ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that NBA organizations can open facilities where COVID-19 testing is readily available for at-risk healthcare workers.
Story filed to ESPN: In municipalities where coronavirus testing has become readily available for at-risk healthcare workers, teams opening facilities for voluntary workouts will be allowed to administer Covid-19 tests to asymptomatic players and staff.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 8, 2020
The month of May began with the NBA’s announcement that they would postpone the NBA Draft lottery as well as the upcoming combine. As disappointing as that news may have been to NBA fans around the country, it may be a closer glimpse into the reality of the situation at hand as the league continues to be divided on its potential return.
Over the last few weeks, we at Action Rush have covered and written on the eventual return for the PGA, NHL, MLB and NASCAR. With the NBA season along with the start of next year perhaps in limbo, here are the most asked questions pertaining to the return of basketball.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 2, 2020
When Will the NBA Come Back?
According to NBA Insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is eyeing a possibly return in mid-to-late June, with the season likely to pick up in July.
As for the 2020-2021 season, if the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season didn’t happen until perhaps September, the NBA would have no choice but to begin next year’s campaign closer to Christmas.
The biggest key to the restart, or pushback of an NBA season or playoff run starts with the availability of COVID-19 testing. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has stated publicly that he does not want the NBA to get priority over frontline workers and medical professionals.
ESPN is reporting that the NBA would need about 15,000 tests to resume season, but Adam Silver doesn't want to be prioritized above healthcare workers and frontline staffers. This echoes the message that epidemiologist @zbinney_NFLinj told me last month: https://t.co/r96eIaQVdZ pic.twitter.com/FWEY0A0PME
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 1, 2020
However, Silver has also been in support of an antibody study that would involve “serology testing” to help implement a vaccine, according to Charania.
Sources: The NBA and its players are supporting a Mayo Clinic study for antibodies using serology testing (blood draw) to better understand prevalence of coronavirus among players and staff and promote long-term efforts to develop vaccine.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 5, 2020
When Will the NBA Playoffs Start?
While there’s no current timetable for when the postseason would start, there still is no definitive answer to this question. Furthermore, the NBA is still unsure as to whether the regular season would continue.
Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has theorized that the team owners are divided on the issue with the hesitant owners likely being near the bottom of the NBA standings.
— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) May 4, 2020
Meanwhile, RealGM compiled a calendar of events that would need to take place for the NBA to complete both the regular season and full postseason in the least number of days.
NBA Needs 33 Days To Complete Regular Season, Maximum 55 Days For Full Playoffs https://t.co/9m3wp3kLSF
— RealGM (@RealGM) May 1, 2020
Could the 2020 NBA Playoffs be in Vegas or Disney World?
The likelihood is very good that either Las Vegas or Walt Disney World may soon hold possible NBA events. Both options provide players and staff with an ability to be quarantined in one place at a neutral site. With reports flying across multiple platforms, here is what we know.
According to the New York Times, M.G.M. Resorts International has already made several pitches to multiple sports leagues, the NBA being one of them.
“M.G.M. Resorts International, the company that has ownership stakes in more than a dozen hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, has pitched several sports leagues, including the N.B.A., W.N.B.A., N.H.L., and M.L.S., on an audacious proposal to house their athletes and necessary support staff to hold their seasons on a quarantined block on the Las Vegas Strip.”
“According to a proposal deck sent to the N.B.A. and the W.N.B.A., which The New York Times reviewed, M.G.M. envisions a fully quarantined campus, essentially one full block of the Las Vegas Strip, where players would live and play out whatever schedule the leagues want. The athletes would be joined by their families, league, and broadcast media employees, as well as the staff and vendors needed to serve them, with access to lounges, spas, restaurants, and all the other perks the resorts, offer (yes, even gambling).”
Vegas has multiple arenas already in place to help conclude the NBA season.
It's now very likely that the NBA will finish their season in Las Vegas over the summer, according to multiple sources.
Games will be played at T-Mobile Arena, Cox Pavilion, and the Thomas & Mack.
Tournament-style with 3-4 games per gym per day. Players & staff only, no fans.
— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) April 29, 2020
Once again, Charania weighed in on the likelihood of Disney World being in play for the NBA to finish their season.
One possible playing ground for NBA if finishing season becomes safe for league and players: Walt Disney World Resort property in Orlando, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. League has kept different scenarios in mind.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 29, 2020
The league has already received the go-ahead from Disney to use the facilities, making the negotiations a fairly straight forward process.
As part of Charania’s Roundtable in The Athletic, he expands on both locations’ ability to work for the NBA, along with an inherent notion that the White House would help the league get back into business as usual.
Could the NBA Regular Season Be Canceled?
If testing does not ramp up, along with another shelter-in-place order, it is conceivable that the regular season would come to a conclusion. As Silver has pointed out to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski,
“It’s hard to lead by consensus in a crisis.”
Furthermore, many team executives and agents have implored the league to cut ties with the end of the regular season to both focus on a possible postseason structure, as well as allow for the necessary opportunities for the league to start back up on time for the 2020-2021 campaign.
NBA team execs, agents are calling on the league to cancel the rest of the season https://t.co/bne3LUMT5G
— CNBC (@CNBC) April 30, 2020
A cancelled season could change a variety of factors, including the latest odds for both the NBA Finals and Eastern/Western Conference Finals.
For all the latest news and updates regarding the NBA’s return as well as the most up-to-date odds for the NBA Finals and beyond, continue to follow us on Twitter @ActionRushBets and follow our NBA Title Odds page.