While some league and team executives are reportedly pressuring the league to cancel the season all together due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry isn’t one of them.
Lasry, speaking on CNBC on Thursday, said he believes that the season will finish at some point. It’s just not going to resume anytime soon.
“I think there’s a lot of unknowns, but my opinion is that we will end up having a season, we’ll have the playoffs,” Lasry said on CNBC. “But that’s going to be a while away. The question is, is that in July or is that in August?”
The NBA suspended operations on March 11 shortly after Utah Jazz veteran Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Several other players, executives and team staff members have since tested positive, too. There were more than 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 61,000 deaths attributed to the virus.
A CNBC report from Jabari Young on Thursday said that league executives and agents were calling on the NBA to cancel the season altogether due to the coronavirus. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, however, quickly questioned the report on social media.
Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. 👑— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 30, 2020
The league informed teams this week that it will allow them to reopen practice facilities under strict guidelines on May 8 in cities and states where stay-at-home orders had been loosened. There is still no solid plan to resume play anytime soon, however several ideas have been floated — including holding games at a single site like in Las Vegas or at Disney World.
Before that can happen, however, Lasry knows that communities will need to be allowed to open again across the country. Though opening team facilities may put the Bucks at a disadvantage — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 26 this week — Lasry said that’s at least the first step.
“I think we’ve got to get back to everything being open,” Lasry said on CNBC. “I think the NBA, a number of facilities are going to open May 8. I think for somebody like the Bucks it’s going to take longer, just because we have to comply with the stay-at-home. But that’s OK. You need to get started. So I think some teams will have a little bit of an edge, but that’s life.”
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