The NBA officially suspended operations one month ago on March 11 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Since then, people have been searching for some sort of information that would allow the 2019-20 NBA season to continue safely.
While there are a number of hurdles in doing this, the NBA feels they have some sort of contingency plan to bring basketball back. This plan involves playing the remainder of the season in ‘a bubble’ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
All playoff teams would be quarantined at a single Las Vegas hotel while games would be played without fans at on-site basketball courts. The NBA must figure out some sort of rapid response testing before they can do this, but this has still been the plan with the fewest issues.
In the NBA’s talks with health officials and league staff, mid-June has emerged as an optimistic target date for the season to resume, according to Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Tony Jones of The Athletic:
The NBA is continuing daily meetings with league officials and basketball operations staffers. There are conference calls with owners, presidents and general managers on a regular basis. Mid-June, sources say, emerged weeks ago as an optimistic target time at which they hope for a return.
This mid-June return plan would include approximately four weeks of training camp, two weeks of solo training, and two weeks of team training before continuing with an abbreviated season:
If and when the NBA is able to resume its season in a “bubble” city, one preliminary plan would be a two-week quarantine where teams can utilize facilities again and players can work out in solo settings, then a two-week training camp followed by an abbreviated regular season and playoffs, sources said. It would all take place without fans, according to those sources.
It seems as though this remains the only viable option for bringing back the NBA this season as any other way simply has too many health hazards. Obviously, this is a far from ideal situation, but players and fans alike miss basketball enough to make it happen.
Returning in mid-June — when the NBA season usually concludes — and finishing things up around August will also affect the start of the 2020-21 season with Christmas Day being thrown around as a new start date.
Nothing is set in stone as there are still so many variables, but the NBA appears to be working hard with their players, staff, and health officials to bring it back as quickly as possible.