The NBA is working hard to resume its 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus. Many teams have reopened their facilities for socially-distanced workouts while momentum is building toward a return later this summer with Orlando emerging as the frontrunner to host games.
How soon could LeBron James and the league’s other superstar talents return to our television screens? Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, who made national headlines last week for attempting to crowdsource his own free agency, may have the answer.
Dinwiddie responded to a statement made by sneaker designer John Geiger, who tweeted that the NBA would resume play on June 21st. The Nets guard was quick to correct Geiger, claiming he only got it half right.
This could be another instance of Dinwiddie stirring the pot, though as the old adage goes, usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire. We’d be more apt to believe a league insider like Adrian Wojnarowski or Shams Charania (neither of whom have chimed in on a potential start date), though as a current NBA player, one would imagine the 27-year-old is fairly plugged in.
Dinwiddie notes that the league, as expected, will pursue a “bubble” re-start with all teams playing in a single location. Commissioner Adam Silver recently acknowledged that if the NBA does return this summer, fans will not be in attendance. The league will obviously lose significant revenue in the absence of ticket and concession sales, but unless the NBA wants to further delay its season, playing in empty arenas appears to be their only option.
Players will undoubtedly need time—at least three weeks—to get back into playing condition following the long layoff. If Dinwiddie’s report is accurate, teams would have 24 days to prepare for actual games once practices resume. It’s unclear how the COVID-interrupted 2019-20 will affect the start of next year’s campaign, though owner Mark Cuban has advocated for future seasons to begin on Christmas Day, allowing the NBA to avoid competing with the all-powerful NFL for TV ratings.