The NBA’s hiatus turns two weeks old on Wednesday, and to this point there remain more questions than answers in regards to when play might resume.
Elsewhere, basketball leagues seem to be gaining more clarity on the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not many of the developments have been positive. On Wednesday, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA hereafter) is pushing back its target re-start date until at least May.
The CBA originally suspended play back in January, and had hoped for a return on April 15 — in fact, there was enough momentum around that date that American players contracted in China had begun traveling back in anticipation.
But according to Windhorst, the return was nixed due to a lack of governmental approval and the recent postponement of the summer Olympics in Tokyo.
This news comes days after the Korean Basketball League (KBL hereafter) of South Korea canceled its season on Monday after approximately a month-long hiatus dating back to Feb. 29. Last week, Japan’s B League re-suspended play after briefly returning to action in “chaotic” fashion.
Organized basketball appearing close to return in China and Japan, specifically, had been a source of hope for those forecasting a mid-spring or early-summer return for the NBA. These developments cast doubt on that — especially given that China and South Korea have been lauded for their mitigation of the novel coronavirus' spread.
If the CBA does pull off a May return, it would mark four months since initially suspending play. A similar timeline for the NBA would leave us in July before games pick back up, and that’s presuming a ton.
For what it’s worth, those in and around the NBA continue to project optimism about the season at some point resuming. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently reported that “no matter what, [NBA owners and players] want to salvage the season.” Mark Cuban told WFAA8 of Dallas that if the over/under on the NBA returning was set on June 1, he would take the under.
But growing evidence points to this hiatus being far from a resolution, or even a concrete discussion of one.