The entire NBA world is simply waiting for some type of news that will signal the return of basketball.
For now, commissioner Adam Silver has said they won’t be able to make any decisions until May 1 at the earliest, but there will still be plenty of speculation over the contingency plans in the meantime.
Perhaps the most discussed idea is playing all of the games in ‘a bubble’ in Las Vegas where all remaining playoff teams will be isolated in a hotel and play all of their games at one central location with no fans. This idea has gained traction due to the ability to keep the players healthy while games resume, but testing has been the major issue in this with the league needing some type of rapid test should they do this.
However, the NBA does have an idea of how long they’re willing to wait in order to restart the 2020 NBA playoffs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“I’ve been told Labor Day Weekend that they would like to have a championship crowned by Labor Day weekend, which is obviously the first weekend in September. That takes you right to the edge of what would be the start of football season. Now, does that mean if they create a scenario where they think they could have a Game 6 or Game 7 of an NBA Finals on September 7 or 8 or 9 that they wouldn’t do it? No. But ideally, the date they’ve kind of circled is Labor Day Weekend to have this finished and of course, that’s still almost likelier. I think almost certain that if you push it back that far that you are delaying the start of next season. And there’s no question that this not only impacts this season but next season in the NBA and that’s part of what they’re taking into consideration when they decide on dates. Now, what does it mean for next year and those are all part of the conversations that are still ongoing.”
Given that the standard NBA playoffs schedule takes approximately two months to complete, this would mean the latest the league is willing to start is around the Fourth of July. However, if they were to shorten the playoffs by making the first round or others a best-of-five series, they could start even later.
Regardless, it seems the NBA is going to be very flexible and follow the lead of health officials. If they can safely resume the season in June, then they’ll do that. If they have to wait until July at a centralized location, then that’s what they’ll do. The good news is that they seem committed to finishing out the 2019-20 NBA season.