BENDIGO Spirit coach Tracy York is expecting the 2020-21 WNBL season to be a greater challenge than usual for coaches, as basketball deals with the threat of COVID-19.
The league, together with the Australian Basketball Players Association, this week agreed to postpone the start of the free agency period due to the uncertainties of the coronavirus.
Free agency was originally scheduled to tip-off on Wednesday.
The WNBL says it will continue to consult through this period, aiming to advance the interests of all clubs and players through a challenging time.
York, who has entered the second year of a two-year deal, said this week's cancellation of the NBL1 South, North and Central conference seasons, would present a unique challenge to clubs in assembling their rosters.
"With NBL1 going you get to watch players, see how they are going and how they have developed, etcetera. That's not going to be the case," she said.
"Obviously free agency has been pushed out until at least May 1 and that will delay things even further.
"Then there's the uncertainty of the whole climate, which is throwing a different spin on things.
"I guess in a couple more months it will be a bit clearer for everyone and all businesses.
"We have no way of knowing now whether we will start on time, or be delayed. It throws the recruiting out of whack.
"And we don't know if the (player) contracts and indeed the season will be the same length, we are awaiting a bit of clarity from the WNBL."
York said the cancellation of NBL1 had come as no surprise and described the decision as the sensible thing to do.
She added WNBL recruiters would likely need to think 'a little outside the square' this off-season.
With South Australian borders closed, York, who is based in Adelaide, has had to refrain from travelling back to Bendigo for meetings with Bendigo Stadium officials and players.
The Spirit have three players already contracted for the 2020-21 season - last season's MVP Carley Ernst, Demi Skinner, and Alicia Froling.
York is continuing to stay in contact with all four players as well as those who represented the Spirit last season.
"Obviously they are all understanding, but disappointed they won't be able to play (NBL1) now," she said.
"Alicia has headed back to Townsville, Demi is still in Victoria but will probably go back to Port Lincoln or Adelaide perhaps, while Carley at least is in Victoria with her husband.
"Every club is the same boat, it's not like some leagues are going ahead and some aren't.
"You just hope everyone keeps healthy and see how this crazy time pans out."
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