The overwhelming majority of high-level executives remain encouraged and optimistic that the NBA will resume this season, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.
Commissioner Adam Silver has maintained a strong relationship with the National Basketball Players Association as all parties aim to return to basketball. Still, there are many hurdles to overcome in order to resume the season.
Silver previously said that no decision will be made before May 1. That doesn’t mean the commissioner will be making any announcements on Friday, though there’s a bit of restlessness within the league to come to a decision sooner than later, Woj notes.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas is one of several suitors pitching a plan to host the league. Vegas could potentially also host the WNBA by providing three adjacent hotels for teams to stay at. Disney World in Orlando, Florida remains an option that is gaining momentum. Another proposal would see games played in “pods” across different regions.
Having fans in the stands is probably out of the question. Having cameramen may not be needed either, as sources tell Wojnarowski that the teams could rely on robotic cameras with new, innovative angles of the contests.
TV analysts could potentially call games from remote locations. The current discussions have included keeping teams at a 30-to-35 person head count, including players.
There is some support for the 2020/21 season to begin in December and run through July or August, as a way of resuming the 2019/20 season without dramatically hindering the league’s ability to complete the full ’20/21 calendar. There’s also the understanding that the further the NBA pushes this season back, the higher the chances of having fans in the stands at some point.
The NBA is still sorting out scenarios, but Silver may have to push forward with a decision without the backing of everyone. One GM told Woj that “it’s hard to lead by consensus in a crisis.” Silver may have to simply act in what he feels are the best interests of all parties, even if there are some that have different preferences.
Testing for the coronavirus is another issue. Silver has insisted that he couldn’t allow for the NBA to utilize all the available tests and – according to Woj – has instituted a mandate stating that if a player wasn’t showing symptoms, he shouldn’t be tested. Woj reports that the league would have to reverse course on that and that it would take approximately 15,000 tests to complete the season. While the NBA can afford to pay a private company to make those tests, it would be problematic for the league if they’re not widely available to the American public.
It’s nearing two months since the league suspended its season and the urgency to come to a solution continues to rise.