The NBA’s Next Steps… Maybe?
It’s funny that you find the true importance in things once they’re unfortunately not available anymore.
It has been 66 days since we’ve heard the subtle sound the nylon net makes as our favorite athletes hit a dagger from 30-feet out. The sound of sneakers on the gym floor linger throughout every NBA arena, almost haunting us from our past. On March 11th, 2020, Boban Marjanovic of all people, led the Mavericks to a 113–97 victory over the Denver Nuggets to cap-off a roller coaster night in the sports world.
NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, made the conscious decision to post-pone the NBA season as the world continues to fight the coronavirus. Now, Silver is left searching for possible answers on how to salvage the remainder of the season, if even possible. And the saddest thing is, I’m not sure he can save it, let alone if he even should.
Salvaging the season would lead to a permanent schedule shift, one I’m not sure the league would be willing to make. With the NBA regular season starting in October, 82 games are played over the course of seven months with the playoffs starting in mid to late April. Salvaging the season would mean that you’re looking at a late December start, possibly on Christmas, with the season running up until August.
Ratings would be fine and revenue would still be coming in. But you have to think about the livelihoods of the players and how this impacts life. A lot of these men are fathers. And with the NBA offseason correlating with the summer break of the athletes’ children, the summer time is ultimately the most they see their families all year with the rigorous schedule of a professional athlete. By the time the players start up training camp, kids are occupied with being back in school so both parties are occupied. Shifting the schedule permanently is not going to only impact the sports world, but it hampers a lot of these men’s lives.
However, if there was ever a time for the Commissioner Silver to get creative, it would be now.
We’ve heard the rumblings about a possible mid-season tournament being proposed for the near future. Silver is desperately looking for a change in the NBA schedule — preferably the length — and the recent COVID-19 outbreak gives him a grand opportunity to have a trial run with the tournament.
Perhaps we scratch the season and get ready for the October start. Silver can use the mid-season tournament to “compensate” for the NBA postseason unfortunately not taking place. What the winners get is something that the league would really have to think about themselves but I could see an extra first round pick being given or even extra money to put on the salary books for the winning team’s disposal.
While the NBA is deeply missed by passionate fans world wide, perhaps nobody has it as rough as Adam Silver. Met with a crossroads like no other, Silver finds himself with a decision in which no matter what, the league will lose money but also a decision that could greatly impact all of those employed by the league. At the end of the day, basketball is just a game and there is a bigger picture at stake here; life.