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Maine Red Claws will not play this season after opting out of single-site Orlando plan

The team was first in their division and third in their conference last season before it was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credit: Maine Red Claws (@maineredclaws on Twitter)

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine basketball fans won't be seeing the Red Claws in action this season. The Boston Celtics own the team and have decided to opt out of the NBA G League's single-site regular season, which is scheduled to take place in Orlando beginning in February. 

The Red Claws released the following statement Friday:

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the landscape of sports, including the NBA and its family of leagues. The NBA G League has decided to move forward with a single-site regular season in Orlando.

Based on that decision, the Boston Celtics have decided to opt out of this optional scenario, and therefore the Maine Red Claws will not participate in the 2020-21 G League season.

While we share in our fans’ disappointment that we will not be having a season in Maine this year, we will continue to be active off the court and in our Maine communities. We are grateful to have the best fans and partners in the NBA G League and are excited to continue building towards the future.

We are committed to a 2021-22 season in Maine and the work has already begun. The best is yet to come for Red Claws and Celtics basketball here in Maine.

Sitting out the season will be a blow to Red Claws fans and players. The team was first in their division and third in their conference last season before it was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Standout point guard Tremont Waters won G League Rookie of the Year last season, and 7'5" center and fan-favorite Tacko Fall has been known to draw crowds and was expected to do so again.

The NBA G League announced Friday that 18 teams, including 17 NBA G League teams and G League Ignite, will take to the court in February at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The top eight teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff.

“We worked closely with our teams, the Basketball Players Union, and public health experts to develop a structure that allows our teams to gather at a single site and safely play,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said. “We are thrilled to get back to basketball and to fulfill our mission as a critical resource for the NBA in developing players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office staff.”

RELATED: NBA G League season canceled, Red Claws ‘disappointed’ but understand decision

NBA teams without an NBA G League affiliate participating in Orlando will have the opportunity to assign roster players and transfer Two-Way players using the league’s flexible assignment and Two-Way rules. The full list of the 17 participating NBA G League teams is below.

“Our Cast Members are eager to work with the NBA family again and welcome in the next round of talented basketball players to compete at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex,” Disney Sports Vice President Faron Kelley said. “Most importantly, Disney and the NBA G League will continue our shared focus on the necessary safety protocols for the well-being of the players, coaches, staff and everyone supporting this event.”

Ignite, the recently launched team for elite NBA Draft-eligible players coached by former NBA player and head coach Brian Shaw, will play its first games against NBA G League competition in Orlando. Different from a traditional season, Ignite will be eligible to advance to the playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort due to the unique circumstances of this year.  

RELATED: Maine's minor league teams join food fundraiser to help Mainers during coronavirus pandemic

Players, coaches, team and league staff living on the NBA G League’s campus at Walt Disney World Resort will be guided by comprehensive leaguewide health and safety protocols, which are based on the core principles of social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene and COVID-19 testing, according to the league.

The NBA G League heads to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney just a few months after the NBA successfully restarted the 2019-20 NBA regular season at that venue last summer, which culminated with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA title.  The complete 2021 NBA G League game and broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

The 17 participating NBA G League teams are:

  • Agua Caliente Clippers (LA Clippers)
  • Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Erie BayHawks (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers)
  • Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets)
  • Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic)
  • Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets)
  • Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors)
  • Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets)
  • Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz)
  • Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors)
  • Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)