The NBA and Players Association have spent the last two months figuring out a way to resume the 2019-20 regular season amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There have been a number of alternatives discussed, but the most likely has been the bubble scenario, taking place at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., or perhaps Las Vegas.
For the NBA to be capable of a return, they need to ability to keep players isolated from the outside world while having the ability to test them consistently for the virus. The goal of that is so if a player does test positive, the league doesn’t have to shut down again.
One thing the league hadn’t really discussed until now, however, is if players even want to risk a return. Right now, every player is sitting safely at home with their families. A return to play in a bubble means leaving that family for an extended time period while putting themselves at relative risk to contract the virus.
To alleviate this, the NBPA began informally polling players to gauge interest in a possible return to the court, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The National Basketball Players Association started polling its membership Tuesday about how individuals stand on a return to play this season, sources told ESPN. NBPA regional representatives — including Tim McCormick and Frank Brickowski — were among the union officials polling players with a yes or no question on their current desire to return to play this season amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to sources.
Up until this point, players had not really been vocal one way or the other, which is odd for the modern NBA. However, once this piece of information came out, a number of NBA All-Stars joined together in favor of resuming the season, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Perhaps this is just the push the league needed to move forward with the bubble idea. If players are excited about getting back to the season, and the NBA can figure out a way to do it safely, then there’s no reason not to do it.
Luckily, with the league being flexible on the potential start date of the 2020-21 NBA season, they’ll have some time to make a finalized decision on this year.