The NBA put their season on hold a month ago after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, other sports have also postponed their seasons until further notice.
The NBA’s plan
Commissioner Adam Silver said decisions made about the season won’t happen until at least the beginning of May.
“Essentially what I’ve told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decisions,” Silver said in an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson aired on the NBA’s Twitter page.
He said it’s hard to have confidence in when the league will start again with how much has changed since March 11.
“And, interestingly enough, I think if you and I on March 12 had been asked that same question, both of us would have said, ‘It’s hard to imagine that three-plus weeks later, we wouldn’t have a better understanding of where we are.’
“The fact is now, sitting here today, I know less than I did then, and I think in some ways, just as I listen to the public health experts and the people advising us, the virus is potentially moving faster than maybe we thought at that point, so maybe it will peak earlier. What that means, in terms of our ability to come back at some point, whether it be in late spring or early summer, is unknown to me.”
While the health and safety of the teams and fans are most important, there’s only so much time the NBA has to finish this season. Waiting longer for this season to continue affects next season.
There are rumors suggesting the possibility of holding the playoffs in one place with no fans, kind of like the MLB’s idea. There has also been talk of a shortened playoff tournament with a best-of-five series instead of best-of-seven.
ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the league may shoot to have the season finished by Labor Day.
Wojnarowski’s only concern with continuing the playoffs is the possibility of someone catching the virus and the league having to shut everything down again.
“What the NBA can’t have and the situation that they won’t put themselves in, is if they do start the season and the playoffs begin and we’re in the middle of the series and a player tests positive, it can’t be a situation where they have to shut it all down,” Wojnarowski said.