Hopes NBL could begin on time, with fans
The NBL has not ruled out starting it's 2020 season on time and in front of fans.
League commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the NBL would keep a keen eye on how winter sports like the AFL and NRL progress through the COVID-19 crisis in the hope it would pave the way for the competition to start in the first week of October.
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"The preferred option is that we play our regular season at the regular time in front of our regular crowds," Loeliger told the Herald Sun.
"The brutal honesty is it's still our preferred option, it's just probably quite unlikely, but it does remain on the table as a possibility.
"Things would need to change pretty dramatically pretty quickly, but I think the more likely scenario is that we delay the beginning of the season and hopefully play in front of fans, albeit, there being a strong possibility that it wouldn't be as many fans as normal."
Loeliger said, like most other sporting administrations, he was hoping for more certainty after the Commonwealth of Australian Governments meeting on May 11.
The NBL is modelling a number of options for the 2020-21 season, including:
■ Basing the competition at one hub without fans.
■ Delaying the season until it could be played in front of fans.
■ Concentrating the season to play the same number of games in a shorter time frame.
■ A hybrid that would begin without fans and gradually move toward a more traditional season as he COVID-19 crisis improves.
The NBL has already taken a number of cost-cutting measures, with tiered player wage reductions of up to 50 per cent and reducing roster sizes from 11 to 10 and import numbers from three to two.
A number of high profile contracted players have executed opt-out clauses, most notably Perth star Bryce Cotton and Sydney's Casper Ware and Xavier Cooks.
Loeliger said while it made sense for players to explore their options and test the market, he hadn't given up hope of many returning, with the NBL set to be one of the first professional basketball competitions in the world to return to the court.
*Melbourne United tonight announced contracted players Mitch McCarron, Shea Ili, Casey Prather and Jo Lual-Acuil Junior had all made the decision to remain contracted for the 2020-21 NBL season.
Originally published as Hopes NBL could begin on time, with fans