Insider: NBA May Be Willing To Extend Season Into September
While NBA commissioner Adam Silver would reportedly love to complete a regular season, it appears the priority is the playoffs.
The league has been on hiatus since last week because of the novel coronavirus. Silver and team owners are trying to figure out ways to best move forward when the time is right.
"When it comes to the time frame in the league, I know people are talking about July or August, as far as I'm concerned when you get down to it, the last thing the NBA wants to do is cancel the playoffs," ESPN insider Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective Podcast. "They will wait until, in my view, the last possible second to do that. Whether or not they have to play a series of single elimination games, they will not want to do that."
There has been talk the league could resume the season in July, in empty arenas, and perhaps play a best-of-five series in the first round of the playoffs.
For now, though, that's all speculation.
"Everything that we say, we all understand the health of the country is first, let's just assume that and move on from that, for the sake of having a conversation," Windhorst said.
"From my viewpoint, as long as the end of the NBA Finals, the final buzzer is not on the first Sunday of the NFL, if it literally comes the Saturday night before, well that would be college football ... but literally comes days before the kickoff of the first NFL weekend, I think the NBA would do it. I think they would go all the way into September.
"Of course they're not going to actually say that right now and nobody knows. But I think they really, really would want to make that happen."
Windhorst also pointed out that the uncertainty of the virus could push back the start of football -- perhaps giving the NBA even more time to complete its season.
"I think they actually have some runway here," he said. "They've got time. They have more time than I think people realize. They can go into September.
"And by the way, the NFL season might be delayed. If the NFL season is delayed, the NBA season can go ... they may have the NBA Finals in October. I think everything is on the table when it comes to that."
Silver spoke about his hopes in an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols and said the league is discussing a variety of possibilities.
"As I look at the options, maybe we can do this incrementally, and the first step isn't games with thousands of people in the arenas, but maybe it is just games," Silver said. "Something I've always said is 99 percent of people consume our game through some sort of media platform. It's only a tiny percentage of fans who get to see our games in arenas.
"So those fans who watch on television, or whatever device they have, are fans just like people in the arena. Maybe through new kinds of technology there are ways fans can be virtual and react to plays and make noise in the arena."
Sam Amico covers the NBA and Cleveland Cavaliers for SI.com. Follow him @AmicoHoops.