It has all been a matter of when not if for the NBA season to resume. It may move straight to the playoffs, or include some level of "warm up" games but it is coming, right?
Let's go very basic on this for a minute. Assume the money, the logistics, the schedule - it is all worked out and the NBA returns.
The fans, players, owners all rejoice as money and entertainment prosper! But 3 games into the playoffs LeBron tests positive, what then? Simply remove the King and keep on playing? Maybe. Assume no one else tests positive on the Lakers, but Morant does as the (1)Lakers and (8)Grizzlies are matched up.
George, Westbrook, Paul, Jokic and Doncic all test positive during the first round. Yes, I am painting an extreme scenario, but if any number of the biggest players were to test positive for COVID-19 it would immediately delegitimize the playoffs. And if one player tests positive, experience says at least a few more will also. How many players, stars or otherwise can be removed before the games simply cannot be played?
So while it is wonderful to speculate and hope for a return to normalcy through basketball, until a vaccine becomes available - it will be hard to see how the NBA returns without stalling. And maybe that is what we are all collectively doing, engaging in optimism over our sports while that pit in our stomach keeps growing.
I'll be the first in line.. or in front of my TV on the couch socially distanced, to watch and celebrate whatever form sports return in - but I cannot say I will be holding my breath anytime soon.