Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Suggests Fans Could Be 'Quarantined Together' Inside NBA Arenas When Season Resumes

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested spectators "can be quarantined together" at NBA arenas once health officials allow the 30 franchises to reopen the doors to their fans and that professional basketball was not far from returning.

The NBA season has been suspended since March 11, when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for COVID-19.

With an increasing number of states slowly reopening, however, the league is ramping up plans to resume operations. It is widely accepted that when the NBA returns it will do so behind closed doors, with games likely to be played at a few select arenas across the country.

Once fans are allowed back into the venues, social distancing measures are likely to be in place, but Cuban believes that will not necessarily prevent fans from sitting together.

"We don't even have to do every other seat," he told FOX News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday night. "When we get to where we are able to have fans we can quarantine group people together."

NASCAR recently resumed its season behind closed doors with the PGA Tour to follow on June 8. Cuban was optimistic basketball would be next in line.

"We're getting to that point, Sean, where we're going to be able to do some testing and hopefully be able to play games," he told Hannity. "I don't think we are ready for fans yet but let us take that first step."

Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated he was increasingly optimistic the regular season may resume at some point in the summer and that a final decision would be made within the next month.

Silver also confirmed the NBA was considering using specific hubs to keep players isolated and limit travel as much as possible and singled out Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as two locations the league may use.

On Wednesday, the latter of the two locations emerged as the clear favorite, according to a report from The Athletic. While playing in Orlando is by no means a done deal, Walt Disney World is now "the clear front-runner" to be the location selected to host NBA games when the league returns.

While Cuban did not comment on the possibility of playing games in Vegas or Orlando, he suggested playing games outdoors could be an option the league may consider.

"We've played games outside before so you are in the right direction, it is obviously a lot safer to do it outside," he added.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Timberwolves will reopen their training facility, joining other 14 teams—including both Los Angeles franchises, the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets—that have already taken the step.

The Mavericks facility, meanwhile, remains closed and Cuban said last week the franchise will only reopen the doors to its players and staff once both can be tested as frequently as White House personnel.

Dallas could soon be allowed to recall star point guard Luka Doncic back to the U.S., after the Slovenian returned to Europe—against the NBA's recommendations—shortly after the season was suspended.

According to ESPN, NBA teams are expecting the league to issue official guidelines on allowing franchises to recall players who have left their states and on expanding individual workouts that have got underway last week.

Both set of guidelines are expected to be issued on June 1.

As of Thursday morning, over 1.55 million cases of coronavirus have been reported nationwide, by far the highest tally of any country in the world.

Over 93,400 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. and over 294,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources.

More than 328,000 people have died globally since the outbreak of coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There have been over five million confirmed cases globally.

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 20, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell Leff/Getty