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NBA ‘considers staging entire playoffs in Las Vegas’

LeBron James (right) is guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game (Credit: Getty Images)

The National Basketball Association is reportedly considering staging its entire postseason in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a means to save its 2019-20 season currently on hold due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Sports Illustrated, holding the entire playoffs in the single site is emerging for the league as a leading option to save its season. The NBA, like every other major pro and college property, is on hiatus due to the public health crisis, and the league was the first major US sports entity to suspend its season indefinitely.

A final decision on how and when the league will resume is not close. But sources cited by SI said “nothing is off the table” for the NBA. Given the global spread of the virus and current travel restrictions in place in nearly every US state, a typical postseason is impossible to even contemplate, much less plan and stage.

The NBA already has an extensive history in Las Vegas and relationships with civic and business leaders there, as it is the site each year for the NBA Summer League. The league’s annual rookie showcase has grown quickly in stature as a key part of the sport’s calendar. 

The increased availability of venues and hotel rooms with Las Vegas compared to most other US cities would help enable a single-site solution such as this.

In any type of situation like this, the league would need to ensure the safety of players and the single-site option such as this would allow for easier quarantining. But like any other sports property, it also must weigh the potential optics of resuming play when the number of US cases of Covid-19 continue to soar and the country’s entire health care system is under unprecedented stress.