The back end of the 2019-20 NBA season, of course, was unconventional.
We’ll see a step toward normalcy in the upcoming campaign, but basketball fans will have to be patient before the league reverts back to standard procedure.
There will be no bubble for the 2020-21 season. Instead, teams will return to playing home games in their respective arenas and traveling for the other half of their regular-season slate. But as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on across the United States, these contests will not be held before max-capacity crowds.
The option of a limited number of fans, however, does appear to be on the table. In the case of the Celtics, the franchise is preparing to host a reduced crowd in Boston at some point next year. C’s co-owner Wyc Grousbeck shed light on these plans Tuesday during an appearance on “The Greg Hill Show.”
“We’re working closely, and with appreciation and respect, we’re working with the lieutenant governor and the governor’s office and the mayor and the Garden,” Grousbeck said, as transcribed by WEEI. “And just having multiple meetings and trying to keep everybody safe and trying to keep basically everybody employed as well, just to balance it all out. We’re trying to do what’s right, and do what we can. Everybody around the table is looking hard at it. It’s a scary time because of the surges.
“We all feel we’re going to be much better off in a few months, hopefully, with the vaccines, but right this minute, on December 1, we’re all still on a tightrope here. So we’re going to see how it goes. We’re planning for fans during the season. We’re hoping and planning for 25%, 50% capacity in 2021, as soon as we can. But starting off, we expect we’re just going to do a skeleton crew in there and keep it very stripped-down, keep it very minimal, and try to get the games played safely.”
As it stands, the 2021 NBA Playoffs are scheduled to be held from late May and late July. The Celtics are poised for a deep playoff run this season, and even a half-filled TD Garden could help make for a true home-court advantage.
That said, the safety of players, coaches and fans is far and away the priority, so we’ll have to wait and see when the green light is given.