Just a week after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed optimism for the NBA to return in May or June, he backed off that belief on Wednesday and added further doubt to basketball returning anytime soon.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up”, Cuban said that there are no specifics for a potential NBA return and he hasn’t had any conversations within the league of even a target date.
As Cuban said, the NBA needs to look out for the health and safety of its players, staff and fans. The COVID-19 pandemic is only getting worse across the globe, even more so in the United States, with states issuing stay-at-home orders and now extending them even further. Even if the NBA were to hold games without fans, it could still be putting players at risk of another COVID-19 outbreak.
The NBA suspended operations on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. In addition to Gobert, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, four Brooklyn Nets’ players, two Los Angeles Lakers’ players and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart all tested positive for COVID-19.
The league saw how quickly the virus could spread among players and it would be at risk of that happening again by rushing the season back. As Cuban said, the NBA isn’t going to return until all medical experts agree that it is safe for everyone to do so. Given the White House is projecting 100,000-240,000 deaths from COVID-19, it seems unlikely that the medical community will give clearance for quite some time.