Will NBA Follow the Lead of China and Shut the Season Down?
At this point in time, the NBA is nearing the end of its 30-day hiatus, which was put in place a day after the league suspended action three weeks ago. There was no guarantee from NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the NBA would be back right after that 30-day time span. In fact, Silver admitted he didn't really have a clue as to when the Philadelphia 76ers and the rest of the NBA could resume the season.
What we know for sure is that it won't resume in April. The season most likely won't return in May, either. The latest swirling around the league is that we would be lucky to see basketball back in action in mid-June or early July. However, the more we learn about growing cases of coronavirus in the United States of America, the more we lean towards a canceled NBA season in 2020.
Earlier this week, NBA owners and league officials were discussing a potential return this summer, making it evident that fans have most likely attended their final game this year. Therefore, there were talks of all 30 teams playing at one neutral arena for the remainder of the year, with Las Vegas, Nevada being the most logical landing spot.
But one thing was made clear after these discussions went down -- nothing is a sure thing at this point. There's still a lot of options left on the table, and nothing is ruled out -- including a canceled 2020 NBA season.
As we've recently learned, the NBA has been keeping a close eye on China's pro hoops league, the CBA. Now that China is in a much better state after fighting with COVID-19, basketball was supposed to start back up once again. However, the CBA shut down again recently. And now the NBA is reportedly "angling" towards canceling the season, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
"The talks between the players union and the league this week, I've talked to both sides of this issue, and it is clear that the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down," Windhorst said. "Now they don't have to do that yet, and the way they're negotiating they're leaving themselves an option either way, but they're not having talks about how to restart the league, they're having financial talks about what would happen if the season shuts down."
Will the NBA follow China's lead and shut the season down? That's not the plan at the moment. However, it is necessary to note that ever since the NBA suspended the season, the chances of returning in 2020 have diminished little by little. At this point, this is surely the least promising sign of getting the NBA back to finish this season so far.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_