US Government Reportedly Will Help NBA, Leagues Return from COVID-19 Hiatus

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Camp David, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

If the NBA ends its hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would that look like? What would the logistics be for safely gathering players and making sure they weren't carrying the coronavirus? 

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday on the NBA's early plans for a return to play, noting that the White House is willing to assist in any way it can:

"I'm told preliminary plans have consisted around a two-week quarantine period in which everyone there is tested; once those two weeks end, retest and allow the players who remain as negative tests to start a 14-day training camp. It will require the necessary amount of tests—rapid ones, at that—and agreements with the league and its players association. A White House official told me that the government will help the NBA and any league that is looking to return to play."

Charania added that the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando and the city of Las Vegas are the two locations leading the pack for a potential single-site plan, with players, their families and 30-40 essential members of organizations quarantined. 

Baxter Holmes @Baxter

Also in this story -- concerns about job security for team staffers who might be deemed "non-essential" for potential games. (Multiple GMs say they hope the league ultimately provides guidelines for who could and couldn't be at such games.) https://t.co/g7meFhjxR6 https://t.co/IbjgJEb4fg

The league would also institute the sanitizing measures that have already been put in place for when certain practice facilities around the NBA are permitted to reopen on May 8:

Rod Beard @detnewsRodBeard

Here are the NBA guidelines for teams to return to practice facilities, for those states who are relaxing pandemic decrees. https://t.co/KDQwrwUppV

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

I was told this morning that the NBA's immediate priority is figuring out an even playing field for when some practice facilities can open later this week. The league wants to do their best to put all 30 teams on equal footing, even though some states remained locked down.

What is less clear is if the league will resume the regular season where it left off, go immediately into the postseason or institute some sort of expanded tournament to give teams on the postseason bubble a chance to play their way in.

A start date for any potential return is also up in the air, with Charania reporting that the "drop-dead date to decide whether it can resume" is believed to be the second week of June. He added that the league is "targeting a Christmas Day start to the 2020-21 season."

All indications seem to be that the league wants to finish the 2019-20 season. It remains to be seen if that will be practical or even possible, though the White House reportedly will lend its support.