Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet is sceptical about the coronavirus-hit NBA season restarting amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The NBA has been suspended since March 11 due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed at least 184,200 people worldwide.
It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume as the United States struggles to contain the outbreak following more than 848,900 confirmed cases and over 47,600 deaths in the country.
The NBA, which is committed to completing the campaign, is reportedly exploring the possibility of holding the entire playoffs in one location – Las Vegas. There has been talk the league could head straight into the playoffs if the season resumes.
VanVleet, who won the championship with the Raptors last term, is braced for the season not resuming.
"I think everybody is just preparing for the worst-case scenario, the season being cancelled," VanVleet said during a conference call on Wednesday. "We have to do what we have to do to try to shoulder the hit as best we can for us as players and owners and the league, while also working to try to resume as best we can."
"I could play anywhere," VanVleet continued. "Do I want to play in front of no people? No, but does it really matter? At this point, I don't think anybody is going to have a quarrel with what happens, as long as people's health is first and foremost, which we know it probably won't be."
"If our league is going to be a leader in terms of public health and public safety and player safety, you've got to follow the guidelines of what the virus is speaking to you, so the odds are probably against us in terms of that," VanVleet added. "But money, right? So, I think they'll find a way somehow, some way and try to make it happen. I could definitely see it going either way. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't come back and I wouldn't be surprised if we do come back."
VanVleet was set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the 26-year-old guard added: "I think the league and the union will try to do a good job to make sure that the free agents this summer get a fair shake and there's fair negotiating. Obviously, we'll probably all take a hit at some point, and hopefully the hit is just kind of minimised to this year.
"I think people's health and wellbeing, and frame of mind, is a lot more important than a couple of million here or there, because we're filthy rich compared to what we came from in the first place. So I don't think anybody's crying over it."
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