Sources: NBA Discusses Restarting, Finishing Season In Las Vegas
The NBA is "already thinking about how it could rescue its season, and a revised tournament in Las Vegas leading to the finals could be its answer, assuming it's safe to start playing again," according to Jabari Young of CNBC.com. The league "remains focused on a return after suspending operations, and Las Vegas has emerged as the best location to resume the season." An NBA spokesperson said that the league has "considered many 'scenarios' but is not close to rolling out a plan." Asked if the NBA would pick up where it left off or go straight to the playoffs, Commissioner Adam Silver said he did not have a "good enough sense of how long a period this is going to be" to give a definite answer. Young noted the NBA "could decide to cancel the remainder of its regular season and create a play-in tournament for lower-seeded teams to enter the postseason." Sources said that the league "could then set up a best-of-five series for the first round, before moving to a one-and-done tournament to determine the two teams that will play in the NBA Finals, which would also be a best-of-five." The tournament and NBA Finals "would be held in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, where the league hosts its annual Summer League events" (CNBC.com, 3/26). LeBron James said players would need a “week-and-a-half of mini-training camp,” followed by at least five regular-season games “to get ready for the playoffs.” James: “One thing you can’t just do is go straight into the playoffs” ("Road Trippin Podcast," UNINTERRUPTED.com, 3/26).
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said the NBA has to be "very cautious" as it tries to come back. Cuban: "I think at first we'll play a lot of games without fans, and then figure it out as some of the available medicines … become available (and) we'll go from there.” Cuban: “People need something to rally around right now, people need sports. We need something to cheer for, something to get excited about and there's nothing better than our sports team to do it.” Cuban noted he was “speculating, but I think the NBA is going to try to come back as early as we can without spectators, just on TV and streaming, and just give people something to celebrate” (“Markets in Turmoil,” CNBC, 3/25).
PLAYING BOTH SIDES: In Phoenix, Duane Rankin writes the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. is "alarming and something the NBA should keep tracking when making the decision when and how to resume the season or continue it at all." There are 12 reported coronavirus player cases, but "until every player is tested, there's no way the league can say only those 12 have the virus." If coronavirus cases in the U.S. are "still on the rise in mid-April, the league could extend the suspension for another 30 days in hopes to resume play by June 1, giving teams two weeks like a training camp to get back into playing shape." The NBA "wants to play the rest of the regular season, but again, COVID-19 is far bigger than the league." The league "should seriously consider just skipping the rest of the regular season and prepare for the playoffs" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/27). In Salt Lake City, Gordon Monson writes when it comes to the NBA season "edging forward to a restart in the name of normalcy, for the good of a nation's psyche, let's not just pump the brakes on that idea, let's stomp on them hard." This "isn't a call for negativity," but rather a "cry for what's real." Monson: "Let's get real, then. Let's prepare mentally, physically, psychologically for a season with no proper finish, a season with no finish at all. End the thing now" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/27).