While many NBA observers don’t expect the league to be able to resume play until at least June, if at all, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is holding out hope that it will happen earlier than that. As Mike Leslie of WFAA details, Cuban said that if the over/under on a return to action is June 1, he’s “taking the under” (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports).
“Hopefully by the middle of May, we’re starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games,” Cuban said. “Maybe not with fans, but we’re playing it because sports plays such an important role. You know, people want something to cheer for, people want something to rally around, people want something to be excited about.”
Cuban acknowledged that there will be plenty of hurdles to overcome to meet such an aggressive timeline, but expressed optimism that it’s possible as scientists and medical professionals continue to learn more about COVID-19.
“Once we have a medical light at the end of the tunnel, where we know what the worst case is, then we can start venturing outside and being in groups of 10 and instead of being by ourselves right and then groups of 25 and then 50 and go from there,” Cuban said. “So I think that that’s the first step. And I think that’s gonna happen a little bit faster than we originally expected.”
Here’s more on the coronavirus and the NBA’s hiatus:
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an interesting inside look at how NBA teams are handling the layoff and the closure of training facilities. “We are seeking answers that no one knows,” Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said. “In a lot of ways, it’s simply, ‘What’s the least-worst thing to do?’ It’s hard to find the best thing, but it isn’t stopping us all from trying.”
- Within his story, Wojnarowski said the “loosest of drop-dead dates” for completing the NBA Finals is the Labor Day weekend in September. However, no one in the NBA wants to be tied to that date, since they’d likely be willing to play deeper into September if it’s necessary to salvage the 2019/20 season and postseason. We posted a story on Monday on the possibility of the season being played into September.
- What might a resumed 2019/20 season look like? John Hollinger of The Athletic offers some interesting suggestions for an abridged regular season, a brief play-in tournament for the postseason, and a shortened playoffs. Hollinger also estimates that the league would need about an 80-day window from when practices resume to the completion of the NBA Finals.
- Ben Golliver of The Washington Post estimates the NBA may end up missing out on a total of $1 billion (or more) in revenue in 2019/20 due to the league’s coronavirus-related hiatus and its China controversy.