Australia’s National Basketball League has announced in a press release that it has decided to cancel the remaining games of the Grand Final series between the Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats. The NBL’s Grand Final series is the league’s equivalent of the NBA Finals.
The Wildcats had a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five championship series, with Game 4 scheduled to take place on Friday at RAC Arena in Perth. The league had initially planned on playing games that were closed to the public. However, Kings management indicated on Tuesday that it wasn’t comfortable with continuing the series at all, given the worldwide coronavirus outbreak that has resulted in nearly every other major basketball league shutting down.
“We respect the decision in what are extraordinary times for everyone,” NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman said in a statement. “We are understanding of not just the players’ health and well being but also their desire to be with their families, especially given so many of them have family overseas. Having consulted with the Australian Basketball Players’ Association we have decided the remaining games shall not be played.”
Although the NBL’s announcement stated that the series will be canceled, rather than postponed, the league has yet to say which team will be crowned the champion for the 2019/20 season. Kestelman suggested the NBL will weigh that decision over the next 48 hours.
“We acknowledge both teams for what has been a fantastic series and season,” he said. “Sydney was the only team to have gone through an entire NBL season on top of the ladder and Perth was leading the Grand Final series.”
Sydney’s roster features former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut and Pelicans draft-and-stash prospect Didi Louzada, while former NBA big man Miles Plumlee plays for Perth. It’s possible that veterans like Bogut and Plumlee – and other NBL players – will be available to NBA teams if and when the 2019/20 season resumes, assuming they’re on expiring contracts in Australia.