinger, Sam Amick and Zach Lowe revealed ballots that didn’t include Barrett.

The Hoopshype poll listed for First Team: Ja Morant-Kendrick Nunn-Terence Davis-Zion Williamson-Brandon Clarke. The second team was: Tyler Herro-Coby White-PJ Washington-Rui Hachimura-Eric Paschall.

Though Barrett averaged 14.3 points, 5 rebounds and 2.6 assists, his efficiency ratings were low. He shot just 40.2 percent (32 percent from 3) and 61.4 percent from the FT line. Barrett’s durability, intangibles and staring down the New York pressure as a No. 3 pick still could put him over the top.

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