It’s been 50 days since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of the NBA season and it appears we’ll still have to wait quite a bit for it to be back. However, there’s growing optimism it will, in fact, return.
Speaking Thursday on CNBC’s Halftime Report, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry expressed the opinion that his team would be able to play out the rest of its season.
“I think there are a lot of unknowns, but my opinion is we will end up having a season and have the playoffs, but that’s going to be a while away,” Lasry said. “The question is, is that in July or is that in August? I think we’ve got to get back to everything being open. 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 (Wisconsin’s) stay at home (order). But that’s OK. You need to get started. I think some teams will have a little bit of an edge, but that’s life.”
The NBA announced earlier this week that teams in areas where stay at home orders are relaxed will be able to open their facilities as early as May 8. There will be restrictions in place, including only allowing four players in the facility at one time, requiring staffers to maintain social distancing and no practices or scrimmages. As Lasry said, that won’t include the Bucks due to the Safer at Home order in Wisconsin being in place to May 26.
“Yeah…but I think we need to do that,” Lasry said when asked if there was some unfairness to allowing some to reopen while others can’t. “I don’t think we can wait for everybody to be on the same timeframe. If the goal is that you want to end up having a season, let’s get things open. Let’s get people getting back in shape and then we’ll figure it out come July or August what we can do in finishing the season and finishing the season without fans.
In the absence of live sports, many have turned to old games, documentaries and other forms of nostalgia to satisfy their competitive cravings. That kind of yearning isn’t lost on Lasry.
“What’s clear is people want to see sports,” he said. “You’re seeing it with “The Last Dance,” where you’re having record earnings. You saw it with the NFL Draft, where you have record viewers. I think as you have that, people want to see sports, so I think we’ll end up finishing the season.”