According to reports from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, there is increased pessimism that the NBA can resume the 2019-20 campaign after all with the coronavirus pandemic not improving anytime soon.
The league suspended its season on March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
Although they revealed proceedings would be postponed indefinitely with a view to returning at some stage this summer – many players and staff have since also tested positive for the virus.
The league’s inner circle though, now believe this was an optimistic hope and instead are said to be planning for the future:
“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.
“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 and I think there is a significant amount of pessimism right now.”
Earlier this week, Windhorst referenced the Chinese Basketball Association’s plan to return to play in April, an effort thwarted after the country’s government imposed restrictions on team sports.
“China’s attempt to restart sports are being watched closely by leagues across the world. Huge issue is asymptomatic carriers.”
On Friday, NPR’s Jason Beaubien said that although China currently find themselves in the suppression stage with transmission down to “nearly zero, there are some undetected cases still probably floating around.”
According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. has 277,522 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,403 deaths as a result. April 3 brought the most new cases yet with 32,284.
Elsewhere, The Athletic’s Shams Charania revealed overnight that NBA icons Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan are set to headline the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.
A formal announcement is expected sometime today, with the induction ceremony scheduled during enshrinement weekend from August 28-30.