Through an unprecedented period of tumult in the NBA (and sports in general), Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been a consistent voice.
On Wednesday night, Cuban spoke to the media both during and after a Mavericks-Nuggets game that was played as news of the NBA suspending it’s season broke. He garnered widespread praise for expressing intent to support hourly Mavericks employees impacted by the postponing of games, and attention for his own reaction to the news.
Mark Cuban reacts moments after the NBA season was suspended. pic.twitter.com/4g8Z7yLts6— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
On Thursday morning, Cuban appeared on ESPN’s Get Up! to discuss scheduling conflicts the league will face without a timetable for resuming play.
Here’s Mavericks owner Mark Cuban saying he expects the NBA season to be postponed - not canceled. When I asked him if the NBA could play into August this year, he said: “Absolutely” pic.twitter.com/cBA92PgDLT— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 12, 2020
“Hopefully this virus runs its course over the next 60 days or so, and then at that point, we can start making decisions about, does the NBA play games, what our schedule looks like, how we would progress from there,” Cuban told ESPN.
Of course, it's far from a simple calculation. Even that optimistic 60-day estimate would mean the NBA resuming play in May, which would push the entire league schedule back into June, July or even August. Cuban didn’t have a definitive answer to those concerns, but offered a window into the league’s thinking.
“The only reason we haven’t played games past June 12 in the past is because our TV partners. As you guys know, households using television in the summer drops significantly. Well, the TV landscape has changed dramatically over the past three years, four years, and so those numbers and those equations have all changed significantly,” Cuban said. “But because there’s not a lot of competition -- there’s only regular season baseball -- I don’t think necessarily until August, but I can easily see us playing the last seven to 10 games of the regular season to get everybody back on course, and then going right into the playoffs going into July, if not August.”
That at least offers a modicum of hope that the season will resume at some point, though it's still far from a guarantee.
Other unanswerable issues at this point: Player contracts for 2019-20 expire on June 30. Training camps for the 2020-21 season pick up in September. Playing through the summer would rub up against the league’s typical draft date (late June), free agency schedule (early July), the WNBA regular season (many WNBA teams share arenas with NBA teams), the 2020 Summer Olympics, summer concert schedules at NBA arenas and much more.
All we can do is hold tight and wait for more information. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, more information could come from the league as early as Thursday.