The Knicks’ hope of staging mandatory OTAs this summer has been dashed, according to industry sources.
The eight teams not involved in the Orlando restart were pushing for mandatory Organized Team Activities to make up for missing out on the Orlando restart. But the NBA and its players association won’t allow any of it to be mandatory, according to sources.
Some teams — not the Knicks — lobbied to have a one-site summer-league tournament with the eight teams, but the massive COVID-19 protocols in Orlando are too complex to implement for random teams, sources say.
NBPA director Michele Roberts hinted at concerns over OTAs for the “Delete 8’’ during Friday’s conference call, but didn’t rule it out.
“Candidly, while I appreciate 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,’’ Roberts said. “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.”
The concern is having the eight teams practice at their facilities, then allowing players to go home to their families. That’s contrary to the rules followed by the 22 teams in the Orlando bubble scheduled to start July 7.
According to sources, the Knicks were only interested in staging a week of minicamp with their young players after late July and did not want games. That way a new coach could get a feel for his team before the Nov. 6 opening of camp.
The league hasn’t ruled out informal group-setting team workouts, based on state social-distancing laws, but only voluntarily and with strict guidelines, according to sources. For now, the “Delete 8’’ are permitted to hold individual workouts at their training facility like the other 22 clubs.
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Taj Gibson and Frank Ntilikina were at the Knicks’ facility in Tarrytown on Friday. Mitchell Robinson and Kenny Wooten have also been working out there.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum indicated voluntary group workouts could still be arranged in the future.
“We want the same standards to be met, and there have been conversations that we’ve been having with the players association on how to present and whether or not we can do that,’’ Tatum said. “We know it’s something that our teams would love to do, that some of the players would love to do. It has to be done in the right way. We’ll continue having those conversations.’’
Roberts said teams such as the Knicks can find ways to get young players training. Over summers, the Knicks have sent coaches to players’ hometowns.
“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,’’ Roberts said. “But I am very concerned and frankly, our players, our teams are very concerned about any play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando. You never say never, but there’s a standard that’s got to be met.’’
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