Earlier this year
It seems like Omicron will peak towards the end of January in the cities / states where it infiltrated first (eg. NSW).
With that in mind, at what point does the NBL need to make a decision to move to bubble or hub scenario to at least get the season started and avoid further disruption? There's of course a business factor at stake which none of us are privy too (ticket sales, ESPN contract, etc), but the NBL doesn’t have the legs to continue the season like the NBA because you cannot call up players like the NBA (albeit that’s not great either) to continue games.
In my opinion NBL should:
1. Move to a hub (Perth is obvious) to allow players freedom of movement and fan attendance.
2. Move to a bubble (city wouldn’t matter) like NBA’s Orlando scenario, if above isn’t feasible. This would imply minimal player freedoms with the outside world, but ensure games will run and no 'home court advantage’ for any team.
NBL should just accept the realities, and consider a slick Orlando Bubble style environment maximized for television coverage. Even Perth’s Coach Morrison who was in Orlando’s bubble, has expressed the advantages of that environment. NBL already has the experience with the Cairns pop-up arena construction so modifying the internals of an existing (boutique) stadium for the above should be straightforward and "fun".
I don’t envy their predicament, but feel for all involved (players, coaches, families, etc). The show must go on, but in a safe well-thought out manner. The hub/bubble blueprint is there so time to make that an awesome product and get going! (I’ll even sign up to Kayo/ESPN if it happens)
(Before anyone suggests, I’m all for health and safety first, pro-vaccination, etc. etc.)