The NBA has been out of action for what seems like forever, but in actuality it’s only been less than two weeks since the NBA season was suspended when Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Before that, it seemed rather inconceivable that a major sports league would ever cancel their season, but that’s the reality we’re living in now.
While there are few options when it comes to NBA-related activities in the time while the league is suspended, you can watch videos from older games, you can play some of the popular NBA games, like 2K, but we will all be eagerly waiting to get the season back on track.
People are looking for diversions while in self-isolation and it’s essential that these activities don’t involve you leaving your home or meeting other people.
The NBA recognized that and recently announce that they were giving everyone free access to their premium subscription channel NBA League Pass. Since games in social settings are not an option, you might still be able to enjoy your favorite pastime if there is an online equivalent of said game. For instance, if your favorite game is bingo, you could play bingo online, and same goes for board games, most of those also feature an online variant.
The original decision of the league was to suspend the season after the games that took place on March 11. We’ve seen seasons with fewer regular season games before, most notable in 1998-99 and in 2011-12, both times during lockouts. These were labor lockouts though, and the current situation is nothing like that.
Since then, there have been reports that the league would push the 2020-21 season to start on Christmas Day to accommodate the possibility of restarting the 2019-20 season.
It’s obviously much easier to reorganize the season at the beginning and cut the regular season short. This time we’re facing an issue where we don’t know when the situation might normalize again, and it is the final part of the season that’s left to play. Even if the league decides to recognize the games played so far and conclude the regular season, we can’t have a winner without the playoffs and that also has an effect on next season’s draft.
Organizing 2020 NBA Playoffs Won’t Be Easy
Commissioner Adam Silver initially stated that the season will be suspended for at least 30 days, but it seems that it would be longer than that, seen that almost two weeks have passed since then.
The information that was communicated last week was that the league is bracing for a mid to late June as possible time frame when the league might return, but that is regarded as the most optimistic scenario. There are certain fears that the season will not be continued at all and that there will be no winner, nor a playoff. Such a situation has never happened before, but as they say, there is a first thing for everything.
Financial considerations and viewership
Few days ago, it was announced that all players will get their paychecks on April 1, but we are yet to see what will happen with the pay checks scheduled for April 15. There’s no clear decision on that and the league has already informed the teams that it will provide additional guidance on this.
With the clubs closing their practice and training facilities and most of the players spending time in self-isolation, it is not going to be surprising if the NBA decides to instruct teams not to pay their players at least for the time being.
Team owners are also expecting to see the figures regarding the financial consequences from the season suspension, i.e. they would like to know how much they are going to lose. Even when the league does come back, games will most likely be played without fans, and it seems that the playoffs will take place in August. It is possible that the games will be played at smaller nearby venues, so that it is ensured that the camera crews will get a chance to record games from a closer perspective.
Next season will also be irregular All in all, we are going to have to wait until mid-June and there’s no guarantee that the league will be restarted then. If and when the season restarts, it could extend well into the fall and the league will likely look at options for the 2020-21 season when Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and others return, since it is almost certain that the next season will have to be shortened as well.