Given the recent announcement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the league’s games will remain suspended for at least 30 more days due to coronavirus concerns, it remains unclear whether the 2019-20 season will continue or whether it will be completely called off. For the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, the latter scenario could technically mean a seventh straight postseason absence, despite the fact they had automatically clinched a playoff berth earlier in the month. However, the latest rumors suggest that the team is confident that NBA owners generally prefer resuming the season at some point in the future, even if it means playing games well into the summer months.
In a tweet posted on Thursday evening, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times provided an update on a conference call attended by Lakers players, as well as head coach Frank Vogel and general manager Rob Pelinka. He explained that based on what they gleaned from the meeting, the feeling among the Lakers is that NBA team owners are willing to finish the regular season and postseason once the league resumes operations. This, as noted, is despite the possibility that the 2019-20 campaign may “[go] into June, July or August.”
It wasn’t clarified, however, whether the call in question is the same as the one that took place earlier in the week, where Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix reported on the apparently growing support to shut down the entire 2019-20 season without playing playoff games or crowning a champion.
Adam Silver issued a letter to NBA fans.
"The hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned." pic.twitter.com/S4LW84mQEt
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 13, 2020
At the time the 2019-20 season was suspended, the Lakers were leading the Western Conference with a 49-14 record, with superstars LeBron James (25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.6 assists) and Anthony Davis (26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists) putting up great per-game numbers. As opined by ClutchPoints, it doesn’t sound surprising that the team seems optimistic about possibly resuming the season, considering how they were on track to end their postseason drought and favored by many to win this year’s NBA Finals.
Also noted by the outlet was the fact that the organization has dealt with other challenges apart from the recent suspension of the ongoing season. On January 26, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among seven people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California — a tragedy that “hit the players and [the] franchise very hard.”
Meanwhile, with the fate of the 2019-20 campaign hanging in the balance, the NBA will reportedly use the suspension to determine the best course of action amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19 — the illness caused by the coronavirus. While the league will be testing all of its players for the virus, only two — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell — have reportedly tested positive so far.