The NBA still doesn’t know when or whether its season will resume, nor does the league know when it will be able to make those decisions, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a conference call with reporters Friday.
Silver made his comments after the league’s virtual Board of Governors meeting, at which owners heard from Columbia’s Dr. David Ho, longtime NBA consultant on medical issues.
The bottom line: There still isn’t enough information for the NBA to make any determinations on playing basketball again, after play was stopped March 12.
“Based on reports we’ve gotten from various outside officials, current public health officials, we are not in a position to make any decision and it’s unclear when we will be,” Silver said.
Silver announced that the league and NBA Players’ Association had agreed that the players would take a 25% pay cut beginning with their May 15 checks, as part of the “force majeure” clause on the league’s collective bargaining agreement. That clause allows the league to reduce player compensation in the event of emergencies, such as a pandemic. Silver also said more NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus than has been reported in the media, but the league and teams have stopped releasing that information out of privacy concerns.
Silver emphasized that all options for resuming play are on the table. The league could still resume the postponed regular season, jump straight into the playoffs or move on from this season in hopes of starting next season on time. Silver also said next season could be delayed in order to accommodate a finish to this season.
“We’re just not ready to set a date yet in terms of how long we can wait … to continue the season,” Silver said. “We just need more information.”
Silver said the United States would have to have widespread, readily available coronavirus testing and the number of new infections would have to slow before the league would think about resuming play.
There have been reports that the league might consider a “bubble” site where it could quarantine players and teams to resume the season, perhaps in Las Vegas. Silver said the league has just “listened” to such proposals and is not actively engaged in preparations to do that.
Silver said the owners on the call have a sense of “civic duty” to resume the season and do their part in reigniting the economy. He mentioned league revenue has fallen to “near zero” during the postponement of play. But player safety and health would not be compromised, Silver said.
“We’re not at a point where we have a clear protocol and a clear path forward to where we can sit down with the players and say this is how we can resume the season,” he said.