By Charles Williams
The 2019-2020 NBA season has been suspended since March 11th, 2020 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation by shutting the season down until further notice. It’s been two months since there has been an NBA game played with this pandemic spreading throughout the world. NBA teams have begun to re-open practice facilities for players and coaches. Is this a sign that this season will continue? When and where can all this happen where the players are safe and in a familiar environment? Las Vegas could be a home for the NBA to finish this season off. There have been discussions that the teams could play at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center or Cox Pavilion. NBA Summer League takes place at those two locations each summer so there can be something in the works. Orlando has been another destination that could help the NBA finish the season off, with another location there is a chance the season can pick up where it left off. COVID-19 will not bring the NBA season to a halt, instead, it will be salvaged as one of the best NBA seasons to take place.
Senior NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports, Chris Haynes tweeted “On conference call with players, Adam Silver shared that Las Vegas and Orlando are options that could serve as locations for Western and Eastern conference play if season resumed. Says he received calls from many city officials to host season”(https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/1258900327182462976).
Adam Silver stated that if the league were to resume, there will be no fans in attendance, but the season decision can go into June. Until there is a vaccine found, there is a risk for the foreseeable future. A guaranteed destination for these teams to play is the first step to getting this idea to become true. By letting Las Vegas host the western conference and Orlando host the eastern conference, this builds a balanced scheme for the playoffs. NBA players and coaches want a couple of weeks to get back into shape and practice playing as a team to build chemistry once again since the suspension of the league. In Las Vegas, the teams would be able to practice at the MGM, T-Mobile Arena, and many other locations, then play their games at either the Thomas and Mack Center or Cox Pavilion. Las Vegas has a plethora of hotels where the teams can stay and still distance themselves from each other. In Orlando, it would be at the Walt Disney World Resort where certain players have played at for the NBA summer league over on the East Coast. Players have expressed their opinion about the idea of being able to play again in either Las Vegas or Orlando. Veteran forward, Jared Dudley tweeted “VEGAS… wouldn’t have to really leave the hotel.. tons of gyms within a 5 mile radius.. Tmobile, UNLV, MGM, Mandalay Bay etc.. just a personal preference. More players fimilar with VEGAS cuz of summer league” (https://twitter.com/JaredDudley619/status/1254979820263313408?s=20). Fans are looking forward to the season continuing and finding out who is going to be crowned as the champions of 2019.
Free agency last summer helped bring back the golden age of dynamic duos. Stars like Lebron James and Anthony Davis, Kahwi Leonard and Paul George, and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have paired up to begin their journeys to an NBA title. Balance has been restored to the league with the Golden State Warriors not being the team to beat anymore. Many experts say the contenders for the title this year would be Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, Celtics, or Rockets. The Lakers and Bucks are showing that they could bump heads in the finals this year, with Lebron and Giannis Antetokounmpo battling for MVP this year. The battle of Los Angeles between the Lakers and Clippers is the most anticipated matchup of the season, both the teams are battling to see who will make out the western conference.
With the NBA shutting down it affected all the other sports that are built around it too. After the NBA canceled the season the NHL, MLB, and other sports around this time followed their footsteps into canceling games including college sports. For months now people have been wondering if the NBA will resume. There is a lot at stake for the players and organizations. With the players being paid through revenue from the NBA, their salaries are beginning to get cut short since the league has lost millions over the coronavirus. According to Sam Quinn at NBA CBS “On Friday, the NBA and its players took the first step in that direction by agreeing to a short-term salary compromise, the league announced. While players will receive their full paychecks on May 1, starting on May 15, 25 percent of their salaries will be withheld” ( https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/nba-nbpa-agree-to-withhold-25-percent-of-player-salaries-starting-on-may-15/). Organizations are not going to be able to profit off the games and players which causes them to lose money every day.
Legacies are in danger too, for instance, Lebron was going on an amazing tear this season in his 17th season. Not saying he won’t be able to compete at a high-level next year, but time is running out for the 35-year-old vet. Teams like the Milwaukee Bucks were looking forward to getting into the NBA finals to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo from leaving in free agency next year. The people affected most by this pandemic is the employees and staff for the arenas and teams that make a living for working for the league. The NBA involves so many people that when everything was shut down it made things harder for everyone and now that there is hope the season is coming back things might get better for people. If the league was to come back Adam Silver made sure the playoff format would stay the same which would be a 7-game series in every round. The games would move faster than expected without the need for travel, staying in a single site via Adrian Wojnarowski twitter.
COVID-19 might have suspended the season but now there hope the season will come back thanks to the plans the NBA has come up with. Las Vegas and Orlando being a destination for teams are very logical and there should be a deal in the works soon. Ever since 2015, the seasons have been very exciting, players are competing every night to prove their team has a shot of being crowned champions. Organizations have been struggling to make money since the shutdown and if the league was able to get the season going again it would help bring revenue back to the NBA. Legacies are in the balance for players like Lebron, Giannis, and other players trying to leave their mark in NBA history. There is too much on the line to give up on this now. Adam Silver would not be working so hard if there was a chance that the league was not going to resume. The NBA will find a way to get the season going again because the players and organizations have made it so far to have it just stripped away.