Report: NBA to decide between games without fans in attendance, hiatus

David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The NBA has been building and building and building and building toward a breaking point amid the coronavirus outbreak. It’s clearly not sustainable to continue playing games with fans in attendance.

A resolution could come tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

One way or another, fans aren’t getting into NBA games any time soon. The question is whether the games will occur at all.

Continuing to play is riskier health-wise than a hiatus. Teams travelling exposes everyone involved. Putting games on television requires a significant number of people in the arena, though their proximity to players can be limited.

Continuing to play – with arenas already booked – might also be more financially beneficial to the league. Of course, that’s a major consideration.

The major concern with continuing to play: What if someone close to a team – player, coach, trainer – gets coronavirus? The entire team would have to quarantine. Its recent opponents would seemingly have to quarantine. That’d quickly undermine the entire operation.

A hiatus would bring its own complications, namely when and where to play games when the season resumes. Arenas are booked with other events.

The NBA is going to take a financial hit, regardless. Continuing to play – even without fans in attendance – could minimize the short-term economic damage.

But if it backfires with a player getting coronavirus, that could prompt a hiatus anyway AND expose the league to negative publicity. At least one player would also be sick, which ought to count for something.

This is not an easy call. I don’t envy the people who must decide.