Goal of Hawks bubble: team bonding and incorporating Clint Capela

Emory Healthcare entrance.
Emory Healthcare entrance.

Credit: Michael Cunningham/AJC

Credit: Michael Cunningham/AJC

Because they were excluded from the Orlando bubble, the Hawks are one of eight NBA teams that will be allowed to hold one week of voluntary individual workouts in September followed by two weeks of team of team activity.

It’s much less than they were hoping for, since their part of the season was cut short by 15 games, but better than nothing.

The first week of workouts (Sept. 14-20) will look similar to what the Hawks have been permitted to do in the past, but the second two weeks (Sept. 21-Oct. 6) will be much different and will take place in a “bubble” or campus environment in Atlanta.

With those dates fast approaching, the Hawks have been working out the details for the coming bubble, as the NBA and the Players Association have a list of requirements that must be met. Even though it’s only two weeks of team practices, the goal is to bond as a team, considering that players mostly have been apart since the season was suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus, and to begin incorporating Clint Capela into the mix.

Capela, who the Hawks acquired at the trade deadline, has not played since Jan. 29 because of a nagging heel injury. The last time Capela spoke to the media, in July, he mentioned his heel was feeling “way, way, way better,” and according to general manager Travis Schlenk, he’s set to participate in the two weeks of team activity and will be able to play five-on-five.

That’s good news for the Hawks, as Capela figures to give the team a sizable boost after he makes his team debut. He also brings playoff experience to a young Hawks team.

“Obviously, Clint being healthy now, and him being able to play with our young guys, that’s an important step, but just really more of team-bonding,” Schlenk said of what the Hawks can accomplish in those two weeks. “They haven’t been around each other since March. Guys have kind of been out on their own for the most part.”

They’ll also have to gauge what shape different players are in, since they’ve been mostly working out independent from the team for a while.

For the first week of individual workouts, players will be able to show up at the practice facility and head back home afterward. They’ll receive a daily COVID-19 test, as will staff. Regarding location for those next two weeks, players and staff in the bubble must be shut off from the general public, so staying in a hotel with other guests present wasn’t an option. The team found a hotel that is not yet open in the city and is in the process to secure that as its venue is ongoing.

In the bubble, food will be provided, and the team expects there will be an open ballroom area for people to use, as well. Schlenk estimated the Hawks will have about 40 people, including players, staff and coaches, in the bubble in an effort to keep things small. During that two-week period of team activity, everyone will receive daily tests and temperature checks.

The team expects 10 players off the roster to participate, as well as five Skyhawks players (the list of Skyhawks players who will join the Hawks is still in the works).

All three weeks of workouts are optional, and from the beginning, Schlenk has acknowledged that some players have more incentive to participate than others. While younger players might leap at the opportunity to play, older players or those who are set to enter free agency and have the incentive to avoid injury may want to sit out this one. The Hawks are not releasing a list of names detailing which players on the roster will participate. However, it’s not expected that Vince Carter (who has announced his retirement) or Jeff Teague (who will become a free agent) will participate.

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