NEW YORK – NBA season might be over, but even optimistic franchise owners aren’t expecting play to resume until June.
ESPN and other media reported Sunday that the resumption of play and the postseason are still unknown scenarios dependent on whether the United States is successful in its effort to utilize social distancing and isolation as ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC issued a recommendation on Sunday night that no events or gatherings should include more than 50 people for the next two months.
For that reason, the NBA is planning to return to play but not expecting any games in June to include fans. The financial ramifications of that decision aren’t yet fully known, but multiple reports indicated the NBA Board of Governors would resume discussions around what’s next for the league this week.
According to ESPN, “the NBA will likely provide projections on three primary scenarios: the financial costs of shutting down the season, re-starting with no fans in the arena, or playing playoff games with fans. Those losses will be reflected in next year’s salary cap, and the players’ share of Basketball Related Income.”
Any escalation of the crisis could shift the NBA’s and the entire sports industry’s thinking.
Effective today, March 16, the NBA cleared players to travel outside of their home market.
Commissioner Adam Silver said player and fan safety will remain at the forefront of all decisions made on any return to play. Silver said last week that the hiatus from games would last at least 30 days.
The NBA calendar and decisions by draft-eligible college basketball players is expected to be addressed this month as well. Typically, the annual NBA Draft is held in late June.
The NBA G League was suspended for the season.
The National Basketball Players Association sent a memo to players on Friday, letting them know what could happen to their earnings amid the league’s suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN reported, noting that the collective bargaining agreement contains a “doomsday provision” that could allow owners to withhold pay should the season not resume. He said the league and NBPA have not yet discussed putting the provision in place.
“The CBA includes a clause called the force majeure event clause that includes multiple dramatic scenarios — including epidemics — that the league could trigger in the event of a worst-case scenario. Other instances that could trigger the clause include natural disasters and war,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Under the CBA, players can lose 1/92.6 of their pay for every missed game that results from a force majeure event, he said.