The NBA season remains on pause amid the coronavirus pandemic, and there are still no concrete plans for a possible return.
Luckily for SBOTOP NBA fans, the much-anticipated new Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” premiered and provided a welcome distraction given the lack of basketball action.
Commissioner Adam Silver also gave the latest NBA 2020 updates on the status of the league’s potential return, while the league and the players’ association came to a payment agreement.
Jordan NBA documentary premiere scores record ratings
The first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, were released on Sunday, April 19.
The doc follows Jordan in what would turn out to be his final season with the Bulls during the 1997-98 season as they looked to win their sixth NBA championship.
The first two episodes look back at Jordan’s rise to greatness, from his childhood upbringing to his college days and into his first few years in the NBA.
They also introduced the main conflicts — centred around general manager Jerry Krause — that would end up breaking the Bulls’ legendary dynasty apart.
The Last Dance was a major hit as it averaged over 6 million viewers per ESPN, making it the network’s most-viewed documentary ever.
It also dominated cultural conversation and interest as the #1 trending topic yesterday on Twitter. It was also the top Google Search Trend in the US on Sunday.
Commissioner Adam Silver says NBA return still unclear
The NBA has now been out of action for over five weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Commissioner Adam Silver admits that there’s still no timetable for a potential return to action.
Silver said that due to the uncertainty surrounding the data on the pandemic situation, the league is not in a position to make any decisions on how to move forward.
“Based on the reports that we got from varied outside officials, current public health officials … we are not in a position to make any decisions,” Silver said in a conference call with reporters per ESPN. “And it’s unclear when we will be.”
However, Silver did assure everyone that all options are still on the table for resuming the season. That includes potentially delaying next season, as well as playing games with no fans in arenas.
Silver also underlined that the health of the players is of utmost importance to the league and that they want to resume play as safely as possible.
There have been several rumours regarding what the NBA playoffs might look like if and when it does take place. Due to the pandemic-caused delay in the season, the league would have to make some major changes to the format.
But all Silver and the league can do at the moment is come up with possible solutions. They will still need to wait for the situation to stabilise before they can make any concrete plans to restart the season.
NBA players get a 25% pay reduction
The NBA and the players’ association have come to terms on a plan to withhold 25% of players’ paychecks starting May 15.
The agreement is in anticipation of the possibility that players’ salaries will be reduced due to the cancellation of games.
The plan is for the money to be returned to the players if all the regular-season games are played. But if not, teams would keep a percentage of the money based on the number of cancelled games.
Teams still had 16-18 regular-season games remaining on their schedules before the halt in play, and players are projected to lose 23-26% of their season salary if those games don’t take place.
The NBA still has no plans to announce the cancellation of regular-season games any time soon. The union has told players that it could take as long as June 15 to know whether games are cancelled and how many.
At this point, it is likely that the league will opt not to complete the full 82-game regular-season schedule, which means the players will lose a decent portion of their salary for the season.
The best-case scenario the players can hope for is that when the league returns to action, they decide to play a handful of regular-season games to get teams prepared for the postseason.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT BASKETBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES