Monday, May 11, is the two-month anniversary of the day the NBA canceled the game against the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans on March 11 and indefinitely suspended the season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Two months later, and the NBA still hasn’t set a date on when the season will return, but the general consensus around the league is that the season won’t be canceled, and Harrison Barnes reiterated that in an interview with NBA TV on Friday:
“I think a lot of it’s up in the air still, but I think there’s a growing sense of optimism around the fact that there will be games again this season, whether that looks like 16 teams or all the teams playing — whatever type of format, I think that’s all still in the air, but I think there’s a growing confidence that there will be games at some point to finish out the season.”
Barnes’ renewed confidence can probably be attributed to the fact that the NBA and NBPA had a conference call on Friday where Adam Silver outlined the possible next steps for the league, which included playing in a “bubble city” like Orlando or Las Vegas, and playing without fans. Those are both things that have been heavily reported for the last month or so, but now it’s coming directly from the league commissioner and to the players. That is a small but important step.
As for what it means for the Kings, that will depend on how many regular season games are going to be played when the season re-starts, assuming there will be any at all. The Kings are 3.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, so they’d need to play a minimum of four games to contend for the final playoff spot.
The circumstances in which the NBA will return on aren’t ideal, which is probably why they haven’t made an official decision on the season yet. But with each week that has passed, more questions have been answered, and more solutions have been considered. Hopefully, that leads to a safe and thoughtful decision sooner rather than later.