ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said the NBA is pessimistic about restarting the 2019-20 season due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Appearing on SportsCenter late Friday night, Windhorst called this a ‘bad week’ for the NBA and said the optimism toward progress has “turned south.”
As a result, Windhorst said the NBA is angling toward a deal between the players union and the league that would shut down the rest of the season.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 4, 2020
“They’re not having talks to restart the league,” Windhorst said. “They’re having financial talks about what would happen if the season shut down and I think there’s a significant amount of pessimism right now.”
Professional sports leagues in the United States have closely followed the actions of the Chinese Basketball Association, but on Thursday, the Chinese government imposed restrictions on team sports, thwarting the CBA’s hopes of restarting its season soon.
The Chinese Government issued a new order today restricting resumption of team sports, a heavy blow for pro basketball to return there soon as was planned. China's attempt to restart sports are being watched closely by leagues across the world. Huge issue is asymptomatic carriers
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) March 31, 2020
“A big reason was what happened in China where they halted the return of their league,” Windhorst said. “They believed if they just tested the players’ temperatures all the time that it would work, and the Chinese are finding that asymptomatic carriers are causing a second wave in that country.”
According to Windhorst, the lack of available testing also plays a factor because the league needs to make sure players are healthy enough to enter a game. The NBA, Windhorst said, is leaving the option of the season resuming open in negotiations, and that a decision does not have to be made right now.
The league has been suspended indefinitely since March 12, when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.