The NBA is about to restart its 2019-20 season in the most unique way imaginable, with 22 teams preparing to play for a championship in front of fanless arenas at Disney World. It’s the league’s attempt at making the best of a really bad situation, but while this is going on, a question looms: What the heck is next season going to look like if the COVID-19 pandemic is not significantly curbed in the United States?
In the eyes of NBA Players Association boss Michele Roberts, the start of next year could look a whole lot like the end of this one. Roberts, in an interview with Tim Bontemps of ESPN, explained that there is an extremely foreseeable circumstance where the NBA’s best path forward when the 2020-21 season tips off is to lean on the bubble concept once again, saying that “if tomorrow looks like today, I don’t know how we say we can do it differently.”
“I’m not in the Trump camp in believing it’s all going to go away in two weeks, but I’m praying, praying that there will be a different set of circumstances that will allow us to play in a different way,” Roberts said, alluding to the President of the United States’ repeatedly incorrect claim that the virus, which has killed more than 150,000 Americans, will go away. “But because I don’t know, all I know is what I know now. So it may be that, if the bubble is the way to play, then that is likely gonna be the way we play next season, if things remains as they are.
“I hope not,” Roberts continued. “Because I’d like to think that people can live with their families. But I can only comment on what I know, and what I know is right now.”
This very well might be a case of crossing that bridge when we get to it, as the current bubble — which Roberts is in — is already such a monstrous undertaking that it requires every ounce of attention that it can get. Having said that, there have been reports of how next season can function. Morning Consult previously reported that one plan that is potentially on the table is starting next season in March, depending on things like effective vaccines and therapeutics that currently do not exist.