Your Morning Dump… Where NBA thoughts now turn to ‘What happens next?’

© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Your Morning Dump… Where NBA thoughts now turn to ‘What happens next?’

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Your Morning Dump… Where NBA thoughts now turn to ‘What happens next?’

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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

Could The Season Be Canceled?

That’s a definite possibility if there is no progress in the suppression of the virus in the next 30 days. There is no way the NBA is going to take any chances by resuming the season in a less than optimal health situation. If the situation isn’t optimal, and there appears to be no timeline when they could happen, then yes, the season could be suspended for good. Of course, the NBA is going to do everything it can to prevent this, but it won’t take any risks.

Globe: Answering five questions about the NBA’s suspension of season due to coronavirus

What will the Celtics be up to during the league suspension?

All players have been informed that they must remain in the market of the team throughout the suspension. Not only does that help reduce the threat of spreading the coronavirus but it ensures that teams will be able to practice and workout when they are fully cleared to do so. A league source told BSJ that players are being encouraged not to bring in multiple visitors from out of town either during the suspension to stay with them. All Celtics personnel in the traveling party are expected to be tested for the coronavirus this Saturday if they so desire.

Boston Sports Journal: Five thoughts on what’s next for Celtics and NBA in wake of league suspension

Interrupting an NBA season in mid-March is like pulling the emergency brake on a train. There’s a jolt as the chugging machine screeches to a halt. Everyone looks around and wonders what just happened. Then the passengers start to ask questions, all in the vein of “Well, what do we do now?”

This has never happened to the NBA before, so the train crew league leadership is going to have to formulate their plans as they go. That will be made more difficult because we don’t know what the real world will look like once we get past the minimum 30 days that Commissioner Adam Silver said the break would last. If health authorities do not yet have the pandemic under control, how could the league possibly resume? This, from the BSJ article:

Will there definitely be a regular-season when NBA play resumes?

It all comes down to timing. If the suspension rolls into May and June, then the only option for the league may just be to start up a postseason series when play is cleared to resume. The Eastern Conference playoff field is pretty much set after 64 games while the No. 8 seed is the only spot that is truly up for grabs out West (Memphis has a 3.5 game edge). Based on that, there would be little uproar from the outsiders about going with the 16 best teams as things currently stand.

However, jumping straight into a postseason basketball after a potential two-month plus break is not ideal from a play quality and conditioning standpoint. Even a shortened regular season (5-10 games instead of 18) would help be a useful runway for players to get back into playing shape for the grind of a postseason series. Lost regular-season games mean lost paychecks for everyone as well so this is a scenario the league will surely try to avoid if at all possible.

For our real lives, the world will be very fortunate if this is all over in one month. Chances are, it won’t be. Basketball-wise, even if everything goes right around the globe and the virus subsides, this season will never be “normal.” There will be no easy choices for how the NBA should proceed. Whatever way the league decides to structure the remainder of the season, they won’t know how it’s going to play out. They’ll just have to hope it works.

Whichever team best handles the peculiar circumstances will have the inside track to winning. Really, anything could happen. Let’s just hope we haven’t already seen the last of this season.

On Page 2: Keep your hands to yourself, Rudy

According to police in Westerly, RI, a child who tested positive for coronavirus got an autograph from Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert when he was in Boston last Friday for a game against the Celtics.

Per Westerly police, two children tested positive for coronavirus. Westerly schools will shut down next week.

In a statement on Thursday, the Celtics said the infected Jazz player (likely referring to Gobert) was unlikely to be contagious when he was in Boston.

“Specific to the news about the Utah players, the DPH has advised us that based on those players’ health statuses during this period, it is unlikely that anyone from the team came into contact with them while they were contagious,” the Celtics said in their statement.

MassLive: Westerly child who tested positive for coronavirus had contact with Rudy Gobert at Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz game

Rhode Island has reported just 14 cases of coronavirus, but one of them might have been caused by the NBA’s Patient Zero himself. Perhaps, as the Celtics said, it wasn’t Gobert, but we’re going with him until it’s proven otherwise.

The most head-shaking part of the story is that two days before the Jazz played the Cs, NBA players were told to take a break from signing autographs.

So, Emmanuel Mudiay, given that the NBA issued a leaguewide memo on Wednesday addressing the coronavirus outbreak, are you concerned at all?

“Nah, I’m OK,” answered the Jazz point guard, who nevertheless politely declined all proffered handshakes from the New York media members who covered him for a year and a half.

Salt Lake Tribune: Sorry, no handshakes, high-fives or autographs: Jazz and other NBA teams taking coronavirus precautions

We’ll just figure this incident was covered when Rudy issued this apology on Thursday.

And, finally… Feel-good news

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans said he would “cover the salaries” for workers at the team’s arena for the next 30 days. Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons pledged $100,000 for workers there…

Cavaliers star Kevin Love pledged $100,000 to help the workers in Cleveland address what he described as their “sudden life shift.” On Friday, reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made a $100,000 pledge on behalf of his family.

NBA.com: No fans, no work: Arena workers caught in sports shutdown

Whether it’s due to bad weather, labor issues, a health crisis or any other reason, when arenas go dark, it’s always the regular guys and gals who suffer most. Hourly paid workers – the ones who scan tickets or sell souvenirs or serve beers – don’t get paid when they can’t get the hours.

These actions by some of the NBA’s young millionaires will not only help people who need it, but will earn back priceless goodwill from their fans.

TD Garden is owned not by the Celtics but by Delaware North and the NHL’s Bruins, who issued a statement last night that they are looking into how they can provide support for their employees. Therefore, it’s not likely that the Celtics ownership or any of their individual players will step up…but you never know.

And now we close with some words of wisdom from our guys.

The Rest of the Links:

WGBH: How The Coronavirus Pandemic Sent Boston Sports Into A Tailspin

Herald: NBA’s move leads to greater understanding and concern for COVID-19 crisis

Boston.com: What will the sports TV networks do with no sports to broadcast?

MassLive: Coronavirus in NBA: Per players union, NBA owners might be freed from paying players a percentage of salary (report)

Globe: Here’s what it was like on the Celtics road trip as coronavirus fears swelled

NBC Sports Boston: Perfect remedy for coronavirus blues? These classic Larry Bird videos

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