NBA Has Friday Deadline To Decide On Return-To-Play Format
The NBA has a “deadline” of this Friday for the owners to have “things finalized” as to how and where the league would conclude this season, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. Right now, "behind the scenes we are seeing a lot of horse trading, haggling and discussion of what they’re going to be able to present to them and what they’re going to put forward to the teams and the union." But the league is "on (track) to get something of a plan by the end of the week" ("The Jump," ESPN, 5/25). In N.Y., Deb & Stein wrote there are still "several hurdles that must be crossed before a resumed season at Walt Disney World becomes a reality." One is the "optics of testing." The league was "criticized when some of its teams were able to obtain tests for their players even though there was a nationwide testing shortage, raising questions of greater accessibility for the wealthy." It is also "unclear what the logistics of such a return would be, such as how many, if any, fans would be allowed into an arena for games, how freely players would be allowed to move around or what kind of testing would take place." The games would "almost assuredly be run without fans in the stands" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/24).
PLAYERS PLAY: NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts said the "overwhelming" sentiment among players during team-by-team virtual calls conducted over the past week has been that "they really want to play" and resume the '19-20 season, most likely in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Roberts said that she "plans to speak with players on all 30 teams over the next week and gauge their reaction to the NBA's plans for re-opening." ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne notes a joint task force between the NBA and NBPA has been "negotiating plans for a resumption of the NBA's season." The NBA BOG has a meeting on Friday, which is "expected to provide further clarity on plans to return." Roberts believes that the union "will be able to give feedback on those plans soon after the league issues those new guidelines." Shelburne notes the NBPA "does not necessarily need to hold a vote on the league's plans." Roberts: "If we thought we needed a vote, we would. If we're ratifying a CBA, we need a vote. But our preferred method is talking to people or just having them talk to us. Then if we get a sense of what the sentiment is then we can move forward. We [will] talk to our players and figure it out." Roberts said that she has been "encouraging the league to provide as much detail as it can now, so that players can react quickly to those plans" (ESPN.com, 5/26).
COLLECTING INFORMATION: In Houston, Jonathan Feigen reported the NBA "will poll general managers on their thoughts about moving directly to the playoffs, playing a limited regular-season schedule with all 30 teams, holding a play-in tournament to determine the final teams in the playoffs and even replacing the first-round with a group stage of games similar to international tournaments." Games would "likely be played throughout each day, as with the Las Vegas summer league or G League showcase, with one venue designated for national broadcasts of premier games" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/24).