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NBA Has Chance To Revolutionize Itself With A New Schedule

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 25: Christmas branding on the basketball stantion prior to an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – While the current NBA season is in flux about if or when it returns, there is an opportunity presented for the league to remake itself. There were already talks pre-COVID-19 about adjusting the long NBA season to include an in-season tournament with money on the line, shortening the season a few games, and including a play-in game for the final four playoff spots.

Things are drastically different now with the NBA shuttered for the foreseeable future and there seem to be daily updates on ideas to get the league up and going. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has a few ideas for this year which he relayed in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

“One is, when can we restart and operate as we’ve known it with 19,000 fans in buildings? … Option two is, should we consider restarting without fans,” Silver said. “A third option that we are looking at now the impact on the national psyche of having no sports programming on television.

“One of the things we’ve been talking about the conditions in which a group of players could compete – maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or just the collective good of the people. Because people are stuck at home, and I think they need a diversion. They need to be entertained.”

The big question is how safe it will be to play basketball even with no crowds as areas of the country are impacted differently from COVID-19.

Labor Day NBA Finals?

The most recent talks about when the NBA could resume are putting a July 1st start out there, that would mean a possible NBA Finals commencing over Labor Day. KSL Sports Alex Kirry just wants to see the season continue and conclude with a champion in some fashion.

“Having an NBA Finals would be awesome, but I don’t know if that is something that is still an option, I don’t know,” Kirry said. “One of the things that has been thrown out is is a drop-dead date for finishing the Finals would be Labor Day and that weekend. This is the loosest of drop dates for the NBA and that would mean games would need to start back up in July.”

Co-host Scott Mitchell really liked the idea of a fall conclusion to the NBA.

“I absolutely love this and what is so appealing about this is because if you think about our country and how we are shut down right now, no one is working and worrying about their jobs,” Mitchell said. “To be able to celebrate getting our country back up on its feet and people back at their jobs, and that is what we celebrate with Labor Day. What a great symbolic thing because this is what we will need to bring us together as a country.”

There will be a big-time sporting event that will say that America is back to normal and perhaps that will be a postponed NBA Finals that occurs during that first week of September. People want something to look forward to and the NBA could be that solution similar to Major League Baseball for 9/11.

NBA Should Start On Christmas Day

The NBA league schedule started this past year the week before Halloween and normally would end in mid-to-late-June. That is a long season and during the first three months of the league, it is overshadowed by the NFL and college football.

The casual fan picks up the NBA more regularly around the NFL playoffs when fewer games are ongoing and by then the season is halfway over. The NBA already makes Christmas Day a huge deal with five games so why not start the season there and allow it to go deep into summer. By going that path the NBA misses football and competes only with baseball during the summer.

The idea of starting the NBA on Christmas Day is fully back by Mitchell.

“They talked about not starting the NBA season until later in the year, and what would be a better time to start on Christma Day,” Mitchell said. “They always have NBA basketball that goes on Christmas Day, you have a captive audience and most of America is home and how exciting would that be to be home and have Christmas and create a tradition probably as big, if not bigger, than having football on Thanksgiving.

“Instead of starting NBA basketball in October when nobody cares… [push the season back] so it goes through the summer and there are no longer those dog days of summer. Then you spaced out the sports and everyone is not overlapped and drowning everyone out.”

Kirry is on board with spacing out the sports seasons.

“The NBA has thought about [changing the schedule] but now this may give them the guts to try this. Who wants to interrupt the normal way of business when it is working and able to make a ton of money,” Kirry said. “The reality is that it is broke, so you don’t have to necessarily fix people coming back to the games. If crowds are able to come back, the question is: ‘Is this the best way to have a setup with the NBA starting up during football season?'”

Putting off the NBA for a few months and allowing the NFL to wind down the season for the playoffs would be a great time for the league to start going to keep that interest strong from start to finish, according to KSL Unrivaled.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth service through your healthcare providers.

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