Pelicans' Josh Hart 'Not Very Optimistic' About NBA Returning in Next 2-4 Months

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2020

CORRECTS TO NEW ORLEANS PELICANS' JOSH HART, INSTEAD OF LOS ANGELES LAKERS' ANTHONY DAVIS - New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after making a 3-point basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart doesn't think the NBA is returning anytime soon during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm not very optimistic about the season starting any time in the next two, three, four months," Hart said, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. "It's just too hard. Unless they were somehow able to build a huge hotel and an arena and put a bubble over it in some random place somewhere, that's my only guess how to actually finish the season in the next several months. You really do have to create a bubble."

Hart also opened up about how difficult it is to stay in basketball shape while team facilities and public gyms are closed amid the pandemic.

"When you're not even getting shots up, it's definitely going to take a long time for guys to get back, not only physically into playing shape but also mentally," he said.

Stein noted there is still some "hope" that the league can play some type of modified postseason in a centralized location such as Las Vegas in the late summer months, when it would theoretically be easier to monitor players' health and restrict traveling.

However, as in the rest of the sports world, there is still a significant level of uncertainty.

The NBA was the first major sports league in the United States to suspend its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then, a number of personnel have tested positive, including Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

Optimism for the league's return in the near future appeared to take a hit when ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the Chinese government delayed the restart of the Chinese Basketball Association, which has been on hiatus since January.

Windhorst said it was "seen as a test case for American sports leagues, especially the NBA," since the plan was to play games in empty arenas in two centralized cities.