On Friday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hosted a conference call to further explain the future and safety of the league during the Coronavirus pandemic. Others on the call included both executive director Michele Roberts and NBPA president Chris Paul.
Silver explained the difficulty of re-opening without fans, stating that roughly 40% of revenue comes from nightly events. When asked about the eventual return of the NBA, the commissioner noted that a decision was not required to be made during the month of May, and perhaps not during the early stages of June either.
“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.”
The NBA’s intention is to complete the current season with a normal playoff structure. However, the possibility of in-season tournaments is on the table if the current season is to be shortened. In April, several basketball stars competed in a virtual game of “HORSE”, which left most fans unsatisfied.
If the current season were to resume, the expectation is that a version of training camp for teams would be permitted. According to Silver, that duration could last roughly three weeks.
In terms of testing players and teams, Silver expects for a minimum of 15,000 tests to be administered in order to complete the end of the current season. In the case a player tests positive for the Coronavirus, the hope is that the player can be removed safely without shutting down the league or individual team.
“Until there’s a vaccine, or some cocktail preventing people from dying from the virus, we are going to be dealing with this collectively,” Silver told the players. “The ultimate issue is how much risk we’re all comfortable taking.”
With sporting events such as Korean Baseball and the UFC resuming its respective events without fans, will the NBA be the next to conform?