- NBA must decide by August 1, on what they will do with their season.
- NBA suspended play indefinitely on March 11, 2020.
- Teams are not paying for travel expenses of players right now.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) shut down league play for an indefinite period starting on March 11 after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, the NBA has weighed a few options to get the season up and running again. Despite league officials putting forth their best efforts to put a plan together for finishing the season, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a multitude of problems for the NBA. Scroll through the following paragraphs to learn more about the worst-case scenarios for restarting the NBA.
American sports are a $160 billion-dollar industry. The financial ramifications of canceling the rest of the 2019-20 season are wide-reaching. Athletes, teams, coaches. support staff, and arena workers have all taken a financial hit. LeBron James reportedly loses about $400,000 for each game the LA Lakers do not play. Some teams may have contract provisions or insurance policies that will cover lost revenue, but teams are still losing money.
The NBA has already lost a large amount of revenue from its television contracts. Each year the NBA makes about $4.5 billion in revenue from media fees. Currently, games are not being played and televised, so the NBA cannot make money from the media.
No Shutdown Provision
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between players and the league may need to be rehashed. The present CBA does not have provisions in it for a shut down because of a medical pandemic. The agreement assumes that money will keep coming in to pay the players. A loss of revenue may mean a less than ideal salary cap for the players. A weak draft might also occur because athletes may not want to enter the draft until salaries get back to normal.
There are a couple of silver linings to the 2019-20 NBA season being on hiatus. Teams can withhold about 1% of players’ salaries from each game the team misses. Additionally, teams will not have to pay for travel.
The NBA has a hard deadline of August 1 to resume the season. If the 2019-20 season would not resume, there are very few options to have a conclusive ending. One option is the NBA could award the Milwaukee Bucks a title because they had the most wins when the season stopped. Doing so would be an unsatisfying end to the season. The NBA stopped the season with about 20% remaining. It was likely that Giannis Antetokounmpo was going to be crowned the 2019-20 MVP. Awarding Antetokounmpo the MVP without a full season makes the award less meaningful.
A different option to finish off the season is to create a lottery of what teams get to play in the playoffs and shorten the series. A downside to this option is bubble teams won’t have a chance to prove they are playoff-worthy.
The worst, worst-case scenario for restarting the NBA is that it does not restart at all. Fans will be disappointed, players will not have a season, the league will lose millions, and many arena workers will not have jobs.