It’s the question on every sports’ fans mind:
When will the NBA return? And in what form?
The answer remains nobody knows. There is a commitment from the league to play games and eventually crown a champion, but the timeline for that depends on things beyond the NBA’s control. Games starting in June with a playoffs that runs into August is the most expected outcome from sources NBC Sports has spoken with, but games going all the way out to September are not off the table. From Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September, sources say, which teams say necessitates games starting back up by July 1 — and practice facilities reopening weeks before that.
No one in the NBA wants to be tied to Labor Day weekend, because no one — not the commissioner, not the teams, not the NBPA — wants to limit the possibility of the NBA salvaging something of a season. If the NBA season could start later in July and finish later in September, well, no one is ruling out that idea either.
At this point, teams are just trying to prep for a return, whenever that may be.
Part of that is having daily contact with players, making sure they (and their families) are healthy, and getting them workout routines since they cannot come into team practice/training facilities. Some players have better equipment at home, some will be more dedicated, but teams are trying to keep the conditioning of players up.
Teams know that whenever players and staff are cleared to return and the league ramps up again, it’s going to take a few weeks of conditioning just to get players up to game speed. As Keith Jones, the VP of basketball operations in Houston, told Wojnarowski:
“You don’t know how long the runway is going to be before you’re at full speed. A process that took 10 weeks [at the end of the offseason to ramp up to the regular season] might be compressed into 10 days.”
It could be a rough start to the playoffs.
Whenever that is.