From limiting interactions with the fans to team owners weighing on playing games with no fans, the NBA has now suspended the 2020 season until further notice. It’s not just the basketball league that has put on hold their playoffs as the NHL, MLB, and many more postpone their games. What is going to happen now?
It’s as if the sports world has completely stopped turning while the rest of the world take further action in the face of adversity. The inevitable has happened.
COVID-19 is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Just after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, it has been reported that his teammate Donovan Mitchell has also been found to have it.
The NBA has moved to suspend the season to work on the league’s next steps in regards to the pandemic. While we worry about our general health, it’s undeniable that we are left with a question as sports fans: what’s next?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus ‘seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (community spread) in some affected geographic areas’.
With this in mind, the NBA seems to have about three options to work with.
NBA’s first option is squeezing in an 82-game season. The NBA can just move back the start of the playoffs that includes other major events such as the Finals, the draft, free agency, and the Las Vegas Summer League.
Another option for the NBA is resuming the season even if it means it’s less than 82 games. The league has played shortened seasons before in lockout years. Examples of this are the 1998-99 season reduced to just 50 games and the more recent 2011-12 season where it was cut down to 66 games due to nearly two months of inactivity.
The NBA’s last option in the worst-case scenario may sound grim but reasonable. If it comes down to the continues acceleration of the spread and the pandemic is still a serious problem two months from now, the NBA is left with no option but to cancel the season altogether.
Now, what will the NBA do?
There are reports surfacing about team owners who are politicking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver to re-evaluate the season suspension in 30 days. It seems that they are hoping for the season not be cancelled altogether.
Shutting down the NBA for the remainder of the season will have substantial financial repercussions but, as the coronavirus proceeds to spread, containment is no longer viable. The pandemic is bigger than the league.
Crowning a champion for this season can sound absurd but what has happened this week seemed ludicrous to believe. However, the number one concern of the league and everyone all together is the safety and wellbeing of the people — even if it means the sports world stops revolving.
Silver and the league are set to make a formal announcement on an initial timetable soon. Let’s just hope their decisions will be for the good of the people. The sooner the pandemic is under control, the sooner we can all get back to our lives — live sports and all other entertainment included.