The escalating COVID-19 crisis in the US could lead to teenage prodigy LaMelo Ball returning to playing with the Illawarra Hawks, if the NBA season is cancelled.
Ball has been rated as a possible NBA No.1 draft pick after playing 12 games for the Hawks, having signed with the club as part of the NBL's Next Stars program.
And whlie Ball left Wollongong prematurely because of a foot injury, he has since formed a plan to rescue the Hawks with Illawarra businessman Tory Lavalle, who backed the Wollongong Wolves to NSW National Premier League glory.
The NBL is currently working through a process of voluntary administration after taking back the licence from Simon Stratford, but it creates the extraordinary scenario where Ball could be player and owner, if the NBA is forced to abandon the season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he does not expect any decisions to be made on a resumption of the 2019-20 season until at least May.
"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said on the NBA's Twitter account.
"And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."
The NBA was the first of the major US pro leagues to shut down, on March 11, because of the COVID-19 threat, doing so after Utah centre Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus.
The league's regular season was to end April 15 and the playoffs were to begin April 18. Silver said no decision has been made about whether the regular season will resume, or if the league would move straight into play-offs, or be abandoned.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he's trying to prepare for every possibility that would allow the Raptors a chance to defend their title.
"We're ready for whatever is thrown at us," Nurse said recently during a conference call.
The NBL are under pressure to have an ownership deal finalised for the Hawks before the proposed free agency negotiation period opens on May 1.
However, it could also be further delayed depending on the COVID-19 situation in Australia.
On Tuesday, the Mercury was told by a source close to the discussions that Ball was "absolutely committed" to the plan to take over the Hawks and use his contacts in the US to make them an NBL force again. with AAP