I had put 5%-10% odds on NBA suspending games

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Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, speaks at the WSJTECH live conference in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2019.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Thursday he didn’t think the NBA would suspend the season due to the coronavirus. 

“This is new territory for all of us,” Cuban said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” 

Cuban said he addressed his team Wednesday before the NBA’s announcement to pause its season indefinitely. The league took the action after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. 

Cuban said he told the team he thought there was a 5% or 10% chance at the most that play would be suspended. 

“I didn’t think it was a likely outcome,” he said. 

When Cuban heard the announcement, he said, “I obviously was stunned.”

Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur, said the Mavericks were mindful of the hourly employees who will be unable to work at the team’s games.

“Just having some brief conversations yesterday with some of the hour-to-hour folks last night, they were obviously concerned,” he said. “So we’ll put together a program for them.”

Cuban and the Mavericks heard about the NBA’s decision to suspend the season while in the third quarter of their home game against the Denver Nuggets.

That ended up being the last game completed in the league Wednesday night.

The NBA said the test result on the Utah player was reported shortly before the scheduled tipoff of the Jazz-Thunder game in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. It was called off.

Players were on the floor for warmups and tipoff was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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