NBA To Decide Whether To Restart Season In Two-to-Four Weeks

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  • Owners optimistic about the potential to safely restart the 2019-20 season following conference call with Adam Silver
  • Silver to decide whether to restart season within two-to-four weeks
  • League has been on hiatus since March 11

Since becoming the first American pro sports league to halt operations as a result of the coronavirus on March 11, the NBA has been figuring out how it can go about restarting its season. While the league has been largely quiet in the two months since shutting down, we are starting to hear murmurs regarding a potential relaunch of the 2019-20 season.

Last week, a few team practice facilities opened to players on a limited basis. The league is hopeful to have more than 20 facilities open to players and other team staff by the end of the week.

Growing Optimism

Late Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that team owners have grown more optimistic regarding starting the season following a conference call with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Owners were reportedly encouraged about the progress the league is making with regard to plans for how to resume play. The NBA Players Association has expressed enthusiasm about getting back to work this season, as well.

Silver discussed matters like health and safety, including measures that could be taken to help make sure that players, coaches and everyone involved with the league feel safe enough to start playing games. Silver also said that the league should prepare to continue playing in the event of a positive coronavirus test, adding that if a positive test “would shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path.”

The league shut down almost immediately after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus before a game in Oklahoma City on March 11. While it was unquestionably the right decision at the time, Silver is right that the league shouldn’t consider restarting the current season if another single positive test will be enough to cause the league to call things off again.

Complicated Path

However, there is a balance here. The league, players and medical experts have to figure out how many positive tests would be too many. The league is expected to consult health officials with regard to the best way to approach returning to play in the coming weeks.

Any plan to restart the season would require all 30 teams to conduct regular testing for players, coaches and staff. The league would use the same standardized test for all teams. As of now, the NBA is letting teams use a variety of different tests on those returning to practice centers.

Silver is expected to make a decision on a timetable for returning to action at some point within the next two-to-four weeks. The league is planning to study the trajectory of new virus cases in states that have started to reopen their economies. The NBA also wants to understand who tends to get severely ill from COVID-19, as well as how other leagues are handling testing and positive cases.

The top two soccer divisions in Germany are slated to get back underway on Saturday following a two month hiatus. The league is moving forward with games being played without fans in stadiums despite some players having tested positive for the virus since returning to training. The NBA will surely use the Bundesliga as a guide for how to move forward.

Where Would Games Be Played?

There are also plenty of logistics that still need to be sorted out, including how many games would be played and where games would take place. Playing games at every team’s home arena seems extremely unlikely at this point considering the massive amounts of travel required to do so.

While nothing firm is in place, the league still seems to be leaning in the direction of housing all players, coaches and staff in the same city. Las Vegas and the Disney World property in Florida have emerged as potential options. Silver described the idea as a “campus environment.” Major League Soccer is also discussing the idea of returning to play with all teams using the facilities at Disney World.

In addition to considering whether regular season games will be played, the NBA is reportedly also discussing a potential play-in tournament in order to give more teams the chance to qualify for the 16-team playoffs.

Some players have expressed concerns about returning to play too soon, while others seem to be eager to return to the floor. Players that play for teams with legitimate championship aspirations are not coincidentally among the most vocal advocates of restarting the current season.

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Taylor Smith / Author

Taylor is a sports writer based in Southern California. While he primarily specializes in basketball, baseball and football, he will also dabble in things like soccer and politics from time to time. He has lived in just about every corner of the United States at one point or another, and he has been covering sports and sports betting for the better part of a decade. Taylor currently lives in Long Beach with his fiancé and their two cats.

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