- The NBA regular season was suspended on March 12 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.
- Since then there hasn’t been much clarity from the league office on if or when the play would resume.
- Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry has given a 6 to 8 week timeframe for the NBA’s return to action.
With the exception of NASCAR and the Professional Bull Riders the majority of North American professional sports leagues have done a lot of talking about a return to play with very little to show for it. That really hasn’t changed even with the economy re-opening at the national and state level and governors expressing enthusiasm about the resumption of professional sports in their state (minus fans, of course).
Of the major North American pro sports leagues the most reticent by far has been the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver has been given high marks by many during his tenure (myself included) but has looked weak and indecisive during the COVID-19 shutdown. The story surrounding a potential reboot changes every day and Silver appears to be more concerned about avoiding any type of media backlash than getting the NBA up and running again.
One of the more consistent and positive voices representing the NBA in the media has been Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. After rumors began to swirl that the rest of the 2019-2020 season would be canceled he made the rounds saying that he was confident it would resume at some point. Lasry was back in the media spotlight today, this time giving a ‘6 to 8 week’ timeframe for the return of pro hoops.
Lasry appeared on the CNBC show Halftime Report indicating that the league is getting ‘a lot closer’ to a return. He then added that the league should have something soon about resuming play and that ‘hopefully within the next 6 to 8 weeks we should be playing’. Lasry’s comments were consistent with a number of media reports indicating that the NBA is targeting July for a return to play.
The billionaire co-founder of Avenue Capital also offered insight on how the NBA’s return would work. His comments seemed to confirm the plan to hold games in two locations with Las Vegas the most likely venue for Western Conference teams and Orlando for the Eastern Conference. Players would be encouraged though not required to stay within the ‘bubble environment’ created by the league and all essential personnel will receive frequent testing. There also looks to be a strong possibility that the start of the 2020-2021 season will be pushed back to December–most likely on or around Christmas Day.
Lasry also thinks that the resurrected NBA will get strong TV ratings:
“I think the ratings will be through the roof. Everybody is going to want to see it. So, will it be different? Yes, but you’re still going to feel great.”