The NBA clearly can’t continue with fans attending games amid the coronavirus outbreak. So, the league has two options:
- Continuing to play games, but without fans in attendance
- Implementing a hiatus
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
New story filed to ESPN:
The NBA’s Board of Governors shared a consensus on Wednesday to continue the season playing games without fans in arenas amid the coronavirus crisis, and Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to move in that direction with a decision on Thursday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 11, 2020
This works until a single person close to a team – player, coach, trainer – tests positive for the coronavirus. The entire team would seemingly have to quarantine. Its recent opponents would seemingly have to quarantine. A hiatus would likely be put in place. The NBA’s reputation would suffer.
Maybe the NBA can avoid that outcome. But it’s a roll of the dice.
Of course, a hiatus would bring its own complications – mainly, when and where to play games when the season resumes. Those rescheduled games might not be at ideal times for attendance and TV viewership. At least games now occur during prime time or other desirable slots.
The coronavirus obviously presents a rapidly changing situation. Conditions and plans could change. But at this point, it’d be surprising if Adam Silver doesn’t announce tomorrow that games will continue without fans in attendance.