The big question looming over the NBA’s head at this point is: can the NBA return this season? As of right now, there is no real news on when, or if the NBA could return. If the NBA was to play again, it is pretty much a sure thing that no fans would be allowed to go to games.
But first we should take a look at what needs to happen before they players take the floor again. The first big question that needs to be answered, is it safe to play? As of April 26th, no vaccine has been created for COVID-19, and it would be understandable if players only want to play if a vaccine is in use.
“If a player thinks that they need a mask in order to play, we’re probably trying to play too early,” said by Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Cuban is right, if players don’t feel safe enough to play without a mask, then the NBA shouldn’t return until it is safe to do so. The players need to feel safe if the NBA was to resume their season.
Another question that needs to be answered is do you give players weeks to get back in shape.
“This is the thing with having 450 players in the league and being in a situation like this, where some guys have access to weight rooms, some guys don’t. Some guys have access to facilities where they can train or do this or can run,” said Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Some of the younger players may not have access to an empty gym or space to workout. Or they could be like the rest of us, too lazy to do anything. The players would need weeks to get back into a rhythm, as well as get back into game shape.
Their have been many options thrown around and here are some options that the NBA might be thinking.
First Option: Cancel the NBA season, vote on champion
This is by far the worst idea in terms of entertainment, as well as the players. Everyone would have a problem with this idea. What if the voters just crown the Los Angeles Lakers because of the hardships they went through this season? Or they give the Milwaukee Bucks the championship because they have the best record? The players would rather fight for a chance to win instead of getting voted the winner. This would have the biggest asterisk to whoever the winner may be.
Second Option: Jump into the postseason
This idea caters to everyone who is already in the top eight of their respective conferences. Especially teams that were on the bubble like the Memphis Grizzlies. This hurts teams trying to move up or punch their ticket into the playoffs. The Western Conference had three teams with 40 wins (Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks) as well as the Utah Jazz who have 41. So they each could have used the rest of the season to move up in the standings. Their are also three other teams looking to make a late season push to make the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers (29 wins), the New Orleans Pelicans (28 wins) and the Sacramento Kings (28 wins). This would please fans but it would also frustrate a large group of fans as well.
Third Option: Continue on from March 11th
This would be a great idea on paper. But taking into account that players will need several weeks to get back in shape when it returns, this pushes the start date back even further. This could flow into the next season if it takes that long to return. This leads onto more and more problems in terms of the start date for the 2020-2021 season and so on. But this seems to be the most likely idea because the NBA is losing a lot of money. They need the games to return for this exact reason, not to crown a winner, but to make some money.
Fourth Option : March (Or whatever month it is) Madness, NBA style
This is the least likely idea. This idea appeals to teams like the Golden State Warriors, Brooklynn Nets, Lakers and the Bucks. The Warriors have a healthy trio Stephen Curry , Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. If they were to play and get hot in a March Madness type postseason they could really make some noise against some strong teams. The Nets have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who may be healthy by the time the season continues. This is all under the assumption that these stars are healthy enough to play. The Lakers and the Bucks would have a bye week in the first week because of the odd number of teams in each conference. This is how it could look:
This would present some very interesting games, such as a rematch from the Finals. If the Warriors were to be fully healthy, this would be a great matchup between the two. Now there are a lot of flaws with this idea. The NBA would not make nearly as much money because instead of a potential 60-105 games, the NBA would present a total of 28 games. No more, no less. They’d lose out on a ton of money in terms of TV deals and what not. So unfortunately, this idea just wouldn’t happen, unless the NBA was desperate.