Ever since the NBA suspended operations on March 11 to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there have been a number of plans to bring the 2019-20 season back.
The original suspension was supposed to last just 30 days, but it became clear very early on that this wouldn’t be possible. Then, the idea of playing games in practice facilities with no fans became the popular theory. Now, it seems the only way basketball will return for the 2019-20 season is if all games are played in a bubble from Las Vegas, Nevada.
If the NBA can figure out some sort of rapid-response testing system, then players would be able to all stay in Las Vegas together while the season continues.
If this were to happen, however, it would shift the entire NBA calendar permanently as laid out in a best-case scenario option from Bobby Marks of ESPN:
This might be the best case scenario:
Early July- start of the NBA playoffs
Mid-August- NBA Finals
End of August- Draft
Sept. 1- Start of FA
Sept. 10- Summer/fall league
Dec. 10- training camp opens
Dec. 25- regular season opens (82G)
Mid-June- regular season ends
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 10, 2020
Under this best-case scenario, the NBA would need to get all of their players to Las Vegas some time in early June, so they can begin some sort of training camp. And while this isn’t an unrealistic scenario, there are certainly ways in which this could go wrong.
To follow through with this plan, the NBA would need clearance from health officials relatively soon, as they would need to have all arrangements for training camp, travel, and games made by the beginning of June.
If commissioner Adam Silver and the league can make this happen, then this plan actually makes perfect sense. The NBA had been discussing shifting the season two months later anyway, and this is the perfect springboard to experiment with that.
The NBA starting on Christmas Day and ending some time in July or August would ensure there’s always sports happening. And that would be a nice consolation from all the bad happening in the world right now.