With the NBA season suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league and the NBAPA are hard at work to ensure the safety of the players while exploring avenues to continue the season, rather than canceling it.
One proposed solution with traction is to play out the entirety of the postseason at one location closed off to fans, but aired on television. It would allow the NBA to crown a champion and mitigate losses compared to canceling the season which could mean over a billion dollars in lost revenue.
In an Instagram Live with Season of Sports, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said that he would be in favor of playing the rest of the season, if safe to do so.
"If it's safe and they're able to pull it off, I wouldn't mind playing in one city," said McCollum. "It'd kind of give you those NCAA Tournament vibes a little bit."
If the Blazers qualified for the postseason, they would be matched with the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. McCollum's March Madness magic would certainly come in handy to pull off the upset, like he did when he led #15 Lehigh to upset #2 Duke.
As for what the timeline looks like to return to the court, McCollum doesn't have an answer.
I have no idea. I'm gonna schedule a zoom call tomorrow with the guys... with what I've been hearing from an NBAPA standpoint. But, basically we're on the outs just like everybody else. It's just continuing the conversation on what if's and hopefully we can get back, but obviously the government has to figure out the situation and get a control on the virus and testing and go through all those things. So, I feel like we're a little ways off before we can return.
When the league does return, McCollum is ready to see the Trail Blazers at near full health with a return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, two projected starters, ready to return to the court.
"I'm looking forward to seeing everybody healthy. Obviously the big fella (Nurkic) will be ready whenever we decide to return... Rodney Hood's almost ready."
Despite the up-and-down, injury-riddled season, McCollum has faith the Blazers can make some noise in the postseason. He and Damian Lillard have done it before.
Dame and I have grown together. We've learned together. We've been through the fire. We've been in big games. We've lost big games. We've won big games. We've had to go through a lot of different growth factors as basketball players and as people, and I wouldn't want to play with anybody else... Hopefully when we get back to playing again we can try to make a run and try to bring Portland a championship.
In a press conference two weeks ago, McCollum had concerns about the logistical issues that come with playing in one site, including the rumored Las Vegas destination.
“I think if you did it in Las Vegas you’d have to shut down the strip," said McCollum. "I don’t know where you could find an area that’s completely isolated from outsiders. And that’s the problem that I think MLB and most sports are facing.”
He also stated he would be OK with a delayed start to next season if it meant playing out the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.