The NBA thinks it can re-start the basketball action a little sooner than it previously anticipated, on July 30. Granted, the change isn’t entirely significant, but perhaps it’s an indication of a larger improved response to the ongoing crisis caused by the coronavirus.
That may just be wishful thinking and the change could only be a desperate move to start recovering lost revenue as soon as possible, but, at this stage in the game, every little bit helps. The NBA had already announced that it would get players back on the courts on July 31 and it now has a new goal – one day earlier.
NBA Players Heading To Orlando July 30
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA plans on shifting its restart date by one day. He said on Twitter today, “The NBA is targeting a slightly earlier date for the start of the season in Orlando, sources tell ESPN: July 30.” It’s doubtful that anyone will be jumping with excitement due to the change; if the league had said June 30, that would be a completely different story.
The reason for the change doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with the coronavirus air becoming cleaner quicker than anticipated. Instead, there are several more important issues than health that the league is possibly considering. By moving the games up a day, it can take advantage of Thursday television, which is better than trying to broadcast games on a Friday.
Additionally, it allows the NBA to get the season started quicker on July 30, which will allow next season to start sooner, as well. The end result is a completion of the 2020-21 season in advance of the Tokyo Olympics, allowing the US to put together a viable team.
NBA Teams Begin To Resume Practices
Across the league, NBA players are now back on practice courts as they prepare to make their way to Orlando to finish out the season. However, with social distancing rules still in place, there are yet to be any full-team practices held and, for the most part, players are only playing 1-on-1 games and running drills.
That certainly won’t be enough to develop a winning strategy, but at least all 22 teams that are headed to Disney World are having to run restricted practices, leaving them, for the most part, on a level playing field.
Not All Players Are Thrilled About Disney World
While all basketball players would love to get back on the court and finish the season, especially those that actually have a shot at the Finals and the championship, not everyone is thrilled with the NBA’s plan to sequester teams in Orlando. Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers has voiced his opinion on the matter, asserting that he isn’t ready for games to resume.
Anthony was talking to Ernie Johnson on NBA Together when he expressed his concerns. He stated, “As far as actually playing and going back down into Orlando, I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details. We don’t know a lot of information, so until we have that, it’s hard to just commit to that 100 percent.”
It’s true that the NBA hasn’t revealed all of the details surrounding its Orlando game plan for the start on July 30, but the league is preparing its guidelines now, according to Wojnarowski, and is expected to deliver them to teams before the end of this week. Perhaps Anthony will change his tune after seeing what the league has planned. If not, the NBA already has a solution for players who don’t want to make the trip.
Wojnarowski explains, “Sources: Players deciding against participating in Orlando could be replaced by a substitution player. NBA plans to allow replacements for players who test positive for COVID-19 or suffer injuries. Replaced players become ineligible for the rest of 2019-2020 season.”
He added, “As players have started to come to terms with the restrictive and isolated nature of the Orlando bubble – including no visitors until after the first round of the playoffs, nearly seven weeks after the opening of mid-July training camp – there has been increased dialogue about the prudence of restarting the season for a number of players, especially those on non-championship contenders, sources said.”
In addition to forfeiting their rights to play in any games for the rest of the season, replaced players will also have to forfeit some cash. The NBA won’t punish players for standing down, but it will force them to give up the prorated portion of the salaries they would have earned if they had earned for games played.