Mark Cuban: I don’t know. But there’s a bigger collective goal here as well. People need sports, and could you imagine a different league that has an opportunity to come back and if your team, even if you’re in last place, didn’t want to play? That’s not going to be a good situation to be in, whether you’re a fan of that team or anybody in that organization. I think people will play. Guys realize there’s something bigger at stake. And that’s the best way to put it. NBA players are smart. They recognize there’s something bigger at stake than, you know, the aggravation of playing five, six, seven, whatever-it-may-be more regular-season games even if they’re completely out of the playoffs.
More on Coronavirus
Following up on your comments to Mark Followill and Brian Dameris on our podcast, where you said the Mavericks facility won’t open until testing is widely available: What specifically does widely available mean to you and what’s the importance of it? Mark Cuban: I’ll use the White House protocol. The way the White House protects the president and vice president is the way that I want to protect our players and employees, you know? We’ll just try to just copy what they do as a means of knowing when the time is right. As of now, for all we know, for all we’ve been informed, anyways, they’re testing everybody. And they test their top people on a daily basis. And so they have access to the best science, the best information, and so it just makes sense to me that we just copy them.
The Orlando Magic will not reopen team facilities Tuesday for voluntary individual player workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic as they had tentatively planned last week. The team now plans to reopen Wednesday, but even that is subject to change, according to the spokesman. The Magic continue to await COVID-19 test results for players and staff who will be on hand for workouts, according to the spokesman.
Zhang Duo: The application to resume CBA season on June 15th is already approved by General Administration of Sport of China, reported by Chinese basketball columnist Su Qun.
Among Utah Jazz players, Ingles' situation is far more common than Conley’s—just one reason Jazz officials were thrilled to allow players to enter the team’s practice facility Monday for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak shut down the NBA on March 11. Jazz officials confirmed “a handful of Utah Jazz players participated in voluntary, individual workouts” at the facility on Monday. The workouts were done in accordance with Utah Department of Health and NBA regulations.
Ira Winderman: The Miami Heat have been cleared to and will move ahead as planned for individual player workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena starting Wednesday. Still out of town are Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill, who all are in California. No COVID testing, but temperature checks.
“We have to get to that point where the White House standard becomes the national standard, I think, in order for consumers to feel safe going out, in order for employers to feel completely safe bringing people back to work,” Cuban said on “Squawk Box.” “I think we can get there, I just don’t know when.”
During an interview Monday with ESPN 103.3 FM, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said members of the organization have recently discussed changes to operations and technologies in the AAC if fans can return in limited capacity before treatments and preventions for the coronavirus are created. The AAC norm might start with staggered fan arrival.
The Mavericks could request fans sign up for an arrival time at a specific parking spot, Cuban said, where they’ll then receive a predetermined path to walk to their gate. Upon passing through AAC security, a guide could lead fans to their seats, separated from other guests. “We may do that almost like Disneyland, do it like there’s a procession and you have people guiding you to your seat,” Cuban said. “Or the example I use is more like a haunted house where you wait in line and you go through the haunted house, but you’re not allowed to touch anything, and everybody just is guided to their seats at the right time. It may take a little bit longer for everybody to get into their seats to start the game, but we’ll accommodate that and go from there.”
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus via contaminated surfaces, Cuban highlighted potential artificial intelligence, such as a service tool similar to Amazon’s Alexa, to allow fans a way to verbally request needs, rather than moving around and touching items. “There’s just so many things that we’re trying to deal with. There’s a lot of natural [decontamination] and sterilization tools that we can use to keep the arena clean,” Cuban said. “There’s all these things that have to be considered, and we’re trying to put together a list now.”
The Hawks’ practice facility in Brookhaven’s Executive Park officially reopened Monday. The facility was shut for 54 days, originally closing March 18, one week after the NBA suspended play when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.The team will do temperature checks before players enter the building, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, and is not seeking the testing of players/staff who are not exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus as of now.
