The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that no groups larger than 50 should gather for the next two months. The President has said it could be July before things return to normal. Cities around the country including Houston are putting restrictions on everything from gatherings to bars and restaurants.
It's time to do the right thing and call off the NBA season (and the NHL, though it is of less interest for those of us here in Houston) now and start planning for next year.
The NBA playoffs would be scheduled to start in mid-April. If we assume that the CDC will give the all clear two months from its announcement (and that seems unlikely), that would be roughly May 15, which is the middle of when the conference championships are scheduled. The NBA Finals were set for a start date of June 4.
Not even three weeks after game one of the Finals is the NBA draft.
Let's be honest. There is zero chance the NBA will be able to finish its season and with several players already testing positive, they may need a month to recover depending on the severity of the illness.
The NBA should call it now, so they can not only plan for the offseason but help transition staff, who are already worried about their incomes though some teams including the Rockets have provisions set aside for them. They also need to figure out how to handle free agency, which will no doubt be chaos regardless of what they do, and settle on bonuses that may be curbed by the shortfall in games.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
It will be a mess, but at least they will have months to figure it out.
Then there is Major League Baseball. Fortunately for them, the season is long and would not even be underway yet if they could play. Opening Day is at the end of March. These restrictions will certainly cost them two months of the season, perhaps longer. But, it leaves them with four or more months of the season remaining when they are able to return. It's not perfect, but if fans are quarantined for two or three months, God knows they would love some baseball to return to.
If they do come back in June, baseball will need to do a massive schedule reconfiguration and probably drop All Star weekend. The schedule will need to focus on division races and perhaps drop interleague play altogether. That would still give teams more than enough time to settle rivalries and prepare for the playoffs.
This is all assuming that the restrictions don't last longer. If that happens, even baseball could be threatened and our next sport to look forward to would be the NFL, which is depressing considering we live in Houston and Deandre Hopkins doesn't anymore.