The NBA Season Suspended Due to COVID-19: What’s Next For the NBA

It has been a rough 3 months for the NBA community. New Year’s day the NBA family lost former commissioner David Stern. Just 25 days later, the world went numb with the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Last night the dreadful 2020 NBA season continued with the indefinite suspension of play due to the coronavirus. So what is next for the NBA? If and when will the season be resumed? Will there even be a champion crowned for the 2020 season? And how does this permanently change the NBA calendar forever?

The OKC-Utah Game Gets Canceled Minutes Before Tip-off

The Utah Jazz were in town to play an important game for the seeding of the Western Conference. All was normal in Oklahoma City last night, until it wasn’t.

For roughly thirty minutes, the Thunder in house entertainment team did all it could to entertain the crowd while the two organizations got word of what was happening. The crowd knew there was something seriously wrong in the arena as they became restless and some headed towards the exit admit the “T-shirt toss.” Then the expected news broke.

With 18,000 fans packed in Chesapeake Arena, the Thunder public address announcer took the microphone and dropped heavy news on the crowd. “Due to unforeseen circumstances the game has been postponed,” he said.

Just like that panic and an overwhelming sense of doom rained in over the NBA community. Prior to the game it was listed that Rudy Gobert was out with an illness, but nobody wanted to believe it was Covid-19.

Shortly after the game cancellation, The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported that Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. While Gobert was not in the arena last night, precautions had to be made. The OKC government ensured everyone (58 people) in contact with Gobert were tested for Covid-19, with only Donovan Mitchell testing positive.

But this was just the beginning to a night that nobody will ever forget.

The NBA Announces the Suspension of the Season

Few words can shake an entire community like the ones Shams Charania tweeted at 9:31 p.m.

“The NBA has suspended its season.”

That 6 word tweet will have a lasting impact. You will remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you read the news that the NBA season was suspended. Athletes, fans, analysts, all came together with the same sense: The Coronavirus is real. It was no longer something that was real but distant. COVID-19 finally hit home. It took out the NBA.

After the initial shock of wow this is real subsides, it makes me question: What is next for the NBA?

What is next for the NBA?

The obvious answer here is wait and see like the rest of the world. The season can not and will not resume until they are given the clearance to play without fear of infection. When will that be? It could be as soon as April, or it could carry through the Summer. If it goes that far into the year, a point where the offseason usually occurs, then the NBA has some decisions to make.

Do they cancel the remainder of the regular season and jump straight into the playoffs? Maybe play a 10 games leading into the playoffs so the guys could get back into the groove of things. Does this just go on too long causing Adam Silver to pull the plug on the 2019-2020 NBA season completely and crown no NBA champion. It would be an unprecedented turn of events, but it has to be on the table.

Long Term Impact

There is a chance that the NBA could just shift the NBA calendar year entirely and make it permanent. For argument sake, let’s say there is not a NBA Finals played until July. Free agency would then be pushed back until August. Then we have to take into account that the offseason needs to take place for players to recover, go through a training camp, etc. This could mean the regular start of the season around Halloween would be pushed back to let’s say Thanksgiving-Christmas. If this were to occur, the NBA season would be pushed back two months, with the basketball season then running from December-August.

All of this is just speculation, but speculation with reason. Experts are saying we are in the beginning stages of this virus. Things are expected to get worse before they get better. There is no timetable for the NBA to resume play, nor a plan set in stone to follow.

One thing is for sure, it will be a dark time without the NBA.



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