The NBA has reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to extend until September the 60-day window that preserves the league's right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN. Pushing back the deadline allows for the NBA and union to gather a clearer picture of the economic losses and bargain on a number of crucial financial issues.
The NBA had the ability to terminate the CBA under the force majeure event provision for the two months starting on the March 11, when the season was suspended. There's optimism that the NBA and union can work through these issues and agree on how the league's financial landscape will be recalibrated on a number of issues, including the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds, sources said.
This extension allows the league and union to continue trying to resume the 2019-20 season this summer, salvaging some regular-season games, carrying out the playoffs and recouping some lose revenue. Commissioner Adam Silver told the players on Friday that expenditures by fans -- through gate receipts, concessions and other game-night receipts -- constitute approximately 40 percent of the league's revenue, according to audio of tape obtained by ESPN.
The Knicks finally made it official that there will be no more games at the Garden for the 2019-20 season. The Knicks emailed their season-ticket holders Monday morning informing them they will get a full refund on the eight postponed regular-season games — or have option of rolling it over to next season with a gift for doing so.
The Post obtained a copy of the letter, stating if fans rolled it over, they’d receive a bonus of either a food and beverage credit, MSG Store credit or an RJ Barrett authentic jersey. “As a season-ticket member, we would like to offer you the option to receive a refund on the 2019-20 postponed game if you so choose,” the letter stated.
The NBA still hopes to play out as much of its remaining schedule as possible, but Commissioner Adam Silver is now signaling those games will be played in a centralized location without spectators, if they are played at all. The league could incur major financial losses as teams receive an increasing volume of calls from restless ticket holders who want their money back. A league source told The Sacramento Bee the coronavirus shutdown has already taken a huge financial toll on the Kings, who are bracing for what might be tens of millions of dollars in uninsured losses. The source said the stoppage in NBA play and live events at Golden 1 Center is having a “tremendous impact to the bottom line,” saying “over half of the team’s revenue is generated from hosting ticketed events in the arena.”
Team and league officials explain it is difficult to calculate the average price of an NBA ticket due to multiple factors, but some have attempted to do the math. Barry’s Ticket Service, Inc., an online ticket broker, estimated the average cost of a ticket on the secondary market was $89 during the 2018-19 NBA season. Using those figures, the NBA could lose more than $400 million in regular-season ticket sales. In March, a high-ranking team official told Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports the NBA could lose nearly $500 million if the remaining regular-season and playoff schedule is canceled. Just last week, Statista.com, an online portal for statistics, estimated the NBA could lose up to $450 million in gate revenue and $200 million in non-ticket revenue.
Ontario-born Dr. Leslie Bottrell, a Raptors superfan who works at hospital New York is unable to spend Mother’s Day with her children this year. Instead of keeping her kids in their tiny New York apartment, she sent them back to her childhood home in St. Thomas, Ontario as she continue to gear up to fight COVID-19 at Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, just north of Manhattan.
Despite being apart, Botrell was greeted with a heartfelt message with her hometown. A suprise greeting from her favourite NBA player, Kyle Lowry, over video call on Sunday. “Oh my god,” Botrell said, as she saw Lowry pop-up on the video call. “That’s incredible.” Lowry said it was his “honour” to be on the call with Bottrell. “You’re really on the frontline, and it’s my pride and joy of being on this call with you, it’s just like my heart is racing right now.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was on a conference call with representatives of the league players’ association, discussing restarting the season. His stance about one issue was clear. If the NBA was going to resume play, it would commit to staying on course even in the face of a positive COVID-19 test, or, depending on the circumstances, even a few of them. He didn’t know at the time that the leader of another major sports enterprise was already dealing with similar circumstances.
