The NBA 2019-20 season has been suspended since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the league is looking to return to action in the near future, some executives believe that it's not going to happen. According to CNBC, team executives are pressuring the NBA to cancel the season so they can focus on resuming play in 2020-21. CNBC spoke to team executives and player's agents in recent weeks about resuming play. The biggest challenge is liability issues, and owners are conflicted about giving up on the current season.
When LeBron James heard the report, he said it's false. "Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true," he said per TMZ. "Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I'm ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything." Canceling would be a bold decision, and a costly one also. CNBC said NBA teams split the $2 billion per year in national TV money the league receivers from ESPN and Turner Sports. Teams also gain revenue from regional and local media networks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert spoke to the New York Times about sports returning during the pandemic. He said some sports may not be able to return this year due to areas in the country still having issues controlling the pandemic. "Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything," Fauci said. "If you can't guarantee safety, then unfortunately you're going to have to bite the bullet and say, 'We may have to go without this sport for this season.'"
As of now, the NBA has no plans to cancel the season. However, it has no target date of returning either. If the NBA does return this year, it's very likely all the teams could play in one location. It was reported this week, the NBA is looking to have all its games at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The league is also looking at other locations to see if it's feasible to have games and protect the health and safety of the players, coaches, and staff members.
"One possible playing ground for NBA if finishing season becomes safe for league and players: Walt Disney World Resort property in Orlando, sources tell [The Athletic] and [Stadium]," Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote on Twitter.