For the time being, the NBA is expecting between about five and 10 teams to have fans in their arenas (at partial capacity) to start the 2020/21 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
The league has expressed a hope that teams will be able to have some amount of fans attend games this season despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and has sent teams a list of health and safety protocols that will apply to each home arena.
However, clubs’ decisions will be dictated in large part by local government officials. In areas where large-scale gatherings aren’t permitted, it seems safe to assume that teams will open the season playing in front of empty arenas.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world as we gear up for a wild week:
- There’s growing pessimism around the NBA that the age limit for draft-eligible players will be eliminated in time for the 2022 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). There’s still an expectation that the one-and-done rule – which prevents players from entering the draft right out of high school – will be adjusted at some point, but the target date for that rule change continues to be pushed back.
- The NCAA announced this week that it plans to have its March Madness tournament for 2021 take place in a single location, likely in Indianapolis. The event had originally been scheduled for 13 separate sites, but the NCAA has decided a single site makes more sense for safety reasons related to COVID-19.
- Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has joined the ownership group assuming control of the New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s National Basketball League, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press. “I was always interested in being part of team ownership, having input with a team and helping a team be successful on the business side of things,” Oladipo said. “To work with a team from this perspective, I’m sure I’ll have newfound respect for the guys who have been in that position.”