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Gavin Newsom says sports could return to California in June

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This would obviously be without fans and with significant modifications to player interactions.

Chicago Bulls v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA has been preparing for a return to play likely under some kind of bubble, with all the players congregating in Las Vegas or Orlando to finish out the season.

As it turns out, there might be potential to play some games right here in California. Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that live sports (among other things) could return as early as the first week of June. This is likely because the state is continuing to see a decline in hospitalizations and ICU patients, and the transmission rate of the coronavirus is holding steady.

Admittedly, these wouldn’t be sports as we have become familiar with, but it is a step forward. Games would be played without spectators and there would be strict protocols for how players could interact with one another.

It is unlikely that the Kings will play games that count in the state of California even if the 2019-20 season comes back. In that regard, this announcement is more relevant for other sports, like baseball. However, if sports are being played, then Sacramento can presumably hold full practices and intrasquad scrimmages instead of the individual workouts that are currently taking place, which is an important step towards getting back in game shape. Furthermore, the Kings could theoretically play exhibition games against other teams in California before the season resumes, but this is a far less plausible outcome.

The 2019-20 G League season has already been canceled (teams have at least been operating under that assumption), so this will have no effect on the Stockton Kings season.

This change in California policy is contingent on the state’s health continuing to trend in a positive direction, but the new timeline is still a welcome announcement for a state that has not hosted a live sporting event since March 11.