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If play resumes, NBA “probably” won’t have fans in attendance

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

NBA teams have not played in an NBA game since March 11th, when the NBA decided to suspend play amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus. The league made the correct decision to cease operations indefinitely, prioritizing (against some owners’ will) the safety of their players, coaches, employees, fans, and millions of others.

While we continue taking precautionary measures, people can’t help but wonder when normal life will resume. As it pertains to the sports world, we aren’t just missing out on our daily dose of content. People like me support themselves through sports entertainment. A handful of kids are wondering what this means for their dreams of being drafted into the NBA. Fathers and sons and mothers and daughters look forward to bonding over the game. Are there more important things than basketball? Sure. But for many, basketball facilitates, and dammit, we miss it.

So, has the NBA thought about their next steps? On the most recent episode of The Woj Pod, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “if the games resume, they will probably do so without fans in the arena, at least initially.”

The league, more than gate receipts ultimately, it’s getting the games on television. Whether it’s the regional networks and then the national deals that Turner, ESPN... Getting games in the postseason on TV and to that end, knowing that it is ‘likely’, ‘possible’, ‘certain’, wherever you want to fall on it, that if the games resume, they will probably do so without fans in the arena, at least initially. The league is open to not having these games in arenas, whether it’s a Staples Center or Barclays in Brooklyn or Oklahoma City. Wherever traditional arenas their teams play in. They’re looking at the practice facilities or the G League facilities where you wouldn’t have the backdrop of a cavernous empty arena on television. And it would be an environment where the TV sight-lines might be better. They can do some creative things in that way. But the one thing you’re finding in talking to people around the league is that everything is on the table. People are open. I think Adam Silver is open to any and all idea of how to proceed.

Call it greed but the NBA has a strong motivation to salvage this season. That said, the NBA absolutely should not resume play unless the league is able to confirm without a shadow of a doubt that their players and coaches would not be at risk. That sort of seems mutually exclusive from needing to bar fans from the arena. But what do I know about pandemics.

Hang in there folks and stay safe. We’re working on some ideas to help pass the time.