What seemingly appeared inevitable for professional American sports leagues caught hold within the NBA when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The league immediately suspended operations and has struggled to formulate a timeline to return.
They of course aren’t alone, as Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL and MLS, among others, have all been required to follow suit with their respective seasons and league events. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been equal parts honest and optimistic over the past two months.
This past weekend teams in states with relaxed stay-at-home orders were permitted to re-open their practice facilities. However, the NBA has implemented stringent guidelines for individual workouts that can take place.
Meanwhile, on a conference call with NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, NBPA president Chris Paul and players, Silver warned of difficult decisions that are ahead as the league works to resume play, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that the focus is on restarting the season but that “there will be a series of bad options” in deciding how that will be done, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The NBA reportedly anticipates separate two-week stages of players being quarantined and an ensuing training camp before resuming the regular season. Of course, it’s plausible games could immediately begin with the playoffs.
Ever indication has the NBA considering using Disney World or Las Vegas as a hub for teams, with the hope forming a bubble of sorts will mitigate some of the health risk. But like with MLB, the league is prioritizing immediate testing in order to resume play.
Beyond determining the how and when games can pick back up, the NBA faces a decision with teams just on the outside of the playoff picture. Jumping straight into the playoffs would eliminate their chances of potentially sneaking in.
That may anger those players, owners and fans, but could be a sound decision as the NBA looks to reduce the risk involved.