NBA and players union meet to discuss ways to continue season amid coronavirus outbreak, per report


As the coronavirus continues to spread around the United States, it is having a growing impact on the sports world, and specifically the NBA. Just Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors announced that their home games will be played without fans for the foreseeable future after San Francisco banned events with crowds of more than 1,000 people.

That safety measure looks almost certain to spread to other cities across the country, and as such the league and the National Basketball Players Association have met to discuss ways they can continue the season without fans. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, that includes possibly moving games to cities where there hasn’t been an outbreak.

As reported on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN that one scenario introduced into the league’s conversation about enacting temporary measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak involves moving some games to NBA cities that have yet to suffer outbreaks.

If the virus clusters and forces a team out of its city and arena for a period of time, there has been discussion about moving games to the away opponent’s arena if that city hasn’t suffered an outbreak — or even moving games to neutral cities and sites, league sources told ESPN.

From a competitive standpoint, to health and safety concerns, and even business interests, there’s so many moving parts here that the league and players have to consider. At this point there’s no question the season will be disrupted in some way, but now they have to figure out how can they keep things as normal as possible while also making sure everyone stays safe.

All of this is uncharted territory, and so far the league seems to be moving at a cautious pace. They have implemented new media guidelines to avoid big scrums in and around locker rooms, requiring a six-to-eight feet gap between players and media. But in cities where crowds are still allowed, they are keeping games open to fans. 

The thought process there seems obvious: Protect the players and keep the money flowing as long as possible. It’s hypocritical — if it’s too dangerous for media to be close to players, why is it OK for fans to be packed into arenas, including sitting courtside right next to the benches — but what else would expect from a giant business? 

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James indicated he would be “disappointed” about playing in front of no fans, but later said he understood the need for caution. That’s a sentiment that’s likely shared around the league, and judging by their actions so far, they won’t go that route until it’s mandated by local authorities. 





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