Report: NBA Execs 'Increasingly Believe' Mid-June Return Is Best-Case Scenario

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 16, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver unveils the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award during a news conference Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation Sunday that in-person events of 50 people or more in the United States either get canceled or postponed for eight weeks in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This news comes while the NBA is looking at alternate ways to save the remainder of the currently suspended 2019-20 season, including pushing the campaign into August, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

CDC recommendation of no events of 50-plus people for next two months comes as a number of NBA owners and executives increasingly believe a best case scenario is a mid-to-late June return to play -- with no fans. League's scouting for possible arena dates all the way thru August.

Playing games at team practice facilities is also being considered:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Story includes NBA’s willingness to consider team practice facilities for games with no fans — and perhaps a unique television viewing experience. Everything’s on the table. https://t.co/sUDowk4aac

"Teams have been directed to give the league office potential dates at smaller nearby game venues, including team practice facilities, that could spare the use of empty, cavernous arenas and possibly provide backdrops to unique television viewing lines," Wojnarowski noted.

The NBA suspended play Wednesday after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The regular-season slate was previously scheduled to end April 15, with the NBA playoffs running into mid-June.

But resuming play in mid-to-late June looks like the best-case scenario now following the CDC recommendation, which comes as officials across America shut down schools, bars, restaurants and other gathering places in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA previously suspended play for a minimum of 30 days, with the hope of resuming the season "if and when it becomes safe for all concerned," per a letter to fans from commissioner Adam Silver.

The Association has also banned team practices indefinitely, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, although players can work out at team facilities individually. The NBA has also recommended that anyone who walks into a team facility has their temperatures checked.

Talk of the season occurring in August has come up recently, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban mentioning the possibility on ESPN's Get Up! last Thursday.

Cuban told ESPN's Rachel Nichols the following when asked why extending the season so late could work (h/t Michelle R. Martinelli of For The Win):

"Because there's not a lot of competition—there's only regular-season baseball—I don't think necessarily until August, but I can easily see us playing the last seven-to-10 games of the regular season to get everybody back on course and then going right into the playoffs and going into July, if not August."

The NBA has never stretched past late June before. The latest ending was June 25 during the 1999 season, which started in February and was cut short to 50 games because of a lockout.


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