A UFC fighter and two of his cornermen had tested positive ahead of Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Jacksonville. Hours later, when the situation became known publicly, many people assumed the show would not go on. After all, the NBA immediately shut down in March when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first of its players to test positive. A zero-tolerance policy is understandable, then and now, but what Silver and UFC President Dana White came to realize is there is also likely no realistic pathway for the return of major sports competition if that is the benchmark.
Even if leagues create a “bubble,” as the UFC did this week in Jacksonville when it took over a hotel, tested everyone upon check-in and held all events at an adjacent arena, there is a good chance someone will test positive, especially when some people are asymptomatic, as Ronaldo “Jacre” Souza and his cornermen were. Without a vaccine, the question isn’t if someone will test positive, it’s what is the plan when someone does.
It’s something Silver has reportedly addressed with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, and an issue Silver spoke with players reps about Friday: Quite simply, resuming the season will not work if it has to be postponed indefinitely again when a player or staff member tests positive. If and when that happens, the player or staff member would be removed, quarantined offsite and tested before he could possibly return.
Yao Ming, the former Houston Rockets star and now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, says the league has three options for resuming the season that has been on hold since Feb. 1 over the coronavirus pandemic.
Yao said the league might play out the full schedule; play a shortened season with some games dropped; or end the regular season and go straight to the playoffs based on teams’ current rankings.
Yao told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday that he hopes as much as the season can be played as possible, but that public health and fairness were the key considerations. A tournament to restart the season was also being considered if not all scheduled games could be played. Teams would also be isolated in hotels and fans barred from stadiums, he said.
In formulating a restart plan, the CBA received advice from a unique source, Yao said. Zhong Nanshan, who heads a national virus control team and is married to a former national player, provided “many useful suggestions,” Yao said. “With their help, we are more confident of the CBA’s return.”
Ira Winderman: Miami-Dade clears opening of Arena for Heat workouts: "Effective as of 6:00 p.m. on May 8, 2020, Emergency Order 15-20 is amended so as not to preclude the use of facilities owned or leased by a professional sports franchise, solely by employees of such franchise . . . " (1/2)
The Lakers Review: “I don’t think there is a drop dead date. I think the folks I’ve talked to have said ‘we can go as long as we need.’ I mean, they can be playing until Labor Day.” - Ramona Shelburne on the latest with the NBA during her appearance on The Mason and Ireland Show on @ESPNLosAngeles Jared Dudley: I heard even Oct from Adam Silver today...
Yao told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday that he hoped as much of the season can be played as possible, but that public health and fairness were the key considerations. A tournament to restart the season was also being considered if not all scheduled games could be played.
In formulating a restart plan, the CBA received advice from a unique source, Yao said. Zhong Nanshan, who heads a national virus control team and is married to a former national player, provided "many useful suggestions," Yao said. "With their help, we are more confident of the CBA's return." As in most countries, professional sports in China has been largely put on hold during the pandemic. The national football association said last week it would be mandating a temporary 30% to 50% pay cut for all players and hoped to restart competition on a staggered schedule.
Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki put on gloves and a mask to do his part in handing out food boxes Saturday to honor mothers ahead of Mother's Day. His foundation, along with the Mark Cuban Foundation, the Heroes Foundation, Center Table and the city of Dallas made it all possible. "What we wanted to do today was take care of mothers," said Trina Terrell general manager of Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center. "Our primary focus is to just show a little more love to the moms that have been going through a couple of tough times during this pandemic just to give them some support."
When Ontario premier Doug Ford was asked Friday about how the testing of NHL players and related staff would be handled if Toronto became a hub for the six other Canadian teams should play resume, he had an answer ready: “From what I understand all tests would be supplied by MLSE, the costs will be absorbed by (Leafs and Raptors owners) MLSE or the NHL, whoever it might be,” said Ford. “And through that, whenever they set it up then they’ll actually donate some of the time at the testing area as well, so they are giving back to the public on top of testing their own players, which I thought was very thoughtful of them, for doing that.”
