The NBA isn’t close to making any decisions on a potential restart, and it isn’t setting any deadlines, commissioner Adam Silver said Friday.
The league has been shut down since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11.
Silver addressed the league’s state amid the coronavirus pandemic in a Friday conference call with media members, but he offered no firm answers regarding the future.
“Based on the reports that we got from varied outside officials, current public health officials … we are not in a position to make any decisions, and it’s unclear when we will be,” he said.
Regarding what could prompt a decision on a potential resumption of NBA action, Silver said, “I think we’re looking for the number of new infections to come down. We’re looking for the availability of testing on a large scale. We’re looking at the path that we’re on for potentially a vaccine. We’re looking at antivirals.
“On top of that, we’re paying close attention to what the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is telling us on a federal level and what these various state rules are that are in place.
“There’s a lot of data that all has to be melded together to help make these decisions, but that’s part of the uncertainty. I think we’re not even at the point where we can say, ‘If only A, B, and C were met, then there’s a clear path.’ I think there’s still too much uncertainty at this point to say precisely how we move forward.”
Silver confirmed recent media reports that the NBA has considered the possibility of teams being quarantined and playing games in empty arenas.
“We are looking at all those things right now,” he said. “I’d say that in terms of bubble-like concepts, many of them have been proposed to us and we’ve only listened. We are not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment because I can’t answer what precisely would we need to see in order to feel that that environment provided the needed health and safety for our players and everyone involved.
“I know it’s frustrating — it is for me and everyone involved that I am not in position to be able to answer the question. … There is still enormous uncertainty around the virus as well.”
Silver also said the league could consider adjusting its regular-season or playoff format depending on when play can resume.
“The direction that the league office has received from our teams is, again, all rules are off at this point given the situation we find ourselves in, that the country is in,” Silver said. “If there is an opportunity to resume play, even if it looks different than what we’ve done historically, we should be modeling it.”
Silver quoted Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, who recently spoke to the NBA’s owners, as saying, “From his standpoint, it’s about the data and not the date.”
—Field Level Media