Despite a collective willingness to finish the 2019-20 season, the NBA are not interested in a bubble separating players, coaches, team staff and more from everyone – including families – for however long it takes to finish the campaign.
It’s still unclear if and when the 19-20 NBA season will resume, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With just a month of regular-season games to complete before the season’s playoffs began, March’s abrupt suspension and consequent crisis worldwide has cast doubt into the minds of many as to whether it’s ethically right to play under such circumstances.
In a poll made on Yahoo Sports overnight, opinions are split:
As I mentioned earlier this week, multiple reports have suggested that games could be played in Las Vegas or at Walt Disney World. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst had this to say:
Citing league sources, the highly-respected journalist said: “The NBA is not interested right now in a bubble where [players, coaches and staff] could not bring their families in.”
He also addressed testing, something commissioner Adam Silver has stressed must be readily available for everyone involved before the season can begin a resumption plan.
The league would reportedly need somewhere between 15,000 and 100,000 tests as there are so many people involved – those of fwhich would need regular testing too.
What about potentially playing in a bubble?
As reported by Yahoo Sports, the MGM pitched a plan to the league: finish the season at their Las Vegas resorts this past week.
They believe they’re capable of building 24 courts at its convention centers for practice and games with the central hub at Mandalay Bay, while having the connecting casinos be where players, coaches, staff and families stay for the duration.
Orlando’s Disney World would have a similar setup: 12 on-site basketball courts, hotel rooms aplenty – while that resort could be easily locked down, whereas only certain casinos would be cordoned off in Vegas.
They stand to gain plenty from hosting games, as lockdown and social-distancing rules have seen their resorts’ revenue decline drastically over the past two months.
Yesterday, the US had 29,744 new COVID-19 cases and 1,691 new deaths. At the time of writing, there are 919,665 active cases in the country. (Last updated: 0713 GMT)
Nonetheless, the NBA are not ready to make any big decisions right now and given the circumstances, it makes sense. Should they choose to finish the season in a single location, they will ensure families are allowed to stay on-site too.
Safety is paramount and while coronavirus remains prevalent, guarantees are not something they can exactly provide for a while yet.