The Los Angeles Lakers and the 29 other teams in the NBA, will not be in action, for some time because of concerns around the coronavirus.
After it was reported that Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert had tested positive for Coronavirus on Wednesday, the NBA swiftly announced it would be suspending the 2019-2020 season until further notice. As of writing this, nobody attached to the Los Angeles Lakers has tested positive for the disease.
The league appears to be playing things by ear and there has not been a target return date announced. The one thing we do know right now is that the hiatus will last at least 30 days.
The only thing we can really do as fans is wait this out, do our part in slowing down this global health crisis slows down and hope for a quick return of Laker basketball.
Brad Turner of the L.A. Times reported that the Laker players had a conference call with Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel and it appears that the NBA owners want to still finish the season, even if it runs the season into late June, July or August.
And with everything going unfortunate going on, this could be the NBA’s litmus test to create at least one positive thing out of a negative situation. Pushing back the playoffs and the NBA Finals will put them in a viewership window that the league has never been in, which could lead to some changes moving forward.
Right now, the league begins in October and typically ends in early June. As sports fans, unless there is a World Cup or Olympics in July, the only thing that we have to watch is baseball, which at this point of the year is in it’s ‘dog days of summer’.
This is a completely uncontested window for professional sports and even with the Olympics and other summer events, the viewership of an NBA playoff game is still much higher and the competition would not hurt the NBA.
What hurts the NBA right now is sharing the season for three months with the NFL. Instead of starting in October, the league could make its Christmas slate of games the Opening tip-off. Then, the season could proceed until early August, where it would have no competition.
The NBA Finals have no competition really now, but moving it back takes away the NFL competition early in the year and creates a new window for the NBA to thrive in the year. The draft could be held on the first day of September every year with the Summer League turning into the Fall League.
Sure, the Summer League would have to compete with the World Series in October, but it is not like the Summer League is the NBA’s breadwinner.
Depending on how the ratings do once the NBA (hopefully) does return, this could be something that could interest the league. For now, we are just hoping that everyone can stay safe and that the Los Angeles Lakers can continue on the team’s best season in a decade.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.