NBA Could Hold Playoffs in Las Vegas After Coronavirus Suspension
The NBA is evaluating a slate of potential contingencies for the 2019-20 season, which is in serious danger of being canceled as the United States struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak. But with a serious chunk of revenue on the line, the league office likely views a cancelation as little more than a last resort. So how could the NBA salvage its season? There are no shortage of potential ideas.
A return to the NBA's Summer League home appears to be an increasingly popular idea as we enter the fourth week of the COVID-19 suspension, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix. The entire postseason could take place in Las Vegas, creating a sort of mass quarantine as 16 teams battle for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The idea may seem outlandish, but in a crisis, the NBA has no choice but to get creative.
"Quarantining in one location is the only solution, and Vegas is the only city the NBA is currently giving any kind of serious consideration, per an NBA source," Mannix wrote on Thursday. "Sending 16 teams to Las Vegas to play games in hollow arenas isn’t ideal. But it could evolve into a fun, one-time event that would bring the game back and, more importantly, get the television revenue flowing."
There could also be format changes to the playoffs along with an altered location, per CNBC's Jabari Young. The first round and the NBA Finals could be best-of-five series', and the middle two rounds could become a single-game elimination matchup.
Nothing in close to being finalized, though at this point, “nothing is off the table," according to Mannix. As the sports world sits through an unprecedented hiatus, the NBA's return could bring about a similarly strange postseason.