National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver has laid out a series of options to players about a possible restart of the 2019-20 season amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Silver explained the league’s strategy to the National Basketball Players Association in an hour-long call on May 8, which featured NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and its president Chris Paul, as well as numerous players.
The NBA remains indefinitely suspended due to the ongoing health crisis and has been exploring multiple ways of resuming action for a number of weeks.
According to ESPN, Silver said he would be willing to wait until June to decide if and when the season could resume. He added that it would be safer and more practical to play in one or two neutral venues, including Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada, without spectators.
“There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” Silver said. “We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start.”
Silver also said that some form of play-in tournament may be required to determine the playoff teams and that his desire for the postseason was still a traditional best-of-seven series.
A minimum three-week training camp was being discussed to resume the season, Silver said. He added that he hoped that a positive Covid-19 test by a player would not require shutting down the season again, after it happened in March. According to the report, the NBA would want 15,000 tests to resume and complete its season.
Silver added that the start of the 2020-21 season could be pushed back until December and that there were no guarantees when fans would be able to return to venues next campaign.
The commissioner also revealed that 40 per cent of the league’s revenues comes from gameday income. The financial impact of these issues going forward, Silver said, would need to be collectively bargained with the NBPA as player salaries may be further impacted. The players have already agreed to take pay cuts.
NBA players have started to resume voluntary individual training at team facilities, where allowed by local health authorities. According to the report, Roberts and Paul asked Silver to remind teams they were not allowed to pressure players into taking part in these voluntary sessions.
The NBA has indefinitely postponed the 2020 Draft Lottery and Draft Combine, which were scheduled to take place in Chicago later this month. The NBA Draft – which is scheduled for June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn – is likely to also be postponed.