Blazers' Olshey: 'Health and safety of fans, players, and staff is of the utmost importance'
The Trail Blazers' season is suspended — and perhaps gone.
That's the sad truth following the NBA's decision Wednesday night to halt play until "further notice" due to the coronavirus.
Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, prompting the league's mandate that the schedule be suspended indefinitely.
The Jazz were in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night to face the Thunder, and starting lineups had been announced when a call from the league office prompted officials to not play the game.
Reports were that Gobert is in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City.
The Blazers were scheduled to play host to Memphis on Thursday night at Moda Center, the third of six straight games in a homestand. Portland (29-37), New Orleans (28-36) and San Antonio (28-36) are all 3 1/2 games behind Memphis (32-33) in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Teams reportedly will be permitted to practice until the league decides if and when a return to action is warranted.
"We fully support the NBA's decision to suspend game play until further notice," said Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations for the Blazers. "The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance."
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called the situation "surreal" after getting the news, and it is.
The work stoppage won't affect just the league's coaches, players and club employees.
It leaves all the contract employees who work the arenas — ticket sellers, parking lot attendants, bartenders, concessionaires, ushers, security people — out of a job.
It removes from NBA fans the opportunity to watch games, either in person or via television.
It sends the sports media on to something else to cover — assuming everything else doesn't close down, too.
We must have faith in our nation's health officials to do the right thing.
Surely, they're doing what it's the best interest of citizens in wake of a pandemic.
But figuratively, it hurts.
A lot of us are going to miss the game. That pain is real.
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