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."

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Tiafoe contracts COVID-19, withdraws from Atlanta exhibition Coronavirus: Tiafoe contracts COVID-19, withdraws from Atlanta exhibition

    Frances Tiafoe has withdrawn from the All-American Team Cup exhibition event in Atlanta after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Tiafoe announced he had contracted COVID-19 on Saturday, having played in Friday's opening session, beating Sam Querrey in straight sets.

    The 22-year-old American and world number 81 has been replaced by Christopher Eubanks.

    "Unfortunately, I tested positive late Friday for Covid-19 and have to withdraw from the All-American Team Cup special event in Atlanta this weekend," Tiafoe wrote via Twitter.

    "Over the past two months, I have been training in Florida and tested negative there as recently as a week ago.

    "I am scheduled to have a second test early next week, but have already begun the quarantine protocol as advised by the medical staff here in Atlanta.

    "While I've been so excited to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone continues to be a top priority."

    The tournament said in a statement: "Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus. Like all the players, Tiafoe was tested prior to or upon arrival in Atlanta and has passed daily temperature tests.

    "Following his match, he was showing symptoms and was retested and tested positive. Tiafoe has left the event site and will not participate in the remainder of the event. Upon learning this information, we immediately began deep cleaning and sanitising the event site, and enacted protocols in place for contact tracing and alerting individuals who may have been exposed.

    "The health and safety of our event participants, staff and attendees are a top priority, and we will continue to diligently enforce all guidelines from local health officials."

    The ATP Tour season is scheduled to restart in August, having been suspended in March due to COVID-19.

  • Coronavirus: Raptors ready to defend NBA title – Ibaka Coronavirus: Raptors ready to defend NBA title – Ibaka

    Serge Ibaka warned the Toronto Raptors are "locked in" and ready to defend their NBA title following the coronavirus-enforced break.

    The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

    Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

    Defending champions the Raptors – second in the Eastern Conference and trailing the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) with a 46-18 record – will restart their season against the Lakers on August 1.

    Raptors star Ibaka said his team-mates are ready to return, telling reporters via a conference call on Saturday: "I saw just how everyone is in great shape. 

    "They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work.

    "I've been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people's locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not.

    "So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready."

    Ibaka, who helped the Raptors win their first championship last season, added: "It's been a little bit weird [this season] with everything that's going on. But one thing we know is that it's over.

    "Whatever happened last season is over, and we've got to try to put our mindset so that it's ready to go for this one.

    "We know it's going to be hard, it's going to be a challenge, and everyone is going to come for us because we are the champs, so we have to be ready."

    Meanwhile, the 30-year-old center admitted he is worried about the rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida.

    "Honestly it's really concerning," he said. "Hopefully everybody has to follow the rules, every player, when we get in the bubble in Orlando, we can respect all the notes that they're going to give us.

    "But I have my daughter who lives here in Orlando, and it's kind of scary a little bit. It's something where you have to make sure you look at it."

  • Coronavirus: Yankees pair LeMahieu and Cessa test positive for COVID-19 Coronavirus: Yankees pair LeMahieu and Cessa test positive for COVID-19

    New York Yankees All-Star infielder DJ LeMahieu and pitcher Luis Cessa tested positive for coronavirus, manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday. 

    LeMahieu and Cessa contracted COVID-19 before arriving in New York for preseason camp, with the MLB campaign scheduled to begin on July 23.

    Boone said LeMahieu was asymptomatic and Cessa was experiencing mild symptoms. Both players gave the team permission to release their results. 

    LeMahieu and Cessa are under quarantine for a two-week period and will have to exhibit no symptoms and test negative twice for the virus before being cleared to play as teams prepare for a 60-game regular season.

    Yankees star LeMahieu finished fourth in the American League MVP voting last season after hitting .327 with 26 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Yankees to the AL East title.

    Cessa went 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA and one save in 43 appearances in 2019.  

    Meanwhile, the Yankees announced pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has been released from hospital after he was struck on the head with a line drive during Saturday's batting practice.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.