The 2019-20 NBA season began an indefinite hiatus on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. When will the league be back, and what will the rest of the season look like?
Commissioner Adam Silver initially said that the suspension would last at least 30 days, but a mid-to-late-June return is now looking like a best-case scenario.
Get the latest updates from ESPN’s insiders and analysts on the NBA’s response to the coronavirus outbreak here.
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March 15: NBA owners and executives are bracing for the possibility of mid-to-late June as a best-case scenario for the league’s return, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Fears exist of a season completely lost, especially based on what some experts see as the slow response of the United States to flatten the curve of the coronavirus and make testing available on a widespread basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation on Sunday night that no events or gatherings should include more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
The league office has given teams no guidance yet on a timeline for a resumption of play, but organizations themselves are preparing for the possibility of a long hiatus based upon the facts surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
NBA owners are awaiting the league’s financial projections on lost revenues, which are expected to be shared with them soon, sources said. The NBA likely will provide projections on three primary scenarios: the financial costs of shutting down the season, restarting with no fans in the arena, or playing playoff games with fans.
For now, there’s a working plan that games would return without fans, and teams have been told to search out arena dates well into August for the playoffs, sources said. Teams have been directed to give the league office potential dates at smaller nearby game venues, including team practice facilities, that could spare the use of empty, cavernous arenas and possibly provide backdrops to unique television viewing lines.
March 16: Professional basketball seems prepared to return to the countries in Asia where the coronavirus first appeared, though games likely will be played without spectators, according to a report by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
March 16: The possibility of a summer return for the NBA season has led to speculation that injured superstar Kevin Durant could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets in time for their postseason push. But Durant’s longtime business partner Rich Kleiman tamped down expectations for the former MVP on Monday morning, telling Golic & Wingo that hopes of Durant playing in June or July are “not very realistic.”
March 15: The NBA sent out a memo giving its teams further instructions on how to handle the sudden and indefinite suspension of the league season — including allowing players the ability to travel out of market under certain conditions and extending indefinitely the ban on full team practices.
March 15: NBA teams operating G League franchises expect the rest of the minor league season will be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.
March 14: Coalitions of professional sports teams and their arenas in both Los Angeles and Chicago joined together to provide financial support for event employees while NBA and NHL regular-season games are halted because of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
March 13: In a correspondence to players addressing the uncertainty surrounding the NBA’s indefinite suspension of play, the National Basketball Players Association on Friday spelled out terms of a doomsday provision included in the collective bargaining agreement that could free owners from paying players a percentage of their salaries should the rest of the season be lost to the coronavirus pandemic.