Last Thursday, I listed three ways the 2019-20 NBA season could end, once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. One way is that the NBA could cancel the current season. Another way is that the league could just restart the season with the playoffs. The final way is that the season could resume with as many regular season games as possible, including the playoffs. That could force the season to end as late as August.
The NBA isn’t willing to cancel its season for as long as it can, even considering Kevin Durant’s coronavirus diagnosis yesterday. And the league is holding out hope that they can resume the season in June, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN earlier this week.
The initial suspension period was projected to be about 30 days, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that there are no groups of over 50 people for the next eight weeks. U.S. President Donald Trump recommended that gatherings be limited to 10 people on Tuesday.
Given these recommendations, there is little doubt that the NBA’s hiatus will last longer than just a month. And to be clear, this is a best case scenario.
There are also more changes. Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported that team practices are banned indefinitely and players can now travel outside of their metropolitan areas. Players are not allowed to travel outside of North America.
There are many ways the NBA season could proceed in June through August. First, it is possible that games are played in front of no fans. It’s also possible that teams could play games in smaller venues.
How does this affect the Washington area specifically?
1. International players will not be able to go home — Rui Hachimura, Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Ian Mahinmi, Anzejs Pasecniks and Davis Bertans won’t be abroad anytime soon.
2. John Wall could be ready to play some games — If the season resumes in June, it could be a remote possibility that the Wizards’ franchise player be ready to play in a limited capacity. This is worth several columns in and of itself.
3. The Wizards could play a game or two at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Congress Heights — The team currently practices in Congress Heights. With that, it’s possible that they could play at the adjoining arena. That should be fun to be honest.
4. The Mystics’ 2020 season will be negatively affected — Given that the NBA season may restart in June, that means it will overlap with the WNBA season. It’s going to put a damper on the Washington Mystics’ championship defense as some fans will look at the Wizards more closely until their season comes to an end. And if the NBA season is cancelled, that likely means that the first part (or perhaps ALL) of the WNBA season is cancelled too.