The Coronavirus pandemic has effected sports as a whole. As many anticipated a Summer Olympics this year, the chances look slim to none. Seven months from now, nobody can predict how this virus will remain. The safety of athletes across the world is a number one priority going forward. Nonetheless, this will have an impact on the 2020-21 NBA season.
As the NBA finished last season nearly a year after the start of it, it was a difficult decision to begin the season in late December. The association figured a way to complete a season while giving its players an opportunity to participate in this year’s Summer Olympics. With that being said, that was a tough outing itself. The NBA is projected to finish its season by July. But with COVID spreading rapidly, it may get pushed back longer.
The NBA is already in a big predicament. There’s been numerous postponed games through the past few weeks, which will need to be made up at some point. As the league continues to play outside the bubble, the feel is that the season is on a constant brink of disaster.
On January 13, 16 players in the NBA tested positive for COVID. The positive cases have influenced the front office to become more strict on players privileges outside of the basketball court. Road teams are not allowed to leave hotel rooms while others are not allowed to visit family members.
Even with the most recent plan for players recently being enacted, there are still teams without eight available players for games.
If Tokyo does decide to cancel the Summer Olympics this year, it allows the NBA to have a lot of breathing room to evaluate a backup plan. There is a reason why the league has not released a second half season schedule as of today. There will certainly be conversations between the NBA, NBPA, and owners across the association regarding extending the season to an extra few months. The players want the opportunity to compete as long as they can. Many teams missed out on opportunities last season due to the season postponement.
Although the NBA might benefit from a possible Summer Olympics cancellation, it will be a devastating blow for players who want to represent their country. It is a once in a lifetime event that athletes’ look to participate in. It was already a set back last year with the pandemic. Another setback would make things very difficult going forward.
Adam Silver’s goal is to compete an NBA season by any means regardless of what happens to this year’s games scheduled for Tokyo.