With improvements in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, professional sports leagues have been able to come up with plans to slowly reopen and get back to playing games.
The NBA, which has been on hold since March 11, appears ready to return as it has been diligently exploring its option and coming up with solutions to save the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs.
With Walt Disney World seemingly ready to host the NBA and its teams for games, the league office has been busy trying to figure out a format that makes sense from a safety and competitive standpoint. Several proposals have been discussed, including one that calls for a play-in tournament to decide the eight seed in each conference.
Even with a potential plan being put into place via vote this week, there is still the matter on deciding what the timeline for all these games will look like. According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the league is split on when the season should end:
The question that saw the most divided responses was one about when the season should end. Presented with five options — Labor Day, Sept. 15, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 — none received 10 votes. Oct. 1 led the way with nine votes, followed by Sept. 15 (seven), Nov. 1 (six), Oct. 15 (five) and Labor Day (three).
The end of the season situation is a tricky one as is it one major factor that will need to be considered when the league needs to decide on when the 2020-21 campaign will start. The domino effect of restarting the current season so late has both logistic and financial implications on the following season, providing another difficult problem for the league to solve.
Any proposed plan of restarting the season has a start date of late July in order to give the league and its players enough time to adjust, but it is still unclear as to how many games and how often teams will be asked to play. These details, coupled with the end date, are all things that need to be addressed before a plan can be set in motion.
Although several decisions still need to be made for a return, the growing optimism about the NBA’s return is good to see and it should not be much longer until basketball is officially back.
Furthermore, the NBA reportedly is planning on a timeline that runs to Oct. 12 if the NBA Finals stretches to a Game 7.