Windhorst: NBA Could Have Schedule for Return Set by Mid-June Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2020

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference at the United Center on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The NBA is reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach to the coronavirus pandemic's evolution, as states begin to reopen, before the league tries to finalize plans for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.  

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Tuesday on Get Up the NBA is aiming to make schedule decisions by early to mid-June if it receives clearance from "health officials and the government," which would then lead to conversations with the players' association (conversation begins around 55-second mark):

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta painted a similar picture Monday when asked by President Donald Trump about the NBA's outlook during a roundtable discussion, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon:

"I think what they're doing is waiting to see what happens in certain states and if we're going to be able to play. Making sure the virus continues to go in the right direction in the next few weeks. And I think that if things are going in the way that it's going, I think the NBA, the commissioner Adam Silver, who has done an unbelievable job through this, and the 30 owners will make the decision to try to start the season up again."

He added: "I think that we would play some games just to get it going again and create interest and then go right into the playoffs. But I think it'll be great for America. We're all missing sports, and everybody wants to see these great NBA teams."

Forbes' Sean Deveney reported NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is trying to chart a path forward where the eventual champion doesn't warrant an asterisk denoting the journey to the title was in any way lesser than a typical title-holder.

A league executive told Deveney:

"No asterisks. That's the message they've put out consistently. If you're going to play it, you have to get to the end of that postseason, you're going to have to get to the NBA Finals and have the feeling that the best team is there, that it was a fair and competitive and complete postseason and that it wasn't something the league strung together to make a buck."

Meanwhile, a finalized agreement would have to include a deal with the players' union about the pay structure, especially since games are expected to move forward without fans, who drive revenue.

It's an issue MLB faces, with players raising concerns about the league's proposals, including the Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell and Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper.

Snell said last week on his Twitch channel he didn't envision a scenario in which he'd accept greater COVID-19 risk to play while also seeing his pay slashed, per Chris Bumbaca of USA Today:

"Y'all got to understand, for me to take a pay cut, it's not happening, because the risk is through the roof, it's a shorter season, less pay. Yeah, man, I got to get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, OK? That's just the way it is for me. I'm sorry if you guys think differently, but the risk is way higher, and the money I'm making is way lower. So why would I think about doing that? So, I'm sorry."

Harper added: "He ain't lying. He's speaking the truth, bro. I ain't mad at him. Somebody's gotta say it—at least he manned up and said it. Good for him. I love Snell. The guy's a beast. One of the best lefties in the game."

The NBA faces a tight timetable, with Silver saying on a conference call with the league's Board of Governors last week he wants a decision whether to continue or cancel the campaign by mid-June, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

The Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) and Los Angeles Lakers (49-14) owned the best records in their respective conferences when the season was halted March 11.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.


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