When the NBA announced its suspension last Wednesday in the immediate aftermath of a player testing positive for the coronavirus, the timeline was indefinite. As of Friday, the league was prepared to reassess its hiatus in 30 days.
That timeline has changed, and it will continue to evolve. Given CDC recommendations that Americans refrain from gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, ESPN reported Sunday that the NBA is preparing for a best-case scenario of resuming play in June. The league is exploring possibilities of playing with no fans to start, potentially using team practice facilities to hold games. Sources told ESPN that organizations have been instructed to provide the league with available dates for games through August.
It remains possible that the league will simply cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season, but clearly there is momentum within NBA circles to play out the rest of the season in some manner, even if it is significantly delayed. The league will prioritize health and safety concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic in making any decisions about restarting the NBA calendar.
On to the links...
- While the NBA awaits resolution, the G League season is expected to be cancelled. The G League calendar only runs through April, playoffs included. Since players fly commercial, which increases their exposure, and the league doesn’t make money, there appears to be little impetus to resume play.
- The league has continued the ban on full team practices, though players are now allowed to leave their markets provided they are cleared by team medical personnel, they stay within North America, and they continue to practice social distancing.
- Here’s an outline of what the NBA calendar could look like if the season picks up where it left off in mid-June.
- Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin suggested last month that the NBA should consider starting its schedule in December to avoid competition with the NFL.
- Marc Stein of the New York Times notes that a delayed season could prevent NBA players from playing in the Olympics, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 9. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Montrezl Harrell were on the list of 44 finalists for Team USA released in February. New signee Joakim Noah has previously played for France, which qualified for the Olympics, and Ivica Zubac (Croatia) and Mfiondu Kabengele (Canada) play for teams that are still in qualification.
- In lighter news, I stumbled upon a Clippers Pi Day fun fact.
- And Joey Linn put together an outstanding video of Blake Griffin’s rookie year highlights. This one’s a must watch.
Day 3 without the NBA.— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_) March 14, 2020
During this time, we all gotta get in our creative bag and bless each other with the content we’re missing out on.
Here’s a rookie Blake Griffin mixtape I made. I can’t believe this was 10 years ago. One of the craziest rookies in league history. pic.twitter.com/8V4muPQMNH