The Chinese Basketball Association, seen by many sports leagues as a trial balloon for recovery from the coronavirus crisis, has delayed it’s restart, according to multiple reports and confirmed by ESPN.
The league had hoped to begin April 15, after about 11 weeks of being shutdown, but now won’t attempt resuming until May after failing to get government approval according to reports from China.
The delay of the Olympics contributed to the decision but Chinese officials were also affected by seeing re-starts abandoned basketball leagues in Japan and South Korea over continued concern about the virus in recent days, sources told ESPN.
There hadn’t been any formal announcement by the league but foreign players had been called back and games had been scheduled to be played without fans in attendance.
More than 20 Americans including Jeremy Lin and Lance Stephenson had traveled to China and entered a two-week quarantine to prepare to play. Some had gotten stuck at airports for hours upon arrival in the country as they went through a long process to be admitted. Now those players are stuck in limbo.
Several of them are angry and concerned about having to stay in China until July or August to finish the season, which typically ends in March, and being paid for the extra time sources told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
The NBA is hoping to re-start at some point this spring. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Dallas television station WFAA Tuesday that he hoped the league could re-start by mid-May after roughly a two-month hiatus.
The CBA is how looking at a four-month delay.