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Coronavirus news and updates about the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Restart Of NBA May Come Too Late For The Hornets To Play At Home

Hornets_tipoff.JPG
MICHAEL TOMSIC/FILE

If the NBA doesn’t restart its season by mid-June, the Charlotte Hornets could find themselves without their home court.

That is if the season is restarted at all. 

In an interview on April 6, Adam Silver said he won’t make a decision about the NBA restarting until at least May.

The Hornets have roughly a month’s worth of games left to play in their regular season. And by contract, the Hornets must turn over the Spectrum Center to the Republican National Convention by July 17, according to Brian Travis, director of basketball communications for the Hornets. 

That means the team needs to start playing those games by mid-June if they must complete the regular season before the convention moves in. 

Travis declined to say what the team would do if the season is restarted later than that. 

“Right now, that’s not something that we would be willing to comment on as there is continued uncertainty regarding the season,” Travis said. 

Silver suspended the season on March 11. In a letter to fans, Silver said: “We intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned.” 

The Spectrum Center is owned by the city of Charlotte and operated by the Hornets. Cory Burkarth, a spokesperson for the city, said a possible conflict between the Hornets’ resumed season and the RNC is not on the city’s radar at the moment. “Our biggest concern is on the health and safety of our residents and providing city services to our customers, continuing to pick up trash and keep water running,” Burkarth said. 

Jill Kay, the director of communications for the Charlotte 2020 Host Committee for the RNC, did not return phone calls. Convention CEO Marcia Lee Kelly told reporters Wednesday that the convention is still on even if delegates have to wear masks and social distance inside the Spectrum Center

“We are moving full steam ahead to … a historic convention,” Kelly said. 

Under the agreement with the city of Charlotte, the RNC can take control of the Spectrum Center 30 days before what it terms the “convention period,” which begins Aug. 16. The convention itself lasts four days, from Aug. 24-27. 

Burkarth said extra time is needed to set up the event.

“There’s a lot of construction work that has to take place inside the Spectrum Center,” he said. That construction includes building a new floor, platforms and structures to hold up the platform. New suites will be built for the various TV networks that will cover events inside of the arena. 

The Hornets played their last game on March 11 against the Miami Heat. Their regular season would have ended April 15.

Playoffs would have begun April 18 and lasted through June 21. The Hornets are currently ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference and would need at least a No. 8 rank to advance to the playoffs. 

The last scheduled event at the Spectrum Center before the RNC is The Weeknd’s After Hours tour on July 15.

Ariana Barnes is a Multimedia Storytelling major in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte

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