Suns’ GM James Jones optimistic about NBA finishing regular season

Mar 13, 2020, 10:00 AM | Updated: 2:55 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The suspension of NBA games due to the coronavirus outbreak has many people wondering when, or if, play will resume.

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones is optimistic that it’s merely a matter of “when.”

“I do, I do,” Jones told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf when asked if he expects to play more regular season games this year. “I think the beauty of our game is that it’s very fluid. As long as you have scheduling availability, we can play in the morning, we can play at night, we can play in multiple venues, our venues, it doesn’t really matter. I think the game can go on.

“We expect to play our regular season because that’s what our players want and that’s what the league is looking for.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the suspension will last at least 30 days. That would mean play could resume on April 11 at the earliest. The Suns only have three more games at that point, including a home game on the night of the April 11, but it’s quite possible that the league elects to push back the missed games instead of picking up the schedule as it remains.

In a scenario where the league reschedules games, Talking Stick Resort Arena has non-NBA events scheduled on April 12, 18, 21 and 26. That, combined with the events in other arenas, travel logistics and the need for sufficient rest and practice between games all would dictate the league’s ability to appropriately schedule games.

That isn’t to say that pausing the games wasn’t the right decision.

“Regardless of who you are or where you are, people are impacted by this in serious ways,” Jones said. “It’s costing people their health. And to just be a part of a league, as I said earlier with Adam, who took the position that our players, our communities, our fans, our families are more important than just a game, I thought it was important that we took a second just to pause and reflect on just the severity of the situation.”

Phoenix is 26-39 at the time of the league suspension. That’s 13 games below .500, 13th place in the Western Conference with 17 games to go. But already, 26 wins is an improvement on a 19-win, last-place season in 2018-19.

“Of course it’s a success,” Jones said of the Suns’ season. “We improved our win total. I think if you look at our guys who returned, they all got better. Regardless of the final record, there are some positives to take from this season. But once the season’s over, we’ll evaluate it and we’ll look at it. But I’m still hopeful that once we start playing games again, we can continue some of the momentum we built when we were healthy.”

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