Otago Daily Times

NBA faces questions over future


LOS ANGELES: As the NBA bursts its bubble following the completion of the finals on Monday, the league now faces tough questions about when next season will begin and what it will look like.

The league’s threemonth stay at Walt Disney World in Orlando was a huge success, no players or coaches testing positive for Covid19 after the virus derailed the season in March for four months.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to win the championsh­ip and cap a thrilling playoffs.

But even though the environmen­t was safe, living on the campus required major sacrifices, and there is little appetite to return any time soon.

‘‘I think you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have ups and downs in the bubble,’’ James said.

‘‘At times I was questionin­g myself, ‘should I be here? Is this worth sacrificin­g my family?’ I’ve never been without my family this long,’’ he said, noting that he missed his son’s 16th birthday.

The 202021 campaign was slated to tip off in December but few expect that to happen given the league just wrapped up the longest season in its history and financial agreements still need to be hammered out.

The NBA has already pushed back the draft from October 16 to November 18 and Commission­er Adam Silver has said he does not expect the season to begin this year — January or possibly February seem more likely targets.

Silver, however, said he hoped to play a full 82game season and playoffs in home arenas with fans despite the still raging pandemic, which has killed more than 214,000 people in the United States.

‘‘Nothing has really changed with this virus,’’ Silver said last month.

‘‘In fact, I think the majority of states right now, cases are ticking back up again.’’

He said he hoped advancemen­ts in rapid testing could make a big difference in terms of the league’s ability to potentiall­y get fans into arenas.

‘‘I think everybody understand­s just like in the country, there’s public health considerat­ions, but the economy is a public health issue, as well, so we’re working and trying to strike that right balance,’’ he said.— Reuters

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LeBron James

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