In recent years, star players have proven to be majorly influential in league-wide happenings in the National Basketball Association.
The league’s best players are out to show this remains the case; with a star studded cast headlined by likely 2019 MVP Giannis Antetonkumpo, future Hall of Famers LeBron James and Steph Curry and Player’s Association President Chris Paul, joining forces on a conference call with the league.
Towards the end of the call the discussion apparently turned to the remainder of the 2019-20 season: what should they do?
According to Yahoo!.com, the players expressed their desire to return to the court and finish out the season; provided proper safety measures were taken in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This comes after commissioner Adam Silver hinted at the possibility of the NBA not returning to finish out the season. If the season does return however, don’t expect games to feature fans or played in home arenas. Its much more likely the league will consolidate to just a couple locations in an effort to limit travel and exposure for players.
“There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” Silver said. “We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start.”
The NBA suspended its season on March 11th after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the Coronavirus; and has reportedly been informally polling players about a potential return to the court.
Some players have had some reservations however, despite the leagues assurances to take all possible safety measures. A major concern is the lack of a vaccine and the likelihood the one won’t exist before a possible end to the season.
There’s also the question of how the league should start up once given the go-ahead?
With just about a month left in the regular season schedule, there have been some mutterings about whether teams out of playoff contention should come back. Some NBA sources have reported an idea to go ahead with the playoffs once possible; with the top eight teams in each conference locking into a spot.
While this option could cause some concerns for players in cellar-dwelling teams in future Collective Bargaining Agreements; it’s one worthy of thought given the current circumstances.
If the NBA regular season ended today the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks would enter as the top seeds in their respective conferences. The Lakers are the only western conference team so far to clinch a spot in the 2020 playoffs; while the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics join the best-record-in-the-NBA Bucks to achieve that so far in the East.
Lakers’ forward LeBron James said he needed to see this season out.
After missing a bunch of time in 2019 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05; James teamed up with Anthony Davis to lead Los Angeles back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.