Now that the Lakers reigned supreme in the interrupted 2019- 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA), it is back to the drawing board for the Commissioner’s office. A lot of factors have to be considered in opening the new season. Salary cap concerns will obviously be a point to consider as the NBA lost some revenue after cutting down on regular season games, lost sponsorship, and lost fan base when they re- opened at the bubble in Orlando. Other things to ponder are when the next rookie draft will be held, when free agency signings start and when to launch training camp. The ultimate concern that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver needs to resolve is how and when to open the new season.
With vaccines still in the works and timelines of a release to the general population still up in the air, it would be difficult to assess when the NBA would resume the 2020- 2021 season. The rookie draft and free agent signings may occur in November and training camp may open in December but the question remains if the NBA would continue a bubble like set up or do they start opening the gates to fans in regular team venues.
This is a very hard decision to think through and I am sure the next few weeks will be filled with meetings of staff, consultations, and analysis on what best solution(s) to arrive at for next season.
I believe that the NBA, with strict guideline reinforcements, should start next season with at least 33% stadium capacity. This will allow proper distancing in the venue that would somehow allow the game to come back to a new normal. The Association will continue to see revenue erosion from gate receipts but unless a vaccine is found, it’s either open the gates partially or not. If they decide to go to the bubble route again, that’s roughly 50% of the revenue for next season that would go down the drain.
I believe that in a financial standpoint, partial opening will help infuse revenue via ticket sales and would help drive more sponsors and prime up TV deals to help the NBA. It is a gamble but for as long as strict protocols are implemented, I believe the league should be fine. Their bubble in Orlando yielded 0 positive cases so I strongly believe in the NBA leadership to partially open next season.
NBA Coaching Changes
And it’s now Tyrone Lue who will lead the charge in the Los Angeles Clippers locker room. Lue is set to be the team’s new head coach taking the place of Doc Rivers who has taken his talents over to Philadelphia.
I believe Coach Lue is a good fit to the Clippers in that he is used to handling superstars with his championship experience with the Lebron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. Ty Lue is expected to utilize Kawhi Leonard the right way and is also bound to make some tweaks in their offensive patterns. The Clippers defense need not have any major tinkering needed. They already are a force to reckon with on that side of the court.
If the Clippers want to move up to the next level though, it takes more than just a head coach change. I believe they are one more piece away from finally barging into the championship rounds. Let’s see how team executives act in free agency this summer to boost the Clippers chances next season.
Going back to Doc Rivers moving to Philly, I think this is a very good move made by General Manager Elton Brand. Doc has experience in handling the development of big men, in particular, the likes of DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell.
This skill will benefit All Star Joel Embiid. I expect Doc to continue building around Embiid and maximize Ben Simmons as a power forward. Al Horford may look like an odd man out on this roster specially since Embiid would demand the ball most of the time when he’s inside. Look for the Sixers to perhaps consider a trade. Horford for a valuable wing man. I am sure Doc will urge management to do so to maximise the talents of his two young stars.
In another development, the young and promising New Orleans (NOLA) Pelicans turned to a veteran coach to run the plays for them in Stan Van Gundy. Prior to joining NOLA, Van Gundy was head coach of the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. He was able to reach the NBA finals with Orlando in 2009 when the team was led by Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. In Detroit, he once led them to a playoff appearance but injuries to key stars caused the team to move to a different coaching direction after a few years with Van Gundy at the helm.
What the Pelicans will get is a seasoned coach who emphasizes on player development which is exactly what the Pelicans need. Young stars Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson will certainly benefit from the leadership Stan can provide. Veterans Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick will also thrive in a Van Gundy system. It will be an exciting new season for the Pelicans next year.
For the Brooklyn Nets, taking a chance on a rookie head coach (but 2 time NBA Most Valuable Player) in Steve Nash is quite a gamble to take. Ownership has confidence that Nash’s reputation as a player will command respect from All Stars Kevin Duran and Kyrie Irving. The problem here is that both players have accomplished more than Nash in that both have won at least an NBA championship. Will Irving or Durant give Nash full reign in Brooklyn or are we going to see locker room instability, the trademark of a Kyrie Irving led team? Your guess is as good as mine but I really am looking forward to Brooklyn being a contender in the east again.
Expect more noise to come out the next few weeks as the NBA starts planning for their next season and I am sure that the genius of Adam Silver will yet again surprise us with new offerings and things to look forward to as the NBA opens shop again for another chapter. Stay tuned everyone!
(The writer is a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry managing Philippine countryside operations)