It can be argued the NBA deciding to suspend the 2019-20 season after a player contracted the coronavirus was the launching point towards the country truly taking the pandemic seriously.
The United States has taken a number of steps in order to quell the virus and until that is able to happen, any hopes of an NBA return to finish the season remain slim.
One thing that must be done in order to allow the league to return is testing for every player, staff member, referee, and anyone else who would be in the building for any games. What makes this difficult, however, is that results for a test can take days to come out.
The NBA has continued to explore any number of options in order to finish out the season and one major step could be on the way. According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, the league and players have been collaborating on the possibility of tests that can provide results in a matter of minutes:
In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what is considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future.
According to Holmes, the tests would be similar to diabetes blood-sugar tests that would involve the prick of a finger:
Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what those familiar with the matter describe as “diabetes-like” blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly, and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes.
As Holmes noted, this would be a major step towards resuming play. If the league is able to ensure that their players and all staff do not have the coronavirus, they could potentially push towards closed-door games and eventually finish out the season.
LeBron James has been open about not liking the idea of games without fans, but with this pandemic affecting so many people, it’s nearly impossible to open arenas up to fans. There is no timetable for when this virus will be completely gone, so it’s likely that the only way to finish the season is with closed-door games.
The city of Las Vegas is reportedly being discussed as a central location where the 2020 NBA playoffs could potentially be held, but commissioner Adam Silver has said that any decision won’t be made until at least May. These tests would be a huge step, but it is still only one step of many necessary ones.