According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the NBA seems to be angling for a course to shut the season down. Given the realities in play that may be inevitable.
It seems that reality is setting in for the NBA, the NBPA and their media partners. In spite of optimism that perhaps the season could resume even in some small part leading to an abbreviated playoff, the obstacles are perhaps too much to overcome to salvage the 2019-20 season.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the NBA is angling to prepare for a shutdown:
“The talks between the player’s union and the league this week — I’ve talked to both sides of this issue — and it’s clear that the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down. They don’t have to do that yet, and the way they’re negotiating they’re leaving themselves an option either way. But they are not having talks about how to restart the league. They are having financial talks about what would happen if the season shuts down, and I think there is a significant amount of pessimism right now.”
Less than two weeks ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was optimistic that a June 1st return in front of no fans was entirely possible. In fact, he set the over/under at that date and claimed he would take the under.
It didn’t take long for momentum to shift. The growing looming global outlook doesn’t help, neither does the failed relaunch of the Chinese Basketball Association, sidelined by the Chinese government’s order to indefinitely delay the return of all sports.
Even with the ability and willingness China has in order to take draconian measures to accomplish its desired aims, they’re not prepared to risk the potential aftermath of starting up too soon.
Windhorst filled in the blanks on the impact China’s second wave of infections had on their decision and the corresponding NBA sentiments:
“A big factor was what happened in China where they halted the return of their league, and one of the big reasons is because they really believed if they just tested the player’s temperature all the time then it would work, and the Chinese are finding that asymptomatic carriers are causing maybe a second wave in that country.”
At the best of times, a limited relaunch of the NBA would be fraught with risk. Even with minimal support and media for the sake of limiting the number of people involved and rigorous testing, one piece of the machine involved with holding and broadcasting basketball games could derail the whole thing. And that’s not factoring in asymptomatic carriers.
It’s seemed for some time like optimistic projections for a return to action this season might be just too rosy. Given the great risks involved, it looks like the NBA, its players and broadcast partners are beginning to accept the grim inevitability of a canceled 2019-20 season.
There’s no reason for the NBA to jump the gun and admit defeat early, but it’s not likely that good news is on the horizon for this interrupted campaign.