Although there has been some progress on returning to normalcy, the NBA is still currently on hiatus as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lingers on.
Several proposals with contingencies have been reported, but the developing situation with the novel coronavirus makes it difficult to hammer down any concrete details to get games back on the floor.
At best, the NBA has settled on Walt Disney World in Orlando as the host site for a return to play. Beyond that, there are numerous logistical roadblocks that need to be addressed before moving forward.
Despite the uncertain future of the regular season, people like Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel have continued to hold out hope that the hiatus will eventually end, via team reporter Mike Trudell:
“I’m an optimist by nature,” he said. “I feel like we’re gonna have an opportunity to finish the season. I’m very well aware that there is a possibility that it does not happen. I just think with the whole world working the way it’s working to improve testing, to improve hospital capacity, to further understand the virus, to further understand social distancing guidelines and all those types of things. I’m just optimistic and hopeful that we’re going to be able to finish the season.”
Flattening the curve and limiting exposure have been the primary focus for the nation as it works toward containing the virus and the stay-at-home orders issued by the states have helped that cause. Testing has also become more available, but that is still an issue for teams who are looking to protect their players from infection.
Even if the regular season is able to be salvaged, when it would start is another issue. Players like Jared Dudley have been vocal about requiring enough time to prepare and ramp up activity. There have been talks of starting the 2020-21 NBA season in December in order to account for training and the postseason, but that is just one idea being discussed for the time being.
Vogel’s optimism is much-needed during a difficult time, but the reality is that there are plenty of moving variables that are working against the NBA and a solution still seems far away.
It truly is unfortunate for the Lakers in particular because the team was rounding into playoff shape when the pandemic hit, but the only thing they and rest of the league can do is wait and see how things play out in the foreseeable future.