Coronavirus: Rockets owner Fertitta tells Trump NBA will try to play again

By Sports Desk May 18, 2020

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta believes the NBA season will be completed following the coronavirus crisis.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume as NBA commissioner Adam Silver considers various options.

Fertitta met with United States president Donald Trump at the White House on Monday and when asked what would happen with basketball, the former said: "I think what they're doing is waiting to see what happens in certain states and if we're going to be able to play.

"Making sure the virus continues to go in the right direction in the next few weeks. And I think that if things are going in the way that it's going, I think the NBA, the commissioner Adam Silver, who has done an unbelievable job through this, and the 30 owners will make the decision to try to start the season up again."

After being asked by Trump if the season would be finished or not, Fertitta replied: "I think that there's talk about finishing the season playing X number of games.

"The players need to play to get paid, and right now they're taking a 25 per cent pay cut. They own 50 per cent of our revenue, unlike the other sports. And so they want that revenue, even if it's not the people-in-the-stands revenue, so they can get paid."

There has been talk that the NBA could head straight into the playoffs if the season resumes.

"I think that we would play some games just to get it going again and create interest and then go right into the playoffs," Fertitta said. "But I think it'll be great for America. We're all missing sports and everybody wants to see these great NBA teams."

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