Spurs boss says NBA leaders plan to play again
WASHINGTON: The presidents of the NBA teams are unanimous in wanting to resume the 2019-20 season stopped by the coronavirus pandemic as soon as it is safe, Spurs of Saint Anthony executive director R.C. Buford says.
Buford spoke in a conference call with Texas reporters on Thursday, according to a publication on the NBA website, and dismissed any idea that team executives wanted to close the campaign.
I just got a call from the team presidents before I spoke to you guys, and my intention is to go back to play and try to create the best possible environment for the league and for the fans, Buford said. We are all on board for that.
A CNBC report on Thursday said some team executives and players' agents had lobbied for the season to be suspended, with Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James Turning to Twitter to say he hadn't heard a suggestion and was ready to resume the season.
Buford said talks continue about what a comeback could be like and when viewers could attend NBA games again.
We are having those discussions with the league, and most of those discussions will be league-wide determinations of how we present our games at the time and time we present our games, Buford said.
There is so much conversation right now about how we can better engage our games and our fans. No decisions have been made. This is unknown territory.
We would love to be able to interact with our community in a safe environment. I think the league's mission is to do it once we have all the information we need to be able to do that.
The NBA is examining various return scenarios, but whether or not the regular season is completed before the playoffs begin remains uncertain.
Until we are clear about the time for a safe environment, it is impossible to designate the individual scenarios that could happen, Buford said.
We are modeling multiple scenarios that not only have our teams, our league, our players, our media partners - there are multiple people at those tables who make those decisions, and we hope that we will do what is best for our fans.
Across the country and around the world, people lack sports and we lack play. I think that is the problem we are trying to solve.
Buford said the team's physical trainers have worked with players in physical training on iPads from each person's garages, with some players doing injury rehabilitation at home while being guided from afar by coaches.
Buford is in a league competition advisory group concerned about the time it would take for players to get back in shape after such a long break without gym exercises.
I guess there are a lot of these guys who have never been two months without being able to get into a gym, Buford said.
Everyone is dying to enter and bounce a ball. But I think we can't blow a whistle and 10 days later we think we are going to put our players in a safe environment to come back.