Marc Lasry, co-owner of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, says he thinks the league season stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak could resume in six to eight weeks in one or two cities
New York (AFP) - Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry says he thinks the NBA season could resume in six to eight weeks with clubs likely gathering in Orlando and Las Vegas to play games.
Lasry told CNBC television on Thursday that the league was moving closer to ending the coronavirus pandemic shutdown that began after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive March 11 for COVID-19.
“We’re getting a lot closer,” Lasry said. “We’re going to have a board of governors meeting next Friday and I’m sure we’ll be talking about it then.”
Many NBA players have been able to conduct solo workouts at team facilities this month to get back in shape, the first small step toward resuming after the deadly virus outbreak.
“With players coming back, I think right now the momentum seems to be shifting and I think we’ll have something – hopefully within the next six to eight weeks we should be playing.”
The 2019-20 campaign was halted with about a month of the regular season remaining before two months of playoffs were scheduled to begin in mid-April.
NBA return plans reportedly focus on gathering players in a “bubble” where coronavirus testing can be conducted and players can be quarantined as needed, using large hotels to house players.
Lasry’s timetable for an early July restart to games had some support in a tweet from Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie in response to a tweet that the NBA would “return” on June 15.
“That’s just practice,” Dinwiddie wrote. “I heard those last 5 games at bubble site start July 15th.”
That would seem to indicate teams would play a few regular season games in mid-July before launching into the playoffs, which could put the NBA Finals around the same time as the start of the NFL season in early to mid September.
The NBA would set up courts for games to be staged without spectators and played before television cameras.
“I think the ratings will be through the roof,” Lasry said. “Everybody is going to want to see it.”
The NBA would use one or two sites for the return, Lasry said.
“Just to make it easier for everybody I think it will be two sites, maybe have the West on the Vegas side and the East on the Orlando side,” Lasry said.
Lasry, whose Bucks had the NBA’s best record at 53-12 when the season was halted, says he does not see any NBA title this season as being diminished due to the long layoff and unique circumstances around any champion that would be crowned.
“Will it be different? Yes, but you’re still going to feel great,” Lasry said. “Everyone is going to talk about it was difficult, it was different, it was without fans. Yeah, but you are still an NBA champion.”
The Bucks, led by Greek star and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, won their only NBA title in 1971.