There is a plan and a partial schedule for resuming the 2019-20 NBA season.
But there are still some issues to be settled, including those concerning safety and those concerning a movement among players that is part of a larger social movement in the nation.
It could keep some players off the court.
The NBA Plan
The plan for the NBA restart begins the remainder of the regular season on July 30, with playoffs beginning Aug. 15 and winding up before the end of October.
The teams will practice and play on the three courts at Disney’s Wide World of Sports facility near Orlando.
Players are beginning workouts at their home facilities now, and 22 teams will be gathering at the Disney campus next week for the first round of COVID-19 testing and more practices. They will be housed in three hotels on the campus.
At the first tip off, the NBA plan calls for the teams to each play eight regular season games to determine the final standings and playoff seeds.
After a set of play-in games for the final seeds, the 16-team playoffs begin.
It will be interesting to see how this NBA plan works.
The logistics of getting so many players and personnel together and at the same time keeping them at a distance will be challenging.
The testing protocol itself will present a challenge.
But the NBA plan seems to have all the safety bases covered, down to the disinfecting of basketballs.
The league and players still have to decide how to divvy up the monetary losses.
But bigger than that – if there is anything bigger than money to these guys – is whether some players will participate at all.
Some believe that any resumption of the season now is fundamentally unsafe. I presume that these are the players who have taken the pandemic seriously enough to remain isolated for the past few months.
Others don’t like the idea of being holed up for weeks at a central location.
Then there is the social movement brewing since George Floyd’s death.
There are players who think that resuming the NBA schedule in a business-as-usual fashion is insensitive. After all, we are talking about a league made up largely of African-American players.
Star guard Kyrie Irving has been leading a movement to keep players from taking the court. He is using both the arguments of safety and sensitivity.
He has even proposed forming a new league that would presumably approach things differently.
Effect of Movement
Whether this movement to buck the league is serious enough to take hold is hard to say. We haven’t seen much response from other players.
The league seems to have done its best to cover safety angle. And I expect there will be some sort of response to the sensitivity angle, too. No details on that, yet.
But the central focus of both the league and its players should be on the health of the NBA itself. The season has been marred enough as is. A failure of the restart would be a disaster, but no more disaster than if the league did not try at all.
I just look forward to the time when we can again talk about games, matchups, odds and selling tickets.