NBA season restart plans heat up: Crucial meeting, player polls

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The NBA’s push to restart the season seems to be gaining momentum.

Several star players, including union president Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Jayson Tatum were set to hold a call with the league Tuesday to discuss strategies to resume the season that went on hiatus due to the coronavirus, according to The Athletic.

Paul and Westbrook were joined by LeBron James and others on a private call Monday, in which the group agreed the season should carry on “with proper safety measures once the league is given the green light to commence,” Yahoo reported.

It is unclear whether that reflects the view of the entire players association, which has more than 400 players.

To that end, players association representatives began conducting an informal, confidential players poll on Tuesday as to whether they would want to try to finish out the season, according to ESPN.  (The union later downplayed this report, saying in a statement that it “is not engaging in and has not authorized any formal poll of its players.”)

Last week, commissioner Adam Silver spoke with players and association brass during a conference call, in which he indicated a decision to restart the season might not come until June.

Silver in the call said the NBA would likely finish out the season without fans in one or two locations, possibly Las Vegas or Orlando, in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But there still are plenty of hurdles to overcome, as MLB is seeing now in its accelerated bid to start its 2020 season.

Obstacles for the NBA likely include being able to obtain coronavirus tests for players and other essential team employees, even as the United States has struggled to meet demands for testing, as well as working out a plan to help offset the major financial losses so far.

Players already have agreed to a 25 percent reduction in their salaries, that will kick in beginning with their May 15 paychecks. The funds will be held in escrow until the league determines how many games are ultimately lost.

Multiple ideas are being discussed for how the league would resume, one of which includes an expanded playoffs and a play-in tournament for teams that were mathematically still in the playoff hunt (including the 21-45 Knicks), as reported by The Post’s Marc Berman.

The NBA did take a big step toward a potential return last week when it allowed for teams in cities that have loosened social distancing restrictions to open their team facilities. It provided a glimpse into what could be the NBA’s new normal: temperature checks at doors, coaches wearing latex gloves and disinfectants everywhere, as members of the Cavaliers chronicled over the weekend. Cleveland star Kevin Love called the scene “weird.”

While the NBA continues to work out plans to resume their season, MLB held virtual meetings on Tuesday with its union to go over an owner-approved proposal to begin its season in July. Several baseball players have spoken out for and against the proposal, with some worried about the health risks involved.

The NBA season was suspended on March 12 after the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert contracted the illness. He has since recovered, along with a handful of other players who tested positive for the virus.


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