Cuban Hopeful NBA Returns, But Notes Safety Takes Priority
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban on Friday said while he is “hopeful” the NBA will resume its season and crown a champion this year, he reiterated the league “will put safety first” when making decisions. Cuban, speaking during a webinar hosted by Axios to discuss how business and government leaders can work together for social good amid a global pandemic, said there is no way the NBA is “going to put our players, employees, staff, or fans for that matter, at risk.” But Cuban did note if the medical experts “tell us that there’s a way that we can get this done and play with no fans or play just for the TV cameras,” he is confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver “will work through it and find a way” to finish the season. Asked if he thought a recent suggestion from Hawks CEO Steve Koonin to push the season back two months and play the NBA Finals in August was reasonable, Cuban responded that he has “been asking” to move the Finals back “for years.” He contends that “now everything’s different -- not just because of the virus, but because of over-the-top streaming and cutting the cord.” Cuban: “This is a complete reset. All those things that you were wondering about, ‘Boy if we’d only tried this, if we’d only tried that, I wonder what would happen.’ Now you get a chance to try them. So we get a chance to experiment, and that’s exactly what we should do and that’s exactly what every business should do” (Lucas Smith, THE DAILY).
NUMEROUS SCENARIOS BEING DISCUSSED: ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported among the various scenarios the NBA is considering is a deal that "enables them to shut the season down." Financial talks are being held "about what would happen if the season shuts down.” There was "optimism about progress a week ago" about restarting the season, but "some things that have happened have turned it south.” A “big factor was what happened in China, where they halted the return of their league." The NBA "really believed that if they just tested the players’ temperature all the time, that it would work." But the Chinese are "finding that asymptomatic carriers are causing maybe a second wave in that country.” Windhorst, on damaging the ‘20-21 season in an effort to salvage this one: “There comes a point where you go too far, where you start to look at damaging two seasons, and that is what the NBA is trying to evaluate" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/3).