After announcing that the 2019/20 season has been suspended indefinitely, the NBA’s league office has been “slammed” with procedural and “bigger-picture” questions from team owners and executives, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
As Wojnarowski reports, the NBA has told its teams to be patient and sit tight for now — more guidance will be provided soon, likely as early as Thursday. In the meantime, despite the fact that clubs are reportedly still permitted to hold practices, many teams around the league plan to close their facilities today and give players a couple days away, Woj notes.
The Jazz, whose starting center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, have been among the teams most significantly affected by the crisis. As ESPN’s Royce Young details, Utah’s players and staff had to remain at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena for hours after the postponement of last night’s game vs. the Thunder, undergoing tests for coronavirus. The results of those tests should be known soon, which will help the NBA determine how to move forward, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com.
After finally leaving the arena late last night, the Jazz spent the night in the OKC area, exploring the possibility of chartering buses to get back to Salt Lake City, since there were “issues” with putting everyone on a Delta charter flight, per ESPN. According to Young (Twitter link), the organization is expected to finalize travel plans after getting the results of their tests. It’s possible they’ll fly back to Utah on two separate charter flights — one for those who tested positive and one for those who didn’t.
Here are more updates on the situation as the first day of the league’s hiatus begins:
- Sources tell Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic that Gobert has been around people who recently traveled to the U.S. from France, but there’s “no clear determination” on how he contracted COVID-19.
- ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps break down what we do and don’t know about the NBA’s suspension of play, including whether players will be paid during the stoppage and how it may affect the salary cap going forward. Meanwhile, Brian Lewis of The New York Post provides six questions the league must answer.
- By suspending its season, the NBA made the only decision it could, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who writes that the league shouldn’t consider a return until the virus has been “contained nationally.”
- The Pelicans/Kings game on Wednesday night was initially expected to be played even after the NBA’s suspension announcement, but it was eventually postponed due to concerns related to referee Courtney Kirkland, who worked Utah’s game on Monday. Sam Amick, Will Guillory, and Jason Jones of The Athletic share some behind-the-scenes details on a surreal night in Sacramento.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who said on Wednesday night that the franchise would develop a plan to help arena employees with lost income during the hiatus, said that the situation “isn’t about basketball,” as Tim MacMahon of ESPN relays. “This isn’t about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake,” Cuban said. “I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who is 82 years old — in talking to her and telling her to stay in the house — than when we play in our next game.”