The NBA has suspended the 2019-20 season for the immediate future due to the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension dominates OKC Thunder news today.
With the OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz game being postponed it was the initial domino that led to the suspension of the season.
This is clearly unprecedented as the league has never had to address a situation of this nature. There have been lockouts in the past but there simply isn’t anything to compare this situation to.
Although there were some sporting events canceled the National Basketball Association was the first of the major sporting leagues to postpone/suspend the season while others followed suit today with the NHL, MLS and MLB aligning with the same decision.
At the moment there are more questions than answers as the league addresses this situation and moves toward a positive resolution. Various reports have noted the minimum time the league will be inactive is two weeks with Adrian Wojnarowski stating it’s closer to 30 days (although that number is fluid).
To help fans gain a better understanding of the situation here are some of the articles posted today on the status and some answers to questions fans are posing.
ESPN offered an article via Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of the absolutes of what is known versus the items that are still unresolved/unknown:
The regular-season stoppage will be at least two weeks so all players affected can go through quarantine and, one hopes, be cleared of the virus. In reality, it probably will be longer. By comparison, when the virus broke out in China, the Chinese Basketball Association suspended play in late January. The CBA is in the process of resuming play in early April, roughly a 10-week layoff.
To the point made above the Chinese Basketball Association canceled gameplay at the end of January and won’t resume play until next month (April). As noted that’s approximately a 10-week hiatus.
The above article also noted (as per Royce Young) the OKC Thunder were not tested for the virus. Rather they were given a test for fever and then sent home to self-quarantine. The Utah Jazz were all tested and as noted today Donovan Mitchell joins Rudy Gobert as testing positive for COVID-19.
There are numerous teams and officials who’ve come in contact with the Jazz and then subsequently others. As of now the Raptors, Cavaliers, Celtics, Knicks, and Pistons were the last five teams to play the Jazz and are all conducting self-quarantine measures.
The Toronto Raptors released a statement and advised the players and those who came in contact with anyone on the Utah Jazz have been tested.
Out of an abundance of caution, members of the Raptors traveling party have been tested for the virus. We await those results. Our players, coaches and traveling staff have all been advised to go into self-isolation for 14 days, which means minimizing contact in accordance with public health guidelines. Our team doctors remain in communication with infection control specialists and public health authorities, and we will continue to abide by their advice.
The OKC Thunder released a statement regarding reimbursement for tickets from the postponed March 11th game and most notably stated those in attendance did NOT face a health risk.
We thank you for your patience and understanding in dealing with a very difficult and unprecedented situation in our arena last night. We are especially pleased to hear state health officials say game attendees do not face a health risk.
Although the initial statement was teams would be able to practice that has shifted to all teams and players isolating themselves with NO group workouts or practices as per Shams Charania.
For a timeline of the events, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman offers the best breakdown of the sequence of events.
Also included in this article is the video with Governor Stitt. It offers great insight into the specifics in Oklahoma State.
Governor Stitt advised there are three cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Stitt notes it is the elderly who are most vulnerable. It’s a worthwhile video to review as it offers insight on making sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid touching the face and if you experience any flu-like symptoms to stay home.
There is a dedicated website in Oklahoma with information that answers questions.
If you require direct information there is also a dedicated State Department Help Center Line open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays: 877-215-8336. It was noted to call prior to showing up at hospitals.
In addition the other two sites which provide helpful and up to date information are:
The World Health Organization – click this link
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – click this link
T.I. will keep you posted on how this affects the OKC Thunder and NBA moving forward.