Another NBA Conference Concludes Without Return in Sight

Justin Grasso

Since the NBA suspended the season suddenly a few weeks back, team owners and league officials had to immediately hold a conference regarding the state of the league as the coronavirus became a pandemic in the United States of America. Considering a member of the Utah Jazz ended up testing positive for the virus, the league had no choice but to shut down its operation for the time being.

The initial thought was that the shutdown could potentially last a couple of weeks. After the first conference call among owners and league officials took place, however, a 30-day guaranteed break was set in place, per the request of most owners.

For a moment, 30 days seemed like a realistic timeline for the NBA to return, but the sobering reality is that it simply won't happen. Since that first conference took place, a lot has changed. Players are no longer allowed to use their team's practice facility, and organizations are looking into making staff cuts potentially.

As it turns out, sports around the country, specifically the NBA, most likely won't return to action for at least a couple of months. Some around the league believe that a late June, early July return is the most realistic -- while others tend to think this season is a wash -- and could eventually end up being canceled.

While cancellation is still very much in play, the NBA hasn't gone there just yet. On Wednesday, the league held another conference among league officials and owners to discuss a range of topics. As expected, the return of the league was discussed. Unfortunately, at this time, there's nothing to really talk about as nobody has any clue as to when the COVID-19 pandemic will be under control in the U.S.

"The league is continuing to rely on health officials across the country and the CDC," The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Wednesday after the conference. "There still is no full clarity and specifics on a return to play for the league. Everyone is at the mercy of the coronavirus -- that is an acceptable reality for teams across the league."

While players, coaches, and other team staffers miss the game and anticipate a return sometime in the distant future, the health of team members and fans across the country are far more important than the results of the 2019-2020 NBA season. While there's no indication the NBA leaning towards giving in and calling it a season, it seems likely the league will not be back before summer approaches.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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