Could the NBA follow a similar path, where instead of waiting for widespread testing to be available to the point where they wouldn’t be seen as a drain on resources, they could be the source of more testing? It’s something that’s been contemplated in NBA circles, although no specifics are available. But it seems like something that could be easily viewed as a win-win, if say, for every 1000 tests the NBA uses they “sponsor” 20,000 tests in communities where there was a need.
In Germany where the Bundesliga is poised to become one of the first major sports leagues to return to play, the league has promised to cover the cost of the additional testing they’ll need – an estimated 20,000 tests spread among 36 teams – as well as provide any surplus tests to front line health-care workers. “Along with the NBA, we are all following that and I think if they are a couple of weeks in front of us, it will be hopefully useful and directional for us to look at,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster told reporters on a conference call when asked if the NBA is studying the German model. “Everyone is looking at that. “
Love was screened when he arrived at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio before entering at a designated side entrance. The 31-year-old five time All-Star was asked questions regarding any sick symptoms and his temperature was taken to make sure he didn't have a fever. Only four players were allowed at a time – to follow social distancing practices – and once in the facility, players had their own half courts to work out with an assistant coach who was wearing a mask and gloves to pass and rebound. "I feel like anybody who needs an escape or in everyday life is looking for any type of normalcy back doing something they love," Love told ESPN. "For me, I played 25-ish years of organized basketball and this is the longest I've ever gone without touching (a basketball) And it's something I really, really enjoy doing. "So for me, it definitely was a big dopamine hit, and it just felt great to get in there and sweat outside of doing my workouts at home or getting on a treadmill. Going out there and having some sense of normalcy and getting on the court and actually shooting was pretty uplifting."
Love said he could see a blueprint for what practices could look like if NBA play returns. "It's just going to change the way, at least for the foreseeable future, of not only how we interact but how we live in our daily lives," Love said. "So for me, was it weird? Yeah. I had (Cavs assistant coach) Dan Geriot at my basket and having him rebound and pass me the ball with a mask and gloves on. It's just odd. It's just weird."
According to sources, with the pandemic creating an economic crisis for the NBA, teams might be eager to unload their giant contracts. Because the cap won’t be as high, the luxury tax looms larger. OKC has been fearful of the luxury tax, having once dumped James Harden.
There is so much uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic, but one thing is for sure: the salary cap will be lowered, according to league sources. On the surface, that makes it advantageous to build around younger players on cheaper contracts. That said, if Rose has young assets to tempt the Thunder this offseason, sliding Paul into cap space will be easier than fitting in a top free agent. That’s because the Knicks would have to give up pacts such as those of Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox to make the trade.
In municipalities where coronavirus testing has become readily available to at-risk health care workers, NBA teams opening facilities for voluntary workouts will be allowed to administer tests to asymptomatic players and staff, sources told ESPN. The Orlando Magic have been approved and plan to administer testing to players prior to a Tuesday reopening, and the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams expected to be allowed to conduct coronavirus tests of all players and staff members entering facilities for individual workouts -- regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms.
“I’m worried, because you should be,” Rivers told me and co-host Wos Lambre on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “I’m not smart enough to know what this virus is or does. We do know it affects most people when they’re in a group setting, and it doesn’t affect you at all when you’re by yourself. You know? We already know that. Listen, I’m not young (58), but I guess I’m young enough … I don’t know. Would I say I do it without fear? Of course not. You’ve got to have some fear in all this … until (there’s a vaccine), no one can tell me they’re going to do anything and feel comfortable doing it. I just don’t know how we get there.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Adam Silver made something clear on conference call, telling players Rudy Gobert wasn’t the first NBA player to get tested; he was the first to test positive. NBA was ahead of curve in assuring safety before virus shut country down.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Michele Roberts asked Silver on the call about financial impact moving foward for the league and players, and Silver flatly said that the collective bargaining agreement "wasn't built for an extended pandemic." Silver called it all: "The greatest challenge" of our lifetime.
