With the NBA season on hold, it has left many thinking of the what ifs, including Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley.
The stoppage of the season back on March 11 was especially painful for the Lakers, who led the Western Conference with a 49-14 record and were a top title contender. The Lakers top competition in the West happened to share a building with them in the Los Angeles Clippers.
But with the changes due to coronavirus, which could include a different playoff format and a neutral site, a “Battle for L.A.” will not be in the cards this year.
While reflecting on what could have been a Western Conference Finals classic at Staples Center, Lakers veteran Jared Dudley had some shade for the Clippers.
“I look at it like, they’re in our way,” Rivers told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “I don’t look at it as the Battle of L.A., because we don’t get a trophy if we beat the Lakers. We need to go through the Lakers to get to the trophy, to have a chance to play for the trophy. That’s what it is for me. They’re in our way. For us to get to where we want to get to, we have to go through them, and probably the same way for them – they have to go through us. As a group, we’re good with that, and I think they’re good with that. And I think that sets up for a pretty good battle. The problem is, we’re in the West, and we have to get through a lot of good teams just to get to them.”
The battle within Staples Center might soon be a thing of the past, although the two teams will still be in close proximity. Clippers owner Steve Balmer recently purchased The Forum in Inglewood, clearing a path for his team to have their own arena.
NBA Eyeing Disney Complex to Finish Season
If the NBA season does restart, it will probably happen far from Los Angeles. The league is in talks to resume the season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told ESPN.
“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” Bass said. “Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.”
The games will likely happen with no fans in the stands, something Lakers star LeBron James has been critical of.
“So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I’m not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it’s get out there and get back on the floor 5-on-5 … but like, we can do that in scrimmages,” James said on the Road Trippin’ Podcast hosted by former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye. “Let’s just go to each other’s practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. … I just don’t know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It’s just, it’s a weird dynamic.”