NBA

Coronavirus: LeBron James adamant NBA season should continue

By Sports Desk April 30, 2020

LeBron James does not buy into the rumours that the NBA may be forced to cancel its 2019-20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The NBA was suspended indefinitely in March and in a post on Twitter on Thursday Los Angeles Lakers superstar James appeared to rebuke a CNBC story.

The report cited concerns from anonymous agents and team executives about the financial viability of a return this season, especially without fans in arenas.  

James posted: "Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That's absolutely not true. Nobody I know [is] saying anything like that.

"As soon as it's safe we would like to finish our season. I'm ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be cancelling anything."

Speculation about the possible completion of the NBA season has been inconclusive, even seven weeks after the league went on indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week that his team, out of playoff contention, is assuming the regular season is over.  

The league office has yet to make any such declarations, however, and an NBA spokesperson confirmed seeing out the campaign remains on the agenda.

"While our top priority remains everyone's health and well-being, we continue to evaluate all options to finish this season," they said. "At the same time, we are intensely focused on addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 on the 2020-21 season."

James' Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference at 49-14 when the NBA was suspended.

Four-time MVP James, 35, is looking for his fourth championship.  

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    Lue will lead the Clippers in 2020-21 after replacing Doc Rivers following the team's stunning Western Conference semi-final exit in the NBA playoffs.

    The Clippers were one of the favourites to claim their maiden title following the arrivals of Leonard and George but squandered a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    After going all-in to build a super team to outshine LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers – who reigned supreme in the Orlando bubble – pressure will again be on the Clippers to deliver a championship as time runs out.

    "Any time you have a chance to win a championship, it's pressure," Lue told ESPN's 'The Jump' in an interview to be aired Thursday.

    "And, I think Kawhi, PG are here to stay for a long time. We just gotta make it a great environment and we have to win."

    Lue fronted the media for the first time since being appointed, stepping up to fill Rivers' void having served as an assistant for the Clippers in 2019-20.

    The 43-year-old Lue guided the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first championship in 2016 – a team headline by James.

    There were high hopes for the Clippers, boasting two-time champion Leonard, six-time All-Star George, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams but team chemistry and leadership derailed the Los Angeles franchise last term.

    The 2019-20 campaign was the ninth consecutive season the Clippers finished with a winning record (49-23) but failed to reach the Conference finals – the longest streak of its kind in NBA history, per Stats Perform.

    "I think when you talk about chemistry and continuity, it is not off the court, the guys not liking each other," Lue told reporters on Wednesday.

    "When you talk about chemistry, it is more so [George] came in and he had shoulder surgery, so he was out, he missed the whole training camp and was out the first 11 games of the season. Kawhi came in and couldn't participate in the whole training camp, and then we lost Pat Beverley, in and out of the lin-up a few times."

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    Lue served as an assistant for the Clippers in the previous season but steps up to the top job following the departure of Doc Rivers. 

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    "We have work to do to become champions, but we have the motivation, the tools, and the support to get there. I'm excited to get started." 

    Lue becomes the Clippers' 26th head coach. Terms of his deal were not released, as per team policy.

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