If the NBA regular season resumes, it is almost “100 percent” the games will be played without fans present, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Friday.
Windhorst said the NBA very likely will mimic the plan being used in China for a potential end to the current hiatus, which began March 12.
In China, ground zero for the coronavirus in recent months, the plan for professional basketball to resume includes keeping players in a centralized, isolated location or shared hotel to limit the chance they come in contact with any infected person.
Ideas being floated include playing all the games at a neutral site, such as Las Vegas, the Bahamas or even a college campus in the Midwest where the outbreak, to this point, has been mild, according to the report. The idea would be to refit a casino or grand ballroom of a resort into made-for-TV events.
—ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke tested positive for COVID-19, but she said she is now symptom-free.
Burke shared the information on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Burke said it took eight days for her test results to come back.
She began feeling symptoms associated with the coronavirus on March 11. Burke was broadcasting a game in Dallas that night when news broke that the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, which triggered a suspension of the NBA season that kicked in after the Mavericks beat the visiting Denver Nuggets 113-97.
—Utah Jazz players and staff have been cleared of the coronavirus, the team said.
“The Utah Department of Health has determined that all Jazz players and staff, regardless of prior testing status, no longer pose a risk of infection to others,” the team said in a statement.
The NBA suspended play after Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. His teammate, fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the coronavirus.
—Point guard Killian Hayes, who is playing for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, is entering the 2020 NBA Draft.
Hayes, No. 10 in ESPN’s NBA prospect rankings, told the network via email he submitted paperwork to the league and will be part of the draft, whenever it might take place.
Measured at 6-foot-5, Hayes is a pass-first guard and is also known as a stellar defender. The 18-year-old son of former Penn State player Deron Hayes, Killian Hayes was born in Florida and raised in France, for whom he played on the U17 FIBA team last year.
—USA Basketball is weighing alternative roster options in the event of a potential conflict between the delayed Tokyo Olympics and the NBA season.
If the postponed Games are moved from a July 2020 start to March or April of 2021, NBA players would not be eligible to participate. The NBA regular season typically ends in mid-April, when the playoffs begin.
There is no set timetable for the Olympics after the International Olympic Committee announced this week the games would not start as scheduled on July 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
—Professional basketball leagues in Russia and Japan canceled the remainder of their seasons.
The Japanese B League announced it will call off attempts to resume play. The VTB League, with teams from Russia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia and Kazakhstan, will not resume. The South Korean KBL also has been canceled,.
“We’ve prioritized the mental and physical health of our players, coaches and club officials,” league chairman Masaaki Okawa said in a video news conference, per the Japan Times. “The spread of this coronavirus has been beyond our imagination and we’ve emphasized that we cannot afford to expose our players and others who are associated with our league to the danger.”
—Field Level Media