New York Knicks pausing in asking players to return to play

The New York Knicks are in a holding pattern as they await guidance from the league on calling back players for the rest of the 2019-20 season.

As the majority of the NBA’s practice facilities have reopened for individual workouts, the New York Knicks, located in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, have been cautious in calling back players to New York to prepare for a possible resumption of the 2019-20 schedule.

According to an ESPN report, the Knicks are waiting to learn whether the NBA will require all 30 teams to return to action under a plan that has been picking up steam in recent weeks to complete the season in Orlando, Florida using the Walt Disney World resort facilities.

Does it make sense for the Knicks to return to play?

Former Knicks coach David Fizdale recently suggested that teams who are out of the playoff picture shouldn’t be forced to put their players at risk to travel and complete a token number of regular season games.

The Knicks are currently the sixth worst team in the NBA, which matters for two reasons: one, it makes it seem rather pointless to force the organization to send a group of people to a remote location to play meaningless games; and two, for draft lottery calculations, it calls into question the incentive the Knicks have to field a competitive team if winning hurts their chances of landing a higher draft pick.

The final details for resuming the season are yet to be finalized, so everything is fluid. In fact, a play-in tournament is being considered that would technically put the Knicks in the playoffs, or at least in a tournament for the right to make the traditional 16-team playoff format. However, that proposal seems unlikely to happen.

While many believe the NBA prefers to limit the number of teams who are required to return to play this season, no final decision has been made, according to ESPN.

NBA teams outside of New York are asking the league office if they can bypass having players return to their home markets before heading to Orlando, or an alternative site, to resume the season. It seems logical to reduce travel requirements as much as possible.

In closing the most recent ESPN report on the NBA’s plans to resume play, there appears to be optimism a season of some kind will happen.

“Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and NBPA elders believe Silver will green light the return to play in June — with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July, sources said.”

We will wait and see what this all means for the Knicks.