According to Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones on Thursday, we should not expect the NBA to be able to resume real games — regular season or playoffs — any time soon.
Commissioner Adam Silver has already announced that the NBA would remain completely shut down until at least some time in May, if not June. No contact between players and staff. No entry to arenas, gyms or anywhere for intense workouts. Players are being asked to stay home.
And now, Jones believes that even after players can get back to work, we should not expect games to resume for at least a month if not two months after that. That pushes a timeline to July or August before we see games played again, if at all this season.
On a conference call with local media on Thursday, Jones expressed a clear intention that teams around the league would need at least two weeks just to assess where they are physically, and up to two months before they could reasonably expect to play real games.
Once players and teams can get back in the gym, Jones says they have no idea what kind of shape the players will be in. They’re not allowed to do much physical activity, certainly not supervised, so they will need at least two weeks just to get an idea how long it will take to get them back into playoff-level shape.
“Not going to be a couple of weeks,” Jones said of resuming games. “Multiple weeks. Five, six, seven weeks, I don’t know.”
He says they “don’t want to put any of the guys in position to hurt themselves or hurt their futures.”
He says that all the injured players, including Kelly Oubre Jr. and Frank Kaminsky, are deemed healthy, but they are stuck right now because they can’t get on a basketball court to ramp up activity.
“The guys physically, they’re good,” Jones said. “Cam (rookie Cameron Johnson) is different, because with mono he just needed to rest and let his immune system calm down. Kelly and Frank are kinda stuck because they can’t get on the court. But they are in good spirits, they are in good health.”
Of the injured players, both Jones and coach Williams expressed excitement over the idea that the team could return fully healthy for the first time all season. Williams especially wants more time with the Rubio-Booker-Oubre-Bridges-Ayton lineup, and to give the ball more to Booker as the primary point guard.
Neither Jones nor coach Monty Williams would comment much about how the league would operate upon a resumption of play. They don’t know if there will even be any regular season games, or if the league would go straight to a playoffs.
“I’m optimistic,” Jones said of some kind of season. “I know that Adam [Silver] and all the teams will explore every option to continue the season. We will do it the right way. We won’t forsake health and wellness. If we can play we will try to play. Everyones on board with doing what’s best for the game. The right situation for our league and for society.”