Before we get into the answers, we have to understand the full timeline of events.
The first time the NBA acknowledged the dangers of COVID-19 was on March 3rd, when they advised players to start fist-bumping instead of high-fiving.
At that point, the US had 124 confirmed cases, but 48 of them were outside of the country.
On March 7th, there were 435 confirmed cases in the U.S. and so the NBA sent a memo to teams that basically told them to prepare for the scenario that they would have to play without fans, and to formulate a plan to go about doing that.
The 7th was also the day when Italy pretty much went into shutdown mode.
Woj then reported that the NBA’s owners met on the 11th and agreed to not let fans come to games. That would’ve been announced on the 12th, but Wednesday night, there was chaos just before tip-off of the Jazz-Thunder game.
Moments before the game was to start, all the players were suddenly sent back to their locker rooms and it was announced that the game had been postponed.
Rudy Gobert was rushed to the hospital to be tested, and tested positive. Almost immediately afterwards, the NBA announced that the season would be suspended, and they would use the extended hiatus to figure out how to move forward.
Today, the 12th, his co-star Donovan Mitchell also tested positive, after reports of Gobert being “careless” in the locker room.
All teams took great precautionary measures in terms of their travel home, and were ordered to stay in their cities, and not gather for team events.
Finally, Commissioner Silver announced tonight that the league is suspended for at least 30 days, and updates will be frequent.
There is no true timetable for when / if the regular season, playoffs, and draft will occur. Though, the consensus is that the league wants to completely finish all three of those events, even if it goes into the summer.
Although, the NBA must look into shortening the regular season, or coming up with a creative way to minimize the playoffs, if they want to finish the season.
If the ultimate goal is to crown a deserving champion in the safest way possible, they must keep that in mind through this process.
Unfortunately, there are even more outside elements to this story.
We must keep in mind that the NBA, and all these major sports around the world, plan to resume at a similar time over the summer, which can be a huge issue when the time comes.
National television rights, and viewership amounts will be heavily argued and evaluated; not to mention completely reorganized.
Not only could the 2019-20 season not even finish, the NBA is going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few months, and the arena workers are out of a job for an extended period, which is a huge issue.
The NBA, luckily, is working diligently to solve that issue.
Sadly, the best bet for the NBA is to be as careful as possible, especially after the Jazz incident. Sacrifices will have to be made to crown a deserving champion, which should — again — be the ultimate goal in the end.
These next few months will be extremely unpredictable, and it’s hard to tell if sports will ever be the same again.
Photo: Trent Nelson / The Salt Lake Tribune