The 2020-21 season has been hit hard in recent weeks as the NBA has had to postpone more than a dozen games due to the rising number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Teams like the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics have not been able to field the minimum number of players in recent weeks due to positive tests or contact tracing. The league’s health and safety protocols force anyone who tests positive to quarantine for at least 10 days before being able to resume playing.
Meanwhile, those in contact tracing must wait until the league and their team has investigated who they have been around.
Fortunately, the NBA anticipated having to postpone games and built the regular season and playoff schedule to account for this. As things stand, the playoffs are scheduled to end right before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
However, according to Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times, it appears Japan may decide that this year’s Olympics will need to ultimately be cancelled:
The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032.
According to a senior member of the ruling coalition, there is agreement that the Games, already postponed a year, are doomed. The aim now is to find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Publicly, both the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government insist that.
The Tokyo Olympics were set for 2020, but were moved to this summer due to the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. The hope was that the crisis would have been under control, but with cases continuing to occur globally it is in everyone’s best interest to cancel them.
While it would be unfortunate to not have the Olympics this year, it does provide the NBA even more leeway with the ongoing season as it will have more time to fit in the postponed games. It will be interesting to see how the league formats the second half of the schedule with the Summer Games potentially no longer a factor.
LeBron James likely deprived chance to suit up for Team USA
LeBron James seemed to entertain the idea of suiting for Team USA one last time, but with news that the Tokyo Games will likely to be cancelled, it probably means the superstar will not get that chance.
James played for the US Men’s National Team in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, coming away with a bronze and two gold medals. Although James has shown no signs of slowing down at 36 years old, it seems highly unlikely he will participate the next time the Olympics happen.
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