Bobby Marks: From an economic standpoint. The NBA was projecting $8B in Basketball Related Income (BRI) for this season and $8.4B in 20-21. Those numbers were before the revenue decline from China and COVID-19.
Bobby Marks: The salary cap mechanics would see the system crash based on the steep decline in revenue. The league and PA will essentially be negotiating a new CBA (an amendment to the current one) when the time comes.
Shams Charania: Sources: On the ever-elusive question -- What if a player tests positive upon return -- Adam Silver told players the NBA would hope for daily testing at that point and no stoppage of play, having the player(s) isolated in quarantine.
Shams Charania: Sources: Commissioner Adam Silver told NBA players on call Friday: - If season resumes, no fans expected - 40% of league revenue comes from fans - Season decision can go into June - Until coronavirus vaccine, there is risk; will be living with the virus for foreseeable future
Sacramento Kings guard Yogi Ferrell is donating hundreds of meals and servings of ice cream to foster youth residing at Sacramento Children’s Home and the organization’s staff who are facing currently increased needs due to the COVID-19 health crisis. With his donation, Ferrell is also supporting several local restaurants and small businesses navigating this unprecedented time.
Popovich, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, called Trump a “sociopath” in his interview with TSL, and said “the more we ignore him, the better off we’ll all be.” But overall, he thinks the U.S. is trying to do the right thing in its response to the pandemic. “I think that the country, with governors and mayors and localities, are really trying to do this right, and they understand about flattening the curve, and they understand about staying the course for longer than just today, that this thing is gonna be with us for a long time,” he said.
“We want to be as routine-oriented as we can, but it’s just not always feasible. And so, this particular situation, as COVID-19 shut down more and more businesses and shut down our league, became more real to all of us, then it affected everyone’s routine,” Stevens said. "It’s not an athlete thing, it’s not a coach thing, it’s an everyone thing. And so everybody is dealing with that, and I think that as an athlete, the different curveballs that come out of left field that you get used to hitting I think are good preparation for times that are going to challenge you like this.”
More than a dozen conversations with CBA players, coaches, team officials and agents have revealed a deeper frustration with how the league has yo-yoed from decision to decision amid the COVID-19 crisis. The issue is not the CBA’s caution—“If we can keep people safe by delaying our league and holding out on competitions for a second, we should,” says Mayo—but the uncertainty and lack of transparency that’s resulted in such a mad scramble for so many."
As a precautionary measure upon reaching Liaoning, Mayo entered government-mandated quarantine in a nearby hotel for 14 days. While there, he binge-watched countless hours of Netflix, received four coronavirus tests—two blood samples and two throat swabs—and worked out twice a day with a team trainer over video chat. But on April 14, less than a week after Mayo emerged with the medical all-clear to join his team, another hammer dropped: The CBA had determined that play wouldn’t resume until July at the earliest.
“In my opinion, I felt like they were rushing to try to start the league when they weren’t going to start anyway,” says Zhejiang Golden Bulls guard Marcus Denmon, a second-round Spurs pick out of Missouri in 2012. “For what reason? I’m not sure. But I feel like for them to say, come over here to ground zero during this pandemic, without even a guaranteed date to start, put you in jeopardy by making you get on a plane and travel … I didn’t think it was fair for the players.”
Irving also donated 3,000 N95 masks for essential workers in the tribe. Irving’s late mother was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The CBA’s attempts to restart have taken on a similarly cyclical feel. As the world’s first major sports league to indefinitely suspend operations amid the growing pandemic, it was supposed to be a guiding light for other outfits looking to return—not to mention proof that the Chinese government, heavily criticized for how it handled the outbreak’s early stages, had brought life back on line.
