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Update: NBA wants to salvage the 2019-20 season “no matter what”

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne, the NBA’s owners and league office want to make sure they can finish out the 2019-20 season.

69th NBA All-Star Game Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

According to a timeline reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne, the NBA has been dealing with the Coronavirus situation since it began back in January. Like pretty much all of our institutions, the league was slow to move on what has become a global situation. Not great, but not unexpected.

In any case, we don’t need to rehash the past two months. This is where we are now. Meanwhile, Shelbourne’s report is about trying to address the future. As she says, Adam Silver, the owners, and the league office, are doing whatever they can to make sure they can salvage the rest of the 2019-20 season. That’s the big news here.

Have a watch of her segment on ESPN’s Outside the Lines:

As Shelbourne makes clear, the NBA is prepared to play regular season games in May, June, and so on into September, if that’s what needs to be done to crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. It feels wild to hear that — can you imagine regular season NBA games in July? — but it’s way better than the alternative: a cancelled season, no champ, and basketball just going dark until the fall (at least). What this means for things like the NBA Draft, Summer League, free agency, or even the scheduling of next season is apparently a secondary consideration right now. And that’s fine.

(A Toronto-centric aside here: it would be so sad to have this whole season cancelled after watching what had turned into the most fun Toronto Raptors team in franchise history. We deserve to see this squad get a chance to defend their title, even if, yes, the odds still suggest they won’t repeat. I know there are much larger issues at stake right now, but this is a Raptors blog so I’m going to make that point regardless.)

Obviously the situation world-wide with Coronavirus is not predictable. We’ve been given numerous reasons to believe it will get worse before it gets better. I don’t really want to write about it too much here, if only because I don’t want to add to the noise out there. By now, you should be up to speed on what you should be doing (or not doing) to protect yourself and your loved ones — and most importantly, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (The hits: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing, stay home.)

To end on a positive note, I’ll turn it over to Mark Cuban (of all people!), owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who seems to think the NBA will be back before June 1st. To wit:

“I mean you know no one has perfect information right now, and so all decisions are tough. But, you know, if I had to guess based off the people I’ve talked to at the CDC and other places — I would say that the over under would be June 1, and I’m taking the under.”

I refuse to classify Cuban as a “good” billionaire — because there are none — but he has been saying more correct than incorrect things as of late. If his thinking suggests we’ll get some form of NBA basketball before June 1 — without fans in attendance, in practice arenas, played on an aircraft carrier, whatever — then I’m inclined to believe it. For now.

We wait and hope.