The NBA's board of governors met on Friday to discuss the fallout of COVID-19 and how the league might approach a potential resumption of the season, but in a conference call with media that followed, commissioner Adam Silver offered no firm plans or decisions. The priority, as first reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, is the safety of players and staff, and so long as the league's ability to play games safely is in doubt, Silver made it clear that doing so will not be possible. "We are not in any position to make any decisions and it's unclear when we will be," the commissioner said.
At the moment, the league still appears to be open to just about anything. One notable concept that has gained steam has been the idea of a bubble city, which would house the entire league in an isolated environment while the season concluded. Locations as varied as Atlantic City and Disney World have been proposed as possible venues. Silver says that "many of them have proposed to us, and we've only listened. We're not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment because I can't answer the question of what would we need to see in terms of health and safety of everyone involved."
No timeline is in place at the moment, and the NBA will consider an adjusted schedule. That includes potentially finishing the regular season, which, under the league's original schedule, would have concluded on Wednesday, or potentially pushing next season back to accommodate a delayed 2020 postseason. "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 said.
While nothing is set in stone yet, common sense would dictate that widespread testing would need to be available in order for the season to resume. Cases nationwide would need to continue dropping as well, and that includes cases among NBA players. Silver also revealed on Friday's call that more than seven players have tested positive for COVID-19, but the league will not release individual test results.
While figuring out how to eventually restart the season is critical, the league also needed to sort out its immediate finances. According to Silver, "revenue, in essence, has dropped to zero." Earlier Friday, the league reached an agreement with the players association to withhold 25 percent of player salaries starting on May 15. More measures will likely follow, as the league still needs to figure out how to calculate a salary cap for the next several seasons in an uncertain financial environment.
The message from Silver was, essentