Ever since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended its season, it has felt like the NBA world has gone through a variety of ups and downs as to whether we will see basketball again this season. Many factors will go into the decision on whether the season will return, but the safety of the players, staff, and everyone involved should be the first and foremost priority. Nevertheless, there have been several discussions as to what a return for the NBA could look like.
On April 25th, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA was allowing teams to open practice facilities from May 1st onwards. However, this only applied in states where the stay at home orders were being loosened.
A couple of days later, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that players and staff must wear masks when facilities reopen. It is good to see that the NBA is still planning to take precautions once facilities can resume. However, some cities will not be loosening their stay at home orders as soon as others, so many players may not be able to get back to practicing.
An idea that has been thrown around a lot over the past few weeks is the ‘quarantine bubble.’ This essentially means taking every team and locking them down in a city where they will only travel back and forth between a hotel and a court for games. To reduce the number of people involved in this, it is possible that the NBA just goes right to the playoffs, which immediately knocks out fourteen teams from this scenario.
That may seem unfair to teams like the Pelicans who were fighting for a playoff spot, but these are unprecedented times. Of course, members of the teams would have to be tested every day to make sure no one has contracted COVID-19 in the bubble. The moment one person contracts it, the season would have to be shut down for good. Silver addressed this ‘bubble’ concept on April 17th, saying that the league is unsure about that path because of the “uncertain nature of the coronavirus.”
Earlier on in April, Silver pinpointed May 1st, at the earliest, as a date by when he would be able to give more information about an upcoming decision. Again, this could take longer due to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the virus. Silver has shown the ability to make the right decision, even when it is the tough decision, during his time as commissioner. He understands the financial pressure and consequences of canceling the season but is prioritizing the safety of everyone as he should.
Nevertheless, all we can do at this time is to stay home and wait.