The NBA is reportedly considering several different playoff scenarios in order to resume its season, but a glance at what is happening in China paints a bleak picture for U.S. sports.
The Chinese Government issued a new order on Tuesday restricting the resumption of team sports, such as the Chinese Basketball Association, which was expected to return to action in late April or early May, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
There is no timetable for when the restriction will be lifted, but it marks the third time the return of the CBA has been delayed — which was also scheduled to resume the first week of April and April 15.
The country’s return to team sports is viewed as a possible model for American sports to follow since the CBA suspended its league two months prior to the NBA, in mid-January.
The CBA was currently making plans to split its teams into two cities and play in empty arenas, which is similar to an idea the NBA is also reportedly exploring.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the NBA is considering several options on how to resume its season, including a 16-team postseason to be played at one site without fans. Changing the playoff format to a best-of-three series across the board is another option being discussed.
Among the possible destinations being considered are Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlantic City, Hawaii, Louisville and the Bahamas with a best-case scenario start date of late June or early July, pushing the 2020-21 season back to begin on Christmas.
However, the NBA has also not ruled out canceling the remainder of the 2019-20 season altogether.
Meanwhile, in China, the CBA continues to inform players it intends to resume play and will have a better picture in a few weeks, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Several American athletes, such as Jeremy Lin and Lance Stephenson, have already arrived to China within the last two weeks in order to start a 14-day quarantine before the season was expected to begin.
Teams had even begun holding practices, but it is unclear if they will also be halted amid the new order from the government.