The NBA season continues to be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league made the decision on March 11 following a positive test for the virus from Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert. A day later, his teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the virus as well. Christian Wood of the Pistons — who had a career game against Gobert and the Jazz on March 7 — became the third NBA player to test positive over the weekend.
When will the NBA’s coronavirus suspension end?
We don’t know yet. A return in mid-to-late June is now expected to be the best case scenario for the league, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league initially told its teams that play will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days, according to Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports reports the league likely won’t consider re-opening its doors to players until 14 days after the most recent positive test by an athlete. With each subsequent positive test, the 14-day clock restarts.
Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test started the suspension of play
Gobert was listed as questionable with an illness coming into Wednesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Gobert reportedly never entered Chesapeake Arena, he was in Oklahoma City and around teammates earlier in the day. Gobert was being tested for Covid-19 as the game was about to tip-off. It would have been played had Thunder executive Donnie Strack not run onto the court to stop it from happening.
Commissioner Adam Silver made the decision to suspend the season minutes later as Jazz players were quarantined in the locker room waiting to be administered a test for the virus. A game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings scheduled for late Wednesday was subsequently postponed.
The NBA made the right call to protect players and fans by suspending the season. When will the NBA season return? We’ll keep this post updated with the latest news.
Mark Cuban expects the season won’t be canceled
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was captured on live TV reacting to the news that the NBA season had been suspended as Dallas was facing the Denver Nuggets. The game was completed, and Dallas won, 113-97.
Cuban was interviewed by ESPN the next morning and said he expects the NBA season to be postponed, not canceled, because of the virus. Cuban suggested games could be played into late August.
Pushing the season back into the summer would have a dramatic impact on the league calendar. Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals is already scheduled for June 4, 2020. The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25. Free agency starts in early July.
NBA players were also slated in compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which are scheduled to run from July 24 to Aug. 9.
Goodwill also added that owners are hoping every player in the league is soon tested
Why did the NBA suspend the season?
Because of the contagious nature of the virus, teams had to be extra careful about not passing it to anyone around the league once someone tested positive. Gobert was the NBA’s Patient Zero.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, multiple teams that played the Jazz recently have been told to quarantine.
Players from teams the Jazz have played within the past 10 days were told to self-quarantine, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Those teams are the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.
Some NBA teams were reluctant to even play games without fans until a government dictated the change. The New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Indiana Pacers were the teams hesitant to make changes, according to Wojnarowski.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.