Instead, as Korean and Taiwanese baseball leagues restart play (albeit without fans), the German Bundesliga readies to kickoff anew on May 16, and normalcy begins tiptoeing into arenas and stadiums across the world, the CBA has become a cautionary tale—a measure of the difficulties facing every league in the age of COVID-19. Its experience is especially relevant to its basketball brother, the NBA, which has floated restart plans similar to those sketched out by the CBA.
In China, scant official explanation has been offered for the fits and starts—or of when a final resolution can be expected. As one Chinese player put it to Sports Illustrated, “We stopped listening to all the rumors because there is a new message delivered to us almost every week.”
Still more have been caught in between: fleeing to their home countries during the initial suspension, rushing to China and quarantining for the mid-April restart, and finally flying home again when the latest delay came down. “It’s just a big disaster,” says one U.S. player, a high-scoring CBA veteran who requested to remain anonymous to avoid reprisal. “They called us back for nothing.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Orlando has been granted written authorization from the Orange County (FL) Department of Health and approval from NBA to test its players for the coronavirus, a team spokesman said.
As team facilities reopen in the coming days and weeks, organizations such as the Orlando Magic, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be among the teams allowed to conduct coronavirus tests of every player and staff member entering facilities for individual workouts -- regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms, sources said.
The NBA recently informed teams of a "limited exception" to guidelines that forbid the testing of asymptomatic individuals in this preliminary phase of players returning to practice facilities. Essentially, the NBA will approve a written authorization from a local health authority that confirms a "robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers" in the team's community, sources said.
The NBA plans to regularly test players for COVID-19 upon a formal resumption of the season, but the league has been reluctant in these voluntary scenarios of one-hour workouts to have a perception that the NBA is needlessly using tests that might otherwise serve those at greater risk in a community. Teams will follow numerous protocols upon players returning to facilities for these workouts, including the taking of temperatures, sources said.
If the NBA resumes play in a bubble, there will be complications as everyone arrives at a central location. Of course, everyone must get there first. That won’t necessarily be simple for international players like Luka Doncic.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Denver Nuggets are planning to re-open the team practice facility for voluntary individual player workouts on Monday -- not today, sources tell ESPN.
Ryan Wolstat: Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said the team pushed to get players shooting back internally in large part for mental health purposes. Get them out of their apartments back on court shooting. Says those players in town mostly interested in taking part.
MICHELE ROBERTS CAN'T remember when she first heard about the "bubble," the idea of isolating NBA players in a hotel so the league could resume its season amid the coronavirus pandemic. But she remembers her reaction to it vividly. "When that one was first floated," said Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, "there was some consternation."
A strict bubble where players are separated from their families, and only go to and from practices and games to a hotel, might seem attractive initially, Roberts said. But to enforce it, everyone inside would likely have to submit to some level of surveillance. And to Roberts, a former public defender and trial lawyer, that was problematic from the jump. "Are we going to arm guards around the hotel?" Roberts wondered. "That sounds like incarceration to me."
The hypothetical also didn't sit well with her constituents, the NBA's players. If a quarantined zone guaranteed players and coaches wouldn't get COVID-19, they told her it would be worth the sacrifice of separating from family and friends for several months. But without surveillance, how could anyone guarantee the bubble was impenetrable? What if a team staffer went to get a slice of pizza and became infected? What if an asymptomatic family member or significant other came to visit and spread the virus? If the honor code was too lax, but a police state was too draconian, what was the point of a bubble?
But one thing has changed -- the growing acceptance that if and when the NBA does resume, it will be in a world where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is ever-present. If the NBA is to come back in some form, there will be, by definition, risk. "This is a world with the virus," Roberts said. "And we have to figure out a way to work, play and live in a world with the virus. "The questions have now evolved from, 'Are we going to play again?' to, 'If we play, what are the risks going to look like?'"
