Written by Chris Kubala
The NBA has been on pause for more than two months, ever since Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen all kinds of different scenarios being pitched around, from the season being canceled outright, to returning for the postseason to playing the rest of the regular season. There’s been talk of expanded playoff fields like the NHL has kicked around and there has been plenty of talk about figuring out the best course of action to get things back to normal.
Earlier this month, the league took the first big step by opening team facilities so players could get in individual workouts while still practicing social distancing. Now, the league is ready to take the next big step to getting the league back on the floor to play out the rest of the season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, teams expect that the league office will hand down guidelines sometime around June 1. That will give teams the framework about how to go about recalling players who didn’t stay in the locale that they play in back to the home city of the franchise. That would also serve as the official buildup to getting teams back in action to get the season off the ground. It’s expected to last two weeks as players would essentially quarantine in their team’s home city before returning to action. In addition, teams expect that a similar timeframe will come down for the league to allow for expanded workouts with more team personnel, helping get players up to speed a little more.
In that same report, Wojnarowski said that the NBA Players Association, along with owners and executives, expect commissioner Adam Silver to give the green light to return sometime in June. That’s barring some unforeseen massive complications springing up and derailing that process. Under that concept, the league would have a couple weeks of individual workouts before ramping up to a full-blown training camp for three to four weeks. Should that timeline come to fruition, game action would be taking place before the month of July was over and possibly as early as mid-July.
As for where the league could play, well, there are emerging answers about that as well. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is narrowing down their potential options for play. Similar to the NHL concept, the league is looking at one or two hubs to play out the rest of the season, creating a bubble for players and their families while limiting the travel that would be involved. Charania stated that Disney World in Orlando is the frontrunner for one venue once games resume. Las Vegas is considered as the leader in the clubhouse for the second venue, which would likely house Western Conference teams regardless of what premise the league goes with for the rest of the season.
After two-plus months of nothing but non-statements and muddled answers, not to mention a murky future, things are finally starting to crystallize for fans of the NBA. It’s nice to see that things are trending in the right direction and that we may be closer to actually seeing basketball than we would have thought. Let’s hope that things continue to trend in the right direction and we see our favorite NBA teams and players back on the court in the near future.