The Boston Celtics opened training camp Tuesday in preparation for a 72-game National Basketball Association season.

As for the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s partner in the developmental G League, the immediate future is unclear.

While the NBA has put together a five-phase plan for health and safety amid a pandemic with fast-rising cases across the country, decisions have yet to be made about where, when or even whether the G League will resume operations for the 2020-21 season.

Adam Mokoka of Windy City tries to block a shot by Tacko Fall during the Red Claws’ final home game at the Portland Expo on March 8. The G League soon shut down its schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Dajuan Eubanks, president of the Red Claws, declined to speculate on what might happen with his franchise.

“There isn’t much I can comment on,” Eubanks said Tuesday. “It’s not like I’m trying to hide. I just can’t say anything because it’s still being determined.”

Remy Colfield, a college scout for the Celtics who serves as Red Claws general manager, echoed Eubanks, saying that the G League’s immediate future remains undecided. The league has not released a date for its annual draft, much less a schedule of games.


One idea under consideration, according to multiple media reports, is to have a bubble in or near Atlanta that would cost approximately $500,000 per team to take part. The NBA was able to complete its 2019-20 season by creating a protected environment in Orlando for 22 of its 30 teams.

Under the Atlanta proposal, not every G League franchise would be expected to participate, and it is unclear whether the Celtics – who bought the Red Claws a little over a year ago – would take part. Of the 28 G League franchises who played last season, all but two are owned by their NBA affiliate.

Back in March, the Red Claws were enjoying a 28-14 season under head coach Darren Erman and regularly selling out the Portland Expo thanks in large part to the popularity of 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall. After the pandemic hit, the G League suspended and ultimately canceled the rest of the season and playoffs.

On Tuesday, Erman formally began new duties as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks under their new head coach, Tom Thibodeau. They had coached together when Thibodeau was a Boston assistant and Erman was making the unusual transition from corporate lawyer to professional basketball coach.

Fall and former Red Claws teammate (and roommate) Tremont Waters – the reigning G League Rookie of the Year – are among the 17 players currently on the Celtics roster. As was the case last season, Fall and Waters are playing under two-way contracts that would allow them to shuttle back and forth between the Celtics and Red Claws.

The NBA allowed individual workouts Tuesday for players with three recent negative tests for coronavirus. Going forward, players and coaches are to be tested daily. The first full-squad practices, or what the NBA describes as “group training activities,” will begin as early as Friday in some cities.

Preseason NBA games are scheduled to begin Dec. 11 and the regular season on Dec. 22. The Celtics have two exhibitions, at Philadelphia on Dec. 15 and at home against Brooklyn on Dec. 18. The first half schedule (of games through March 4) has yet to be announced.

The Portland Expo, which was used as a temporary homeless shelter earlier this year, served as a polling station on Election Day. Under current state guidelines limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people, the Red Claws would be unable to welcome fans to any games played there.

In response to a question about Expo preparations, Jessica Grondin, communications director for City Hall, said by email that “we are still awaiting confirmation from the Red Claws regarding whether or not they will need the use of the Expo.”

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