Doug Smith: Raptors say they have permission for limited opening of training facility under tight NBA guidelines and rules. It will begin "the week of May 11" Th is not -- NOT -- a precursor to any resumption of play, it's letting a few employees at time back in the workplace
Publicly, the NBA has been vague about its plans to restart after suspending the season on March 11. There is no schedule for full teams to return to practice, nevermind to play real games. Privately, however, commissioner Adam Silver and his team in the league office have been making contingency plans for every imaginable scenario for how the coronavirus pandemic develops, according to recent conversations with sources from teams, agents, and the league. “What’s been hard for people to understand is the amount of flexibility that Adam has,” said one source with knowledge of discussions in the league office. “He doesn’t need to make a decision until he has as much information as possible based on where we are as a country and where the NBA is as a league.”
Multiple sources corroborated that Silver and his team have a decision tree that will guide the NBA’s choices. The league has the ability to chop off portions of the remaining schedule depending on what happens from both a player and public health standpoint. Here’s the league’s thinking based on a variety of possible events:
The Warriors are eliminated from postseason contention. The Cavaliers and Hawks are close, as are many other teams in the league, like the Timberwolves and Pistons. There is a belief around the league that their seasons are over. Some players want to get back on the court. “I’m excited to get some reps,” Cavs big man Larry Nance Jr. said. “I want the year to come back. I’m not gonna act like I know if we will, but I just really hope we do.” But one front office executive on a Western Conference lottery team said that while the NBA isn’t messaging that their seasons are finished, the thought is that the league won’t have the time or resources to bring all 30 teams to one location and play out the regular season.
“The first game when we get back will probably be a playoff game,” said a league source with knowledge of plans for resuming games.
A postseason play-in tournament has been weighed but is considered highly unlikely, according to multiple league sources. While a tournament could be attractive to fans and lucrative for the league in future seasons, it’s considered too dramatic of a shift in the short term.
It’s too soon to have this conversation, league front office executives say, because no one knows if games will be played and how much revenue those games would yield. The salary cap is set through a complex process based on revenue from the prior season, so right now projecting the 2020-21 salary cap is impossible without knowing if any more games will be played in 2019-20. And since no one knows when fans will be allowed back in arenas, next season’s revenue could still fall well short of expectations considering the amount of money made from live games.
The Israeli basketball championship will begin again on June 20, the board of directors of the Winner League decided. Winner League announced the detailed program and the stages that will lead to the gradual resumption of the season and its completion with the traditional Final Four format.
The NBA could buy or get as many rapid test kits as it needs to attempt to restart without fans, sources said. But politically, that's a nonstarter right now. "In order to do testing, you need the machines, you need the cartridges, you need the swabs, you need reagents, you need personal protective equipment, and a shortage of any one of these makes it difficult," said former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who has advised the NBA on the virus. "Which is why you've seen backlogs in so many parts of the country."
According to sources, teams believe they would need local officials to allow gatherings of up to 50 people to practice again and gatherings of up to 200 to play games again, likely at home practice facilities or Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This could theoretically accommodate families and be seen as a semi-bubble, a compromise where players wouldn't necessarily be subjected to such harsh social isolation or surveillance measures.
While the first wave of NBA teams prepares to reopen facilities for individual workouts on Friday, several team officials say the psychological effects of returning to organized activities during a global pandemic must be considered for players and staffers around the league -- especially those who already have a heightened concern about germs.
Several general managers and athletic trainers pointed to a number of players -- though they say it's not a large percentage -- whom they would describe as "germophobes." These team officials say there are several executives and other league staffers in the same position. "I'm one of them," one veteran front-office executive for a team in postseason contention told ESPN. Said one Eastern Conference general manager: "I'm not a germophobe, and I'm afraid."
Several team officials said there are players and staffers on their respective teams who fit that "germophobe" description, though none felt comfortable sharing their identities -- and none faulted them for being extremely cautious on that front. But multiple Western Conference athletic training officials referred to this psychological impact as a powerful added stressor for some players that could no doubt inhibit their ability to perform, even if the NBA was able to create an ideal environment at some point in the near future.