Report: NBA Discussing Moving Games to Other Arenas Amid Coronavirus Fears

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 11: A detail view of official Spalding NBA logo basketball on the floor during a preseason game between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 11, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 105-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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In an effort to guard against the spread of coronavirus, the NBA has reportedly discussed moving some games to different arenas or cities.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the idea was brought up ahead of a conference call involving Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday. If a team plays in a city that has been hit by coronavirus, it is reportedly a possibility that their home games could be played at the away team's arena or a neutral site in a city that hasn't yet suffered a coronavirus outbreak.

The NBA has already taken one step to keep coronavirus in check by preventing media members from entering locker rooms on a temporary basis.

Aside from moving games to other locations, Wojnarowski noted that the NBA has discussed playing games without fans or even suspending game operations for an undetermined amount of time, although the likelihood of the latter won't be known until there is a better understanding of how widespread and dangerous coronavirus could become.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was initially resistant to the idea of playing without fans present, telling reporters Saturday: "Nah that's impossible. I ain't playing. If I ain't got the fans in the crowd, that's what I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for the fans. That's what it's all about. If I show up to an arena, and there ain't no fans there? I ain't playing. So, they could do what they want to do."

Per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, James later walked back his comments and offered a different perspective, however:

"Well it's funny, because when I was asked the question of would you play without no fans, I had no idea that there was actually a conversation going behind closed doors about the particular virus. Obviously, I would be very disappointed not having the fans, because that is what I play for—I play for my family, I play for my fans.

"They say no one could actually come to the game if they decide to go to that point, so I would be disappointed in that. But at the same time, you got to listen to the people that's keeping a track on what's going on. If they feel like it's best for the safety of the players, the safety of the franchise, the safety of the league to mandate that, then we all listen to it."

Wojnarowski reported that teams have been "hesitant" to be the first to voluntarily start playing home games without fans, which may be why other options are being considered.

Following Wednesday's conference call, which will reportedly include at least one ownership representative from every NBA team, two calls are planned for Thursday, which will include team presidents and general managers.

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