Report: South Bay Lakers to opt-out of G League season

Jul 12, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Devontae Cacok (12) pulls down a defensive rebound during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Golden State Warriors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA couldn’t have asked for more success back in June and July when they created the plan to play the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando. The “bubble” worked perfectly, with no NBA players, staff, or employees testing positive during the league’s two-and-a-half-month stay at Walt Disney World Resort. But that’s in the past now, as the Lakers and the rest of the teams in the NBA will look to navigate the 2020-21 season outside of a bubble as they travel around the country to play their 72-game season.

The 30-team NBA league is one thing, but what about the G League? The NBA made bold moves in the past year to attract more high-school athletes to the G League as opposed to college basketball, creating a team called the Ignite that would serve that exact purpose. It’s shown some early signs of success, as the team secured the number one overall prospects in both the 2020 and the 2021 class according to ESPN. However, will the G League realistically be able to complete their season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? The league believes so, and is pushing forward with plans for their season. However, it sounds like the South Bay Lakers may opt-out of playing the season, probably due to safety concerns.

Here’s what Dave McMenamin of ESPN had to say in his reporting on the league’s intentions:

Preliminarily, 10 teams, including the South Bay Lakers and the Maine Red Claws (the Boston Celtics’ affiliate) indicated they will opt out, sources told ESPN. The G League has received commitments from about a dozen teams, including the Ignite, sources told ESPN, and awaits final decisions from a handful of other franchises. With the details surrounding the upcoming season being so fluid, the teams on the fence are not sure what exactly they would be committing to, sources told ESPN.

It sounds like the Lakers are definitely out on the G League, and are not part of the group of teams that are still on the fence. This would be in line with their moves the other day to waive three Exhibit 10 players (Kevon Harris, Tres Tinkle, Zavier Simpson) that would have made up a sizable portion of their team.

Another sad casualty of the sports world due to COVID-19. Look for the South Bay Lakers to hopefully be back next year when a lot more eyes will be on the G League.

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