More than a month after the NBA indefinitely suspend operations following Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19, the league remains without a timetable for a return. However, there is good news that could bring up to basketball fans missing the NBA.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, there is growing optimism around the league that the NBA season will return in some form this year. From ownership to players and league officials, there is a widespread belief that a return to some form of normalcy will happen.
The NBA was forced to come to a complete stop on March 11 when Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, halting the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game that was seconds away from starting and sending the league into unprecedented territory.
The decision to suspend operations proved to be the correct call. Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the coronavirus, along with two Los Angeles Lakers’ players, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and three of his teammates.
All players have since recovered and the league has been trying to come up with a way to bring the season back. There is a significant amount at stake for both sides as players could lose a massive portion of their salary and owners are projected to lose more than $10 million.
The NBA has discussed quarantining all teams in Las Vegas and resuming play in an isolated situation. The league is also looking into improved COVID-19 test kits, which would diagnose people faster and help the league diagnose personnel quickly.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban initially expressed hope that the season could return in May or June, but later backed off those comments. While there is no scheduled date for a return, Cuban made it clear that sports will first need to return without fans in attendance.
The NBA could reportedly aim to start having players train to get into game shape in June and then target a return to the court in July. In that scenario, discussed by an owner, the NBA Finals would be played in late October.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone in an unprecedented situation, which the world is trying to make the best of. Given the overwhelming desire from sports fans to have something to watch during this difficult time, the NBA’s renewed hope for the season to return is excellent news.