Adam Silver suggests NBA could restart schedule, push Finals back to July

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With two players so far testing positive for the coronavirus, the NBA is taking 30 days off, then it will reassess the situation.

If that one month off is all that is needed — something nobody knows right now — it would have the NBA returning right about when the playoffs were scheduled to start. That led to a lot of speculation the league may just scrap the final month of games, lock in the standings where they are, and start with the playoffs when everyone returns.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, however, suggested while on TNT this Thursday the league may try to play out most of the rest of the season, then have the full playoffs, and push the Finals back into July.

“Even if we’re out for a month, even if we’re out for six weeks, we can still restart the season. It might mean that the Finals take place in July or late July…” Siver said on Inside the NBA. “It was way premature to suggest that we lost the season.”

Players have been told this option is on the table, too. The Lakers players had a conference call with team management and came away thinking the league may try to play the season and full playoffs.

Logistically, that is difficult. The arenas where these teams play are booked with other events in the off-season that may not be able to be moved, making it hard to schedule games. Does the NBA Draft get pushed back past June? Free agency certainly can’t start with games still going on, does that get pushed back into August? What about Summer League?

This July also features the Tokyo Olympics, something a number of the game’s top players have said they want to be a part of. USA Basketball had planned to open training camp for the Olympics before July 4 in Las Vegas, play a series of scrimmages around the globe, with the Olympics themselves starting July 24. Could the players on the best teams in the league miss out on being there because of an extended season? (Will as many players want to go in the wake of a delayed season and the coronavirus?)

If the NBA plays into July — then followed by Summer League and the Olympics — will the NBA still open training camps in September for next season? For players there would be a reduced summer break, for teams and fans there would be almost none.

The other side of this coin is money. As difficult as it might be to play into July, the NBA and its teams are losing a lot of cash with this hiatus, and they would love to recoup some of that.

If history has shown us anything, it’s that in the end the NBA will do what is best for the NBA. It’s not going to worry about the other entities, if it can find a way to essentially un-pause the season in 30 days, the league may go that route.