SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It has been almost eight weeks since the Jazz game against Oklahoma City was canceled, ultimately resulting in the entire sports world being put on hold.
Looking back on that world-changing night in Oklahoma City, Jazz Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey believes there was a silver lining to Rudy Gobert testing positive for Covid-19.
“As tough as it was for Rudy, I do,” Lindsey said in his first Zoom conference call with the media since the NBA season was suspended indefinitely. “I think it saved infection and not to be melodramatic, but I think it saved lives. I’ve been very impressed with the league especially from a health standpoint.”
So when will the NBA be able to play games again? Lindsey says the NBA Commissioner’s office is staying away from setting specific dates.
“Our return will be based upon data, not dates,” Lindsey said. “It’s overlaid simply by can we come back safely? If the health permits, then let’s try to come back. I’m all for naming a champion, even if it’s a truncated champion.”
First things first though, as the Jazz plan on opening their practice facility on a limited basis soon.
“My best guess is that it will be after May 8th,” Lindsey said. “It’s because we want to make sure the facility meets all of the league’s specifications, the local state health officials. We’re excited about the opportunities to bring our players back here safely. You will see a group of players that will be grateful to get back to work.”
As for the reported feud between Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell after both Jazz stars tested positive for the virus, Lindsey says it is all water under the bridge now.
“I think they both spoke to this,” he said. “They’re ready to put this behind them, move forward and act professionally. With that said, we’re very pleased with the collective makeup of our group, Donovan and Rudy in particular. I think at the most basic level, they know they need each other to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish, and that’s being the last team standing in the NBA.”