The NBA was the first of the major North American professional sports leagues to suspend its season over the coronavirus on Wednesday, with the NHL and Major League Baseball following suit a day later.
After Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested posted for the coronavirus, the league immediately suspended their home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sacramento Kings’ home game against the New Orleans Pelicans was also postponed.
The league then announced that the league would be suspended, with no firm timetable on a return date. The NCAA has also cancelled its March Madness basketball tournament, as well as its hockey tournaments.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is preparing “for losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the sport,” during the shutdown.
Robert’s Utah teammate, Donovan Mitchell, has also tested positive for the coronavirus. Wojnarowski reported than none of the players on teams who faced Utah in the past two weeks “have reported coronavirus symptoms.” The Toronto Raptors players were instructed to self-quarantine.
Wojnarowski also said that league owners want NBA commissioner Adam Silver “to re-evaluate the league’s suspension in 30 days,” and that an announcement should be coming soon.
The NBA regular season schedule was slated to conclude on Apr. 15. The Milwaukee Bucks hold the best record at 53-19, while the Los Angeles Lakers sit first in the Western Conference at 49-14. If the postseason had started today, the Orlando Magic would claim the final playoff spot in the East, while the Memphis Grizzlies would be No. 8 in the West.
One possibility could see the NBA and NHL call off the regular season while going straight towards the postseason, based on the current standings or team winning percentage. But that all remains to be seen, and plenty of options appear to be on the table.
Major League Baseball was set to begin on March 26, with all 30 teams in action. The final spring training games were canceled, and the league hasn’t announced a potential starting date for the season – only that it will be pushed back for a minimum of two weeks.
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