The Korean Basketball League, which has been suspended since February 29 as a result of the coronavirus crisis, has decided to cancel the rest of its 2019/20 season, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
As Givony details, the KBL had initially hoped to resume play on March 29, but there are still safety concerns related to COVID-19, despite South Korea’s relative success in containing the virus.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Chinese Basketball Association – which had been aiming to resume play on April 15 – has pushed back its projected start date to May, having failed to secure government approval, says ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Failed restarts in Japan and South Korea played a role in the CBA’s decision, as did the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Windhorst.
It’s a discouraging development for the league, which initially shut down in late January. However, the CBA is still encouraging foreign players to return to China as soon as possible so they can do a 14-day self-quarantine before the season restarts, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Marcus Georges-Hunt is among the latest American players to report back to China, Carchia notes (via Twitter).
Several American players are angry and frustrated by the idea of having to remain in China until July or August to finish the CBA season and not being paid for their extra time, sources tell ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
The cancellations and postponements for Asian leagues aren’t exactly promising signs for the NBA, which hopes to resume its 2019/20 season in the spring or early summer. It’s not clear whether that will be possible, with the league prioritizing the safety of its players, coaches, and the rest of its members.