NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that the focus is on restarting the season but that “there will be a series of bad options” in deciding how that will be done, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Silver had a conference call Friday with National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, NBPA president Chris Paul and players to discuss the league’s ongoing strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Silver doesn’t have to make a decision on whether to resume the season until some point in June, sources said, but the commissioner said there would likely be no fans present for games and that many cities have contacted him about hosting the resumed season.
The NBA would be facing a tremendous economic blow because Silver said attendance makes up 40 percent of the league’s revenue.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently stated that he doesn’t see fans going back to live sporting events until a vaccine is readily available to the public. Silver said he found those remarks disheartening, sources said, because a vaccine is likely more than a year away from production.
Silver said it’s less risky to restart the season in a single location or perhaps two, sources said, and that he’s not ruling out Toronto as a possible site, although the preference is to keep the games in the U.S. Silver also said Orlando and Las Vegas are options if the season were to continue, with each respectively serving as Eastern and Western Conference sites, sources said.
Silver said the goal is to play full seven-game series in the playoffs. He said tough decisions will need to be made because teams on the postseason bubble might not get a chance to clinch a spot if the league’s hiatus continues much longer.
The NBA season was suspended March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Silver said Friday that Gobert wasn’t the first NBA player to be tested for the coronavirus, but that he was the first to test positive, sources said.
Paul expressed concern on behalf of players that some organizations could be pressuring players to work out at team facilities, sources said. Silver reiterated that it’s optional and advised Paul to follow up with the league if that conduct persists.
Should the season get the green light to return, Silver said he believes three to six weeks of training camp would be required before returning to competition.
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