It has been seven weeks since the 2019-20 NBA regular season went on hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league won’t make a decision on how to proceed until later this month, but remains steadfast in his position that science will dictate when play will resume.
The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania was part of a roundtable of experts with MLB insider Ken Rosenthal and NHL inside Pierre LeBrun.
The trio discussed how the three professional leagues could resume with game action and Charania says the top two locations the NBA is considering are: Disney World in Orlando and Las Vegas. The league would allow each team to have 30-40 essential employees and the close family members of each player to be in whichever city they decide is best.
“How would that look? I’m told preliminary plans have consisted around a two-week quarantine period in which everyone there is tested; once those two weeks end, retest and allow the players who remain as negative tests to start a 14-day training camp. It will require the necessary amount of tests — rapid ones, at that — and agreements with the league and its players association. A White House official told me that the government will help the NBA and any league that is looking to return to play.”
Charania adds that the league is determined to finish the 2019-20 season and crown an NBA champion, with the start of the 2020-21 season pushed to Christmas Day.
There are still plenty of moving parts to consider, including if teams will play out the remainder of their regular season games or if the league will proceed with a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 seed in each conference, which has been discussed.
This has a huge impact on the Kings. The team is in the hunt for its first playoff berth since 2006, so playing out their final 18 games, or being a part of a mini-tournament for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference are both great options for Sacramento. Although the league deciding to just proceed with the 16 teams currently in a playoff spot would be just another gut-punch for Kings fans.
I think the season will resume at some point in the late summer or early fall, but without fans in attendance.
This is a fluid situation with no definite end in sight, but from what Charania is saying, the NBA will eventually complete the 2019-20 season.