With Los Angeles expected to extend stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic until July, the reality is sinking in locally. Amid discussions where easy answers are hard to come by, with parts of the country — including California — starting to open up, there’s considerable concern accelerated openings will lead to another surge of the virus.
What does the expected extension mean locally for the LA sports teams, like the Los Angeles Clippers? Frankly, the writing is on the wall in one respect. If any of the local sports come back at all in the coming months, don’t expect them to return here, even in empty venues.
Of course, that possibility is already pretty well known, with widely-reported proposals for the NBA, Major League Baseball and MLS featuring the leagues moving to one or a few locations that are more permissive in opening to start or restart their seasons. Los Angeles is in the opposite scenario, looking to maintain shutdown orders, while cities such as Las Vegas and Orlando are being floated as potential leaguewide venues. Time will tell if any of these ideas come together — it’s still quite possible the current seasons are canceled altogether this year, and we’re still quite a long way from getting out of the pandemic.
So this means if the Clippers are to restart at some point in the summer, they’ll likely have to go somewhere else to do it. The Staples Center is likely not in play as a venue until the fall at the earliest. Will that tip the balance in one direction or the other regarding their championship ambitions?
The inverse of all of this is while you and I would be thrilled to see our teams back in action, for entertainment purposes and to make us feel like we’re inching closer to a normal life again, extending the local order may not be the worst idea for public health. Los Angeles had always been feared to be a major hotspot in the pandemic, and while California overall has done quite well in containing the spread, it wouldn’t take much for it to spread quickly. LA seems like a tinderbox, the virus a match burning right above the city, in a way.
As much as we may want to come out of our homes, see our favorite teams again, even just on TV, and get back to our full lives, safety has to be paramount. The NBA may proceed with their plans to restart in a centralized location and the season may get back underway, but it won’t be in Los Angeles, and above all, hopefully we find a proper balance between public health considerations and everything else.
And the news for this Friday:
- PG has to pay IOU to Clippers in the future: This report from ESPN says owners are cutting players’ pay by 25% beginning today, as agreed by the NBPA, except for a handful of top stars, including the Clippers’ Paul George, who will get paid the full amount. However, he will have to pay back the team, or more likely, take his pay cut next year or beyond, as he presumably already got his full pay due to his contract terms.
- Doc’s storytelling leads to “Blackballed”: The Quibi documentary on the scandal that led to Donald Sterling’s exit from the Clippers is coming next week, and in the LA Times, the story of the time Doc Rivers told a story about the experience, setting the wheels in motion for the documentary.
- A decade in the life of the Clippers: Also in the LA Times, Andrew Greif looks back at the past 10 years of the Clippers. A good case to be made it’s been the best decade in the franchise’s history.
- Coming soon: Remote broadcasts? I’m used to game announcers calling games remotely in a studio in other sports, but this story in The Ringer notes in light of the current climate, that could be the future to a much greater extent than before, including in the NBA.