Nobody knows what comes next for the NBA. Nobody. Because nobody knows how long this surge in COVID-19 cases — and, unfortunately, deaths — in the United States will go on, nor when it will end.
Count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the optimistic camp — he things we could see games in May. Here is some of what he said to WFAA Monday morning.
“Hopefully by the middle of May, we’re starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games,” Cuban said. “Maybe not with fans, but we’re playing it because sports plays such an important role. You know, people want something to cheer for, people want something to rally around, people want something to be excited about…
“I mean you know no one has perfect information right now, and so all decisions are tough. But, you know, if I had to guess based off the people I’ve talked to at the CDC and other places — I would say that the over under would be June 1, and I’m taking the under.”
That is more optimistic than sources I have spoken to around the league, where the conventional wisdom is to hope for games in June, potentially pushing the playoffs into August.
One thing that is becoming increasingly clear — the league wants to play and crown a champion this season. The Pelicans’ David Griffin said the idea of canceling the season is not on anyone’s mind, and that is echoed by the sources I, and other reporters, have spoken to.
Even if the league has to play into September, crowning a champion remains the top priority, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported on Outside the Lines.
That would mean pushing back the start of next season, and either shortening the season or adjusting the entire NBA schedule to a later start date and playing deeper into the summer. As Adam Silver said recently, everything is on the table with the NBA and what comes next.
It’s just nobody knows what that will be.