NBA Suspension 2020: The Ripple Effect on the Association


Wednesday night, the NBA made the decision to suspend play indefinitely. The decision came after it was determined that Utah’s Rudy Gobert had contracted the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus. At the writing of this article, the NBA’s current plan is to suspend operations for a minimum of 30 days. As Bruce Arthur says below, that number is aspirational. It could be even longer. With that said, let us take a look at the ripple effect of the league suspension.

Playoff Structure

One of the biggest things that will be directly affected by how long the league is suspended will be how the playoffs will operate. If league play was only suspended for a few weeks, then we can easily start the playoffs at the same time by just cutting a few regular-season games. However the longer the suspension lasts, the more challenging developing a fair plan becomes.

As of now, there are four teams within reach of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. If it is decided that the playoffs would start with whoever is in playoffs spots at the time of the suspension you can be sure there will be a few teams whining. Not only will there be teams wanting a chance to regain a playoff position but there will also be teams fighting for seeding positions.

Another option could be to give the teams a few regular-season games when they return. But how many? They could finish out the season completely, give every team 10 games to warm up again. Or even an idea that I’ve seen floating around is to have a tournament for teams around each other for playoff positions. For example, the Grizzlies, Blazers, Pelicans and Kings could all play a mini-tournament against each other for the 8th seed. And at the same time, the Jazz and Thunder could have one game to decide who gets the 4th and 5th seeds.

Injured Players

Another wrinkle that could affect the playoffs is injured players becoming healthy. There are a few obvious ones like Ben Simmons and Malcolm Brogdon who could benefit from the extra rest. But a potentially huge storyline would be the Brooklyn Nets’ stars.

If the suspension drags on for a while, what would be the likelihood Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving suit up for the Nets? Now I’m not a doctor, so I have no idea where these guys are in their rehabs, but at the beginning of the season, there were rumblings that Durant had a chance to return for the playoffs. If this suspension lasts longer than a lot of us are hoping for, they could potentially come back to make a run at a championship. I would honestly put a fully-healthy Nets team as the second-best team in the East behind the Bucks. Them returning could be a huge game-changer for the entire league.

Salary Cap

The last aspect that could be significantly impacted is the salary cap for this summer. Depending on how long this goes on, the NBA is in line to lose a good amount of money. This will, in turn, affect how much the NBA salary cap will be.

There is already a shortage of teams with large amounts of cap space. We could potentially see a lot of good players signing for significantly less than their normal market worth. Because of this, we could potentially see a lot of guys opt into their contracts or sign short one-year deals for a chance at a bigger payday next summer.

The NBA has a lot of huge decisions they have to make. No matter what they decide there will be some parties that won’t be happy. But no matter what they decide in the future, one thing that will remain true is that they made the correct decision on Wednesday. Our own Dave Pedron broke down the other options the NBA had here. However, choosing health over profits was the correct move.

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About Dylan Kelly

Diehard Bucks, Packers, Cubs and Blackhawks fan from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Moved to Green Bay where I am now a proud Phoenix member at UW-Green Bay studying Finance.

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