By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer
NBA team presidents met Thursday and emerged with belief that there are still ways to resume the season, and Dallas owner Mark Cuban also expressed optimism that the league will find a way out of the coronavirus-caused shutdown.
“Every intention is to return to play and try to create the best environment we can for the league and for the fans,” San Antonio Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said after participating in the call with top team officials. “And we’re all on board for that.”
Team presidents around the league hold regular calls, as do general managers, and those calls have continued during the league’s shutdown. Thursday’s call was not organized for any specific reason.
The NBA has been shut down since March 11 and 259 regular season games have yet to be played. It remains unclear if any of those games would be rescheduled should the league resume play, or if the NBA would opt to go directly into the postseason.
“As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season,” LeBron James of the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers tweeted Thursday. “I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.”
Cuban, speaking to CNN, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the season could resume — albeit in empty buildings.
“I don’t expect that we’ll have fans,” Cuban said.
Buford said the teams and league officials are discussing countless options, none of which have been finalized and none of which have been detailed specifically by the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league has been open to any idea thrown its way about when, where and how to resume.
“There’s committees going on from the sporting side, from the media side, from the arena operations side, from the ownership side, from team presidents … there’s so much conversation right now about how we can best engage our games and our fans,” Buford said.
Those talks are continuing, with no plans to abandon them anytime soon. Some teams could reopen their practice facilities for voluntary workouts as early as May 8.
“It is the responsibility of the league office to explore all options for a return to play this season,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “We owe that to our fans, teams, players, partners and all who love the game.”
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