Insiders: Finishing NBA Season, Crowning Champion Looking More Unlikely
It's beginning to look like a lost cause. The 2019-20 NBA season is appearing as if it won't be completed, after all.
Now, that's not set in stone, and no one from the NBA has come out and said any of that. But according to basketball's biggest insiders, the season truly is on the brink.
“There’s a level of realism that is starting to sink in -- it’s going to be difficult to return to play this season," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter.
According to Wojnarowski, the NBA's challenge is not only to figure out how and where games would be played, but if they'd have enough time to finish the regular season, hold a playoffs, and crown a new champion "without an asterisk."
He added, "That’s the challenge around the league right now. And they know they’re up against it. They’re up against the clock and there’s certainly a lot of concern about whether this league will be able to return to play or not.”
The NBA suspended play March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was among the leaders of sports leagues who spoke with President Donald Trump via conference call over the weekend.
Wojnarowski's ESPN colleague, Brian Windhorst, also went on the airwaves late Friday and suggested the idea of finishing the season is undoubtedly in peril.
"It's been a bad week," Windhorst said on SportsCenter. "I think there was optimism about progress a week ago. Some things that have happened this week have turned it south. ...
"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."
There had been speculation that the league may try to resume play, perhaps as late as mid-July, in a central location in empty arenas. That concept isn't entirely dead, Windhorst suggested. It's just seeming like more and more of a long shot.
Sam Amico covers the NBA and Cleveland Cavaliers for SI.com. Follow him @AmicoHoops.