Coronavirus: Chinese Basketball Association reportedly delays season return due to continued COVID-19 concerns
The CBA planned to restart the season in early April after postponing the season in January
The NBA is still not any closer to knowing when it will be safe to resume play as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States. League officials and owners remain optimistic that the season can be salvaged in some way, but no one really has any answers. One marker that everyone was looking at, however, was when the Chinese Basketball Association would resume. After halting its season in late January due to COVID-19, the CBA decided it would resume play on April 15.
That was seen as a test run for when — or if — it would be safe again to play basketball. However, the league has decided to delay its return even further, looking at May as an option to restart the season, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. The CBA planned to play its games without fans in attendance in an attempt to avoid spreading the virus even further, but the league did not get approval from the government to continue playing.
There were several factors that led to not getting approval from the Chinese government, including the official postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as well as other international basketball leagues delaying starts. Japan's B League tried to make a return, but after a reportedly "chaotic" weekend, decided to shut back down again with an eye toward April for a return. South Korea's basketball league, the KBL, decided to cancel the remainder of the season due to safety concerns because of the coronavirus.
Over half of the American players in the CBA league traveled back to China to resume the season, under the assumption that things would pick back up in April. Now with games being delayed again, players like Jeremy Lin and Lance Stephenson, who traveled back and self-quarantined for 14 days, are reportedly stuck in China and are concerned about potentially playing into July and August to finish out the season.
While this doesn't entirely reflect what the NBA should expect when it tries to resume play potentially this summer, it is a bit discouraging. The spread of the coronavirus has slowed down in China, and South Korea has been lauded for its efforts in combating the virus, and still have not been able to get back to normal. If the CBA returns in May, that will be a four-month hiatus for the league, and even though the NBA is targeting a return in June after three months off, that looks to be optimistic given what's happening around the globe.