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Report: NBA owners are looking at mid-to-late June for return, with empty stadiums

For The Win logo For The Win 3/16/2020 Nate Scott
a large crowd of people watching a baseball game © Provided by For The Win

In a reaction to a growing pandemic of COVID-19, a strain of coronavirus, pro sports leagues have suspended operations to try and limit the spread of the disease. The NBA was one of the first American pro sports leagues to suspend operations, making the decision after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the disease.

The NBA said it was suspending operations indefinitely, but reportedly was eyeing a return after 30 days. It’s now looking like it will be quite a bit longer.

On Sunday evening the CDC recommended that any gathering of 50 or more people in the United States be cancelled for the next eight weeks in response to the virus, casting serious doubt on any league’s ability to resume normal operations anytime soon.

In a tweet on Sunday night, ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that a group of NBA owners was targeting a mid-to-late June return to basketball, with all the games played in empty stadiums.

Wojnarowski also reported, along with Malika Andrews, that the G League will most likely call off the rest of its season. The players will still be paid through the end of the schedule.

There are numerous things at play here, and too many unknowns to say anything definitively. We don’t know how this disease will spread, or if warm summer weather will slow its spread in the United States, or if a treatment will be discovered. On the basketball front, there will be questions about fitness, and teams will have to secure arena space during a time when the league is not normally operating.

Much isn’t clear. What is clear is that a return to sports in a couple weeks, or even just a month, is looking more and more unlikely. June may be an ambitious timeline.

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