Given Covid-19 – the Corona Virus – has been detected in 105 countries, including the US, it was simply a matter of time before the Pandemic effected the NBA.
How does the Corona Virus effect scouting and workouts for draft prospects? Do teams try to do much more of their research remotely, for fear of spearing the virus? Does the draft spectacle as we know it happen at all? Or is this years draft an event where teams stay at home and phone their picks into Adam Silver directly?
Free agency will also be effected, and not just by starting the FA period later. Players with team options have guarantee dates in their contracts that I would expect have to be renegotiated to align with whatever the new version of July 1 is.
Teams will also experience some pretty serious cap ramifications. Between Daryl Morey alienating China, declining TV ratings, and now this (by the way, the theories circulating the Twitterverse about China creating and releasing Covid-19 specifically to get back at Daryl Morey is precisely the reason I love Twitter) the NBA will experience a hefty income deficit this season and that will of course directly effect the 2020-21 salary cap.
The longer this drama goes on, the deeper and more varied the effects on the NBA season. I'm absolutely sure that there are ramifications that we haven't yet thought of.
But that's a look at the broader league and at the games themselves. What about the human element to all of this?
The players, of course, are likely going to be fine. As per a release from the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health, over 80% of the people infected with the coronavirus will 'have mild disease, not requiring any specific health intervention'.
That's good news for the majority of us, and the players will of course have access to all the care that their status as multi-million dollar investments grants them – Gobert himself was ready to play against the Thunder, should his diagnosis have proven negative. But there is a whole universe that surrounds the NBA. And those people have lives that they lead away from the game.
Let me paint you a picture:
At the Jazz's recent game in New York, Rudy Gobert signs autographs and poses for photos with various fans before and after the game. Unbeknown to anybody there, he infects a seven year old child with the virus.
That child catches the subway home with his Dad. The person sitting next to them on the train unwittingly contracts the virus. The next day, the youngster goes to school and infects three of his class mates when they were playing tag on the playground.
That night, his grandparents are over for dinner. The child sits on his grandmother's lap and tells her all about the game, showing her the photo of he and Gobert on his dad's phone and he tells her all about how 'the tall Utah man' put his arms around them both. Next thing you know, his grandmother has covid-19.
In the space of 24 hours, that boy has unwittingly infected five people. Only one of those would be considered 'vulnerable', but think about the other five people? Who will they come into contact with?
If one person can infect five people in the span of 24 hours, how many cases can be traced to that little boy in the space of a week? It's like Amway, but instead of selling detergent, you're passing on a potentially deadly virus.
For those of you complaining about the games being postponed, this is why Adam Silver has done what he has done. It's not a basketball decision – it's a humane decision. And kudos to The Commish for doing the right thing.
I'd like to close with a plea to the common sense in all of you. Please take action – stay out of public places as much as is possible for your specific circumstances. Self quarantine so that you don't pick up the infection and pass it on to loved ones. If you already have the virus – and lets face it, plenty of us will but not yet realise it – don't put yourself in places where you can unwittingly infect others. If you want to know why self quarantine is so important, please read this.
The NBA will come back from this. And we will all be perfectly fine without the NBA in our life for the next few weeks. So let's make sure we do the right thing and try to curb the spread of Corona Virus.
Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone.