What affect has the coronavirus had on the NBA?

Photo: Golden State Warriors/Twitter

The NBA was preparing itself for an exciting end to the season. There were vital games to play that would decide the postseason play-off qualifiers. Then came the Coronavirus pandemic and on March 11, the season was suspended. What happens next? Will the season be completed and when will the next one begin?

There are plenty of questions to be answered at present, but they are not easy ones to deal with. All was going well in the NBA with most teams in the various divisions having played 64 games. The regular season was heading towards an exciting climax. Teams in the Eastern and the Western Conferences were battling it out to win divisions and qualify for the postseason play-offs.

When players began being infected with the coronavirus, the writing was on the wall. March 11 saw the league suspended, just weeks before the play-offs were due to take place.

There seems no date set for the resuming of the NBA season as the pandemic continues to spread in the USA. However, bosses are determined to ensure that the season is played out to its completion. There has been talk of games going ahead behind closed doors.

That’s a possible solution but not a popular one. LeBron James plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, a side already through to the play-offs. He’s stated that he would not play in such games. “”Play games without the fans? No, simple answer,”

The next season isn’t due to start until October, so there is a fair amount of time to finish the current campaign. It’s good in a way that the season hadn’t been suspended earlier.

Teams were due to be spending the next month finishing off the regular season. The play-offs were due to begin on April 18 with the finals taking place in June. The season won’t resume until the safety of everyone concerned can be assured. Like many sports, the calendar has been torn up and this is clear to see when looking at how few sports are available on online bookmakers right now. A delay to the next season is likely, and that will also cause delays to the transfers that take place in close season.

While the season has been suspended, there have been several good acts carried out by NBA teams and individuals. No games means empty arenas and this can affect the wages of those who work at those arenas. Giannis Antetokounmpo declared on Twitter that the current crisis is “bigger than basketball.” He made a pledge to make donations totalling $100,000 to staff at the Fiserv Forum as Milwaukee Bucks games didn’t take place there.

Basketball players may not be on the court at present but there are some good wages paid in this sport. It’s not like the situation facing lower league footballers in the UK.

No one knows when the NBA will resume. There is a determination to finish the current season though. With the season approaching its latter stages, when it does resume, an exciting time lies ahead, let’s hope that isn’t too far away.