According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the next news to come out of the NBA world will not be if there's basketball - it will be if it's safe to play basketball.
“We’ve had a very long run of dark days, and this is a good moment. I don’t want to rain on that moment," he told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live. "The vote of owners tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball. I know that’s what it’s going to seem like. What is going to decide NBA basketball is if the virus continues to recede…I’m already sensing that people are forgetting the whole reason it is going on this way, and that is safety.”
While global riots in response to the murder of George Floyd have one-upped the coronavirus pandemic in major news cycles, Florida, where the NBA is reportedly planning to resume play, saw it's largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-April.
Another health concern that has risen in return to play conversations is that of physical shape -- not all players have had access to personal basketball courts and training facilities during this time of nationwide quarantine.
“Everybody that you talk to in the NBA on the training side are worried about these players who went cold turkey or vastly reduced their normal workout loads and haven’t been able to play any five-on-five basketball," Windhorst said.
"They all have said you have to have time to build back up.”
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After reports with more details on the timeline surfaced, the next order of business will be to figure out how the eight-game schedule, prior to the play-in games/playoffs, would be assorted. Windhorst had a very strong opinion on the proposed idea of teams just finishing out the remainder of their schedule with the 21 teams eligible to play.
"This schedule is going to be unfair," Windhorst said. "There’s 13 teams in the West playing eight games. Guess what? Not everyone is going to play the same schedule."
"There’s going to be an inherent unfairness and fans and teams are going to complain about it and they’re all going to be right, but they’re all going to have deal with it," he continued. "My expectation is that there will be five or six games per day…I think you could have afternoon playoff basketball."
Possibly the biggest takeaway from Windhort's appearance on Lunch Talk Live was the fact that Thursday's vote should go fairly seamlessly and unanimously.
“Adam Silver has kept (President of NBAPA Chris Paul and Executive Director of NBAPA Michele Roberts) alongside the entire way here," Windhorst reported.
"Michele Roberts is so confident in the working relationship with Adam Silver that she said she doesn’t even think they’ll take a vote."
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