NBA Working Toward Return Backed By Superstars
The NBA was the first American sports league to close up shop due to the corona virus outbreak back in March. It now appears that they plan on resuming the 2019-2020 season in an effort to crown an eventual champion. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “participants on a board of governors call on Tuesday with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left the virtual meeting feeling increasingly positive about the league’s momentum toward a resumption of play this season. Owners and executives on the call were encouraged about the league’s progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and the league office’s positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) about the players’ desire to eventually restart the season.”
The player’s desire to restart the season is a key factor in all this. Without their backing, things get complicated.
The good news for the NBA is that the top players in the league all want to play. Chris Paul, who is the president of the Player’s Association, organized a call with league superstars including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook. As reported by Yahoo Sports, toward the end of the call, all parties were in agreement to take the court with proper safety measures once the league has given the green light. This holds significant weight.
So with the top players on board and the league and its owners wanting to salvage as much of the season/revenue as possible, we can expect to see basketball in some capacity. But, in what capacity?
The truth is, no one really knows. Clearing the initial hurdle of gauging interest was an important first step. Additionally, it was important there needed be a consensus that the league cannot reopen, just to shut down when a few cases pop up. The idea of playing in a bubble, therefore, seems most likely. There will be no fans, that much we know for sure, so there isn’t really a point in having everyone travel around when it can all be done at one or two host sites. Having an “NBA playoffs / Olympic Village” environment would surely produce some noteworthy competition while limiting disease spread.
The question as to whether the league will jump right into a post season or will finish with some regular season games, is a jump ball. However, since there are 10 games or less remaining for each team, there really isn’t much left to be decided. One possible argument is the 3.5 games the Pelicans and Trail Blazers are out of the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Seeding is another argument to be settled as the final 10 games often play a major role in determining playoff match-ups. The Lakers and the Bucks are comfortable number one seeds in their respective conferences. Others are less sure.
We need to await more information to know the exact road map to return, but it does seem like the return of basketball’s 2019-2020 season is inevitable in some improvised form. Good news!