- The NBA regular season was suspended on March 12 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.
- Since then the league has repeatedly equivocated about the prospects of a return.
- With the NHL working toward a return it puts more pressure on Adam Silver to make some decisions about the 2019-2020 NBA season.
With the National Hockey League working toward a return it looks like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver figured it was time to stop acting like a frightened baby rabbit. Silver had spent most of the pandemic shutdown pandering to the media with little evidence that the NBA was moving toward a return to action. The latest version of the return story is that the league is talking with the Walt Disney Corporation about resuming the 2019-2020 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing.”
“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” the statement concluded.
The money shot in that statement is that the league is doing ‘exploratory’ conversations. This suggests that it could be ‘much ado about nothing’ since the NBA has spent most of the lockdown discussing, exploring and proposing without anything coming out of it.
Milwaukee Bucks’ co-owner Marc Lasry was on CNBC this past Friday suggesting a six to eight week timeline for a return to action. That timeframe would require a lot more than ‘exploratory’ conversations–it would require some hard decisions and an actual plan. That’s something Adam Silver has constantly recoiled from over the past two months.
Here’s the most ridiculous part of the story–the conventional wisdom has been that the league would use two locations: Orlando and Las Vegas. Now the suggestion is that the NBA is shying away from basing the Western Conference component of the restart in Las Vegas as some sort of ‘punishment’ for Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s presumably politically incorrect comments about the Coronavirus lockdown. Were the NBA in the business of evaluating mayoral competency as a litmus test for basing teams and games there wouldn’t have been a basketball game held in Washington DC during Marion Barry’s tenure or in Toronto with Rob Ford in office.