Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the league isn’t ruling out pushing the NBA season and playoffs into July and August after the league suspended play Wednesday night. That’s if the coronavirus outbreak quells within the next two months.
“Hopefully, this virus runs its course over the next 60 days or so and then at that point we can start making decisions about if the NBA plays games, what our schedule looks like and we can progress from there,” Cuban said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Thursday morning.
Cuban: NBA playoffs could go into July, August
The NBA announced games would be on hiatus “until further notice” and has no announced timetable for when, or if, play will resume after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Cuban told “Get Up” he believes the season will be played, though it might be a slightly shortened regular season.
“I can easily see us playing the last seven to 10 games of the regular season to get everybody back on court and going right into the playoffs and going into July, if not August,” Cuban said.
Mark Cuban does not think the NBA season will be cancelled, just postponed, and could see games being played into August. pic.twitter.com/PtStFlypPL— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 12, 2020
The Mavericks have 15 games left on the schedule before the regular season was slated to end in mid-April. As with any major postponement, the league will have to work around arena schedules and TV schedules when it resumes.
“The only reason we haven’t played games after June 12 in the past is because of TV partners,” Cuban said. “As you guys know ... the households using television in the summer drop significantly. Well the TV landscape has changed dramatically in the last three years, four years. And so those numbers and those equations have all changed significantly.”
The major TV competition is MLB. There’s also WNBA and NWSL games over the summer months, as well as golf. The Olympics also make it a difficult year to push back scheduling. They are slated to begin July 24 and as of now are still on track.
Cuban working to take care of hourly employees, small business
Without prompting Wednesday night during an in-game interview with ESPN shortly after the NBA’s announcement, Cuban said he was already working to take care of arena employees who will lose income during the lull.
Mark Cuban has already started to put in a plan to help Mavericks employees who may be impacted by the NBA’s indefinite suspension of the season. pic.twitter.com/Cd7ABVjQdM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2020
Cuban told the “Get Up” crew he and the Mavericks got together again early Thursday to discuss how they would help those hourly workers, who rely on the paychecks.
“We have a program where the next four would-have-been Mavs game we’ll pay our hourly employees as if they worked,” he said. “And then we also have the downstream effects of smaller businesses. These are customers, fans, people who buy tickets. We want to be good citizens in the community. So we have to be aware of what might happen.”
There were four home Mavs games scheduled for March, beginning Saturday at American Airlines Arena. The Mavs were also scheduled to host two games at home to close the season.
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