NBA Discussing Possibility Of July Return

The most popular – and possible – scenario proposed in NBA discussions about the potential completion of the 2019/20 season would see players “fully training” by mid-June and games resuming by mid-July, multiple sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

That doesn’t necessarily mean anything yet, since there are many hurdles to overcome before such a plan could be solidified. Commissioner Adam Silver also told NBA team owners just last Tuesday during a Board of Governors call that he’d take about two-to-four weeks to keep gathering information before making any decisions.

Still, given all the NBA has done on the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that the league believes such a scenario is plausible is a positive sign. This update comes on the heels of Charania and Amick reporting that Walt Disney World in Florida is the “clear frontrunner” to become the centralized location where NBA games are played this summer.

In their full story on Disney’s increasing momentum, Charania and Amick write that the league continues to explore the possibility of playing games in multiple cities, but that it appears likely that Orlando would be a “sole host.” Some details still need to be worked out regarding coronavirus testing and hotel use in Florida before anything can be finalized, according to The Athletic’s duo.

Here’s more on the issues the NBA will have to resolve in order to safely resume its season:

  • The NBA will have to finalize a detailed set of safety protocols like Major League Baseball has attempted to do, and will need to establish consistent COVID-19 testing guidelines for all its teams, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein also notes that it remains unclear whether all 30 clubs would be involved in the resumption of the season.
  • Due to the possibility of false negative coronavirus test results and the fact that individuals won’t be entirely quarantined, players and staffers in the NBA’s “bubble” location will need to be tested frequently, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
  • However, as O’Connor explains, “group testing” could potentially be one way to limit the total number of tests used so that the league isn’t going through thousands every week. For instance, up to 20 samples or so could potentially be mixed into the same test, and if it comes back positive, those 20 people could be tested individually. In this scenario, repeated testing would still be crucial due to the possibility of false negatives, but group testing could mean going through hundreds of tests at a time instead of thousands.
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