Nobody knows when the NBA will return. At the NBA offices in Manhattan, there is likely a large whiteboard with scenarios drawn up — from playing a full season and playoffs and pushing back into July or later, to outright canceling the season — but nobody can predict what will happen next.
That includes players.
For example, look at the extremes of Draymond Green and Jared Dudley.
The Warriors’ Green doesn’t think the league will be back this season. Here is what he told Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.
“The only way I think they allow the season to start back up,” Green said, “is if they come out with some stuff to say, ‘It’s not as bad as we thought’ or if they find some kind of cure. Because otherwise, if they start the season back up and then somebody else catches it, then what? You can’t just quarantine a few guys for some days and then start it all back up. That s*** ain’t going to work.”
On the other end of the spectrum there is Dudley. He is sure the NBA is coming back and will try to play most of the season and the playoffs, pushing into July or later, he said on the Burns and Gambo sports talk show on 98.7 in Phoenix.
“What I do know, and this is through stuff we’ve had — it’s on the table that the owners want to finish the regular season and [playoffs]… I got confirmation that they have no problem going late into the summer to finish it up.”
Those divergent opinions might be rooted in how their teams are doing. For the Lakers, of course they want to play out the season and the full playoffs — they have the best record in the West and are title contenders. On the other end is Green’s Warriors, the worst team in the NBA this season (based on record) and if they don’t play another game and fast forward to next season (when Golden State should be healthy and a force again) that would be just fine.
The reality might be somewhere in the middle, as well. It is possible the NBA returns, plays 3-5 more games per team (to even out how many games each team played and get some revenue for local broadcasters), and then jump into the playoffs just a week or two late. In that scenario, the Finals could get pushed back a little but not so far as to interfere with The Olympics and NBA Summer League.
In the end, nobody knows because nobody can say with any certainty where we will be as a nation in fighting this virus in a month. That will determine the next steps more than how healthy players and team staff feel in a month.
Until then, the only thing to do is draw up scenarios on a whiteboard for every option. And wait.