Into the Unknown
Trying to figure out what comes next.
First things first: your daily Knicks / COVID-19 update:
I reached out to the Knicks yesterday to ask specifically whether any players had tested positive for the disease. The reply I got was the same that was released publicly in response to Governor Cuomo’s order that no crowds over 500 people would be allowed until otherwise stated:
We support Governor Cuomo’s decision and starting tomorrow night, our New York venues will only host events that adhere to the Governor’s very clear parameters. This is a fluid situation and we will be back with further details when available.
So make of that what you will.
For those wondering, this doesn’t seem to be an area covered by HIPPA laws, which specifically prohibit covered entities (health care providers, although there is a longer, legalese definition) from releasing medical information. This is why we’re able to find out when a player tests positive for a banned substance.
The leaks about Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell testing positive would seem to back up the notion that, if a player were to test positive, the Knicks would be allowed to release the news.
And given the situation in Utah, there’s good reason to believe that no Knick is positive. Out of everyone on the Utah roster - players who have been in close quarters on a daily basis since the All-Star break - only two contracted the virus. That also doesn’t mean it’s not possible, as New York was one of the teams Utah faced since Gobert unknowingly became the NBA’s Patient Zero.
I reached out to some friends who did far better in law school than I, and their opinion is that while the Knicks would be under no obligation to disclose positive tests, their legal department would advise them to release that information just to be safe. Whether they would follow the advice is anyone’s guess.
In regards to the NBA season, the league’s 30-day ban seems to be something closer to a minimum, not a maximum. For context (and again, the situation here may develop quite differently from how it did in China, for better or for worse) the Chinese Basketball Association went on hiatus on February 1 and is planning on reconvening as early as April 2.
Using a similar time-frame, that would take the NBA to roughly May 11, the day after Mother’s Day. If no more regular season games were played, and it kept the same playoff schedule, that would mean the Finals would then start on June 28, and it’s easy to see an August 1 start to free agency from there. That doesn’t leave much time for a true offseason.
All of this is to say that it’s at least possible we’ve seen the last Knicks game of the season.
Would the NBA want to play a few more games just to ensure that all teams ended up having played the same number of games? In the spirit of fairness and giving all teams an equal shot to make the playoffs, this would make some sense. Right now, two teams (the Hawks and Mavs) have played 67 games, three teams (including the Knicks) have played 66, two teams (the Spurs and Lakers) have played only 63, and everyone else has played 64 or 65.
San Antonio is one of a handful of teams in contention for the 8th seed in the West, but the Grizzles have a 3.5 game lead on the nearest competitor. A 68 of 70-game season would give every team at least one game to prepare for postseason play, and if the playoff schedule were condensed, wouldn’t push things back too far.
If I had to bet, that would be my guess as to what they would do.
It would leave the Knicks in an interesting spot:
It wouldn’t be shocking in the least if several of the veterans had no interest playing in whatever games the NBA put back on the calendar, so perhaps the Knicks would have an opportunity to rack up a few more losses to “improve” their lottery standings.
Who knows. It’s one of many things we’ll have far too long to wonder about over the next several weeks and possibly months.
Lastly, regarding content: a few have reached out and asked if I would put things on pause, and the answer, of course, is no. Today’s newsletter is a bit quick and dirty, but that has more to do with my wife and daughter being home sick (not corona-related, thankfully) and my needing to play nurse.
But the show must go on, and it will. I’ll come up with interesting stuff to fill both this space and the KFS Podcast airwaves, somehow, some way. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to shoot an email to KFSMailbag@gmail.com. I’m all ears.
Stay safe out there, everyone. We’ll get through this together.