The NBA continues to consider all options for an eventual return to play following the current suspension of action due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The NBA discussed potential contingency plans with the league’s Board of Governors on a call on Tuesday, including playing only several more regular-season games and shortening early playoff series’ from best-of-seven to best-of-five, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA shifted from a best-of-five first-round series to a best-of-seven series in 2003.
Ex-surgeon general Vivek Murthy was on the call with the league on Tuesday, and his forecast left the league’s owners convinced that there can’t be a return to action until June, at the earliest, per Wojnarowski. The situation remains fluid, however, and as such the league isn’t rushing to identify specific potential start dates.
In the meantime, NBA owners are waiting for the league’s financial projections on lost revenues. In order to help with internal expenses during this turbulent time, the NBA is planning to raise its credit line up to $1.2 billion from $650 million.
There are now seven NBA players that have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Rudy Gobert was the first, followed by his Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood. On Tuesday, four players on the Brooklyn Nets, including superstar Kevin Durant, also tested positive. Because of Gobert’s initial positive test and due to concerns over the global outbreak, the NBA indefinitely suspended the 2019-20 season last week.
Though none of the contingency plans are ideal compared to the regular schedule, they could ultimately help to salvage the season, as opposed to just having to cancel it without crowning a champion. If the season does eventually resume, the calendar for the 2020-21 campaign will be impacted in a major way, which is something that the league has to keep in mind. The situation is still fluid, and we will likely learn more about the NBA’s plans regarding how, or if, it plans to proceed with the 2019-20 season in the coming days, and weeks.