Will Blazers Play Again When NBA Returns? Could the NBA go Straight to Playoffs or Cancel Season Completely?

By: Matthew Zimmer

With the coronavirus putting all sports on hold, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggesting two months of “no events of 50-plus people” when can we expect the NBA to resume?

ESPN’s Adrian Woknarowski reports the league is planning a “best case scenario” of mid-to-late June for the NBA to return with no fans.

I have no inside sources like Woj, but here’s the way I see it. I don’t think we see the Blazers again this season.

Portland still have 16 regular season games left. Yes, they’re still mathematically alive for the playoffs. Yes, they still have two games against the team they’re chasing, Memphis. But if the NBA kept the current remaining schedule layout (game days to off days) then Portland would have games spanning just over a month.

So, if games started back up “as normal” in mid-to-late June, then the playoffs wouldn’t start until mid-to-late July. The first round of the playoffs was scheduled to start April 18, with the NBA Finals scheduled for June 4 before the coronavirus caused the season to be suspended. If the playoffs started in mid-to-late July, the NBA Finals could go into September.

This NBA season started in October, so if the league wants to start in October for the 2020-21 season then the players who play in the finals would only get a month (or less) to recover. I don’t think a) the players will go for that or b) the league would actually approve that. Maybe I’m wrong.

Most likely, the NBA only wants one season affected by the coronavirus. So, I think they scrap the regular season and go with the teams who are already in the top eight spots of the East and West. With this postseason-only option, if they started in mid-to-late June, then the league could be done in late July or early August. Sadly, for Blazer fans, I think that’s the option the league will go with if they play at all. Then, they could push the start of the regular season for 2020-21 to November or December and play a shortened season.

Of course, there’s still the option that they completely scrap the rest of the 2019-20 season and postseason. The NBA could just start 2020-21 season on time in October with no 2020 NBA Champion, much to the chagrin of players and fans.

I really don’t have a good idea of the NBA’s actual plan, but there’s only so many options or avenues they can take. I think the NBA wants a postseason and a 2020 champion, based on Woj’s reports. However, I also think it would be naive to think the league wouldn’t just cancel the season and hope the coronavirus problem blows over, or gets solved (vaccine), before a new season could begin.

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