J.B. Bickerstaff hopes, believes NBA can finish season

Cavs coach says “everybody wants to see a champion”

Daryl Ruiter
May 06, 2020 - 9:29 pm
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – It has been eight weeks since the NBA shut down after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and questions about whether the league can safely resume its season remain.

The Cavaliers were playing their best basketball, 6-6 over 12 games, when the league, and world, came to a screeching halt in mid-March.

“The league is trying to do everything they possibly can to come up with what's best for the players, what's best for the fans, as far as safety and health is concerned,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Wednesday on a Zoom video conference with reporters.

Bickerstaff, who took over after John Beilein resigned and won five of his first 11 games, is anxious to get his team back on the floor and to see the season resume should circumstances allow it to be done safely.

“Everybody wants to see a champion,” Bickerstaff said. “Nobody wants to have an empty season so to speak. So, if it's possible. Again, safety first, but if it's possible I think it's worth it.”

Although Cleveland isn’t in the playoff picture at 19-46, there is much to gain by playing the final 17 on the schedule.

“Any minute that we can get working with each other is beneficial to us,” Bickerstaff said. “We were headed in the right direction, I truly believe that. But just the opportunity to be around our guys is something that we miss, the conversations that we have, the laughs that we get. Those are things that I think are important for us as we're trying to build this thing and head toward the right direction in the future.”

As the days go by, the pessimism there will be a return to basketball seems to grow, but Bickerstaff remains optimistic.

“Maybe I'm just being optimistic here, like I feel like there's some way that we're all going to be able to come back from this, and what it looks like I have absolutely no idea,” Bickerstaff said. “There's just something part of me that just believes that there are a lot of very intelligent people who are working to get this thing done. And somehow, some way, they're going to get it done.

“I'm hopeful. But I genuinely believe that we're going to get an opportunity to play.”

There has been talk and speculation the league to finish in a quarantine environment in Las Vegas or Disney in Orlando.

It sounds simple, but there are a lot of things to consider.

“Without getting into the speculation of what it could look like, you think about how many moving parts there are in the organizations that have to get to whatever those places may be,” Bickerstaff said. “I'm not smart enough, and we've got some really really intelligent people that we've been working with from the Cleveland Clinic, and our medical staff that would put a plan in place with guidelines from the league as well.

“I think we need to be patient and just kind of wait until we get the league’s guidance and whatever the decision is made. And then from there, we put the put the plan in the hands of the professionals and let the professionals make those decisions, and we just do our part and worry about the basketball when the basketball comes.”