Some executives and agents around the NBA believe the remainder of the 2019/20 season should be canceled, according to Jabari Young of CNBC. As Young explains, there are team owners who are concerned about liability issues relating to COVID-19 and executives who would prefer to focus on safely resuming play for the 2020/21 season.
Additionally, according to Young, some franchise owners believe that so many of the league’s usual revenue streams would be nonexistent even if the season can resume that it may not be worth the risk to attempt it this summer.
“What (owners) are saying is, ‘If we return, where is the revenue that is going to justify the additional cost of returning?'” a team executive said to Young. “They are looking at the cost side versus the revenue side. What revenue comes in now?”
Young also cites player agents who view the eventual cancellation of the season as “inevitable,” including one who said he thought commissioner Adam Silver would have done so by now.
While the CNBC report paints a dreary picture for the possible resumption of the ’19/20 season, it has received some push-back from some executives and owners, as well as from the NBA’s biggest star.
“Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel (the) season???” LeBron James tweeted this afternoon. “That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know (is) saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.”
Of course, there are hundreds of executives and agents working in the NBA, so it’s unlikely they’re all in lock-step on how the league should move forward. It’s certainly possible that Young and James are talking to different people who have different opinions on potential next steps.
Still, Young notes within his piece that a league spokesperson told him that the NBA continues to work on plans to resume play this summer. Spurs CEO R.C. Buford also said that team presidents met on Thursday and the consensus among that group is that they want to try to finish the season (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press).
A pair of team owners conveyed similar sentiments in TV appearances today — Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said on CNN that he’s “cautiously optimistic” the NBA will be able to resume and complete its season, while Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, on CNBC, expressed optimism that the playoffs could be held in July or August (video links).
So far, the NBA has been content to remain patient as it waits to see how the coronavirus situation plays out and how government ordinances and health experts’ recommendations evolve. As Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), there has been no rush to make concrete decisions, since the league wants to “exhaust every last bit of hope.” With the calendar about to turn to May, the NBA will likely need to start taking more decisive action – one way or the other – within the next month or two.
In case you missed them, here are some of this week’s other headlines related to the possible resumption of the ’19/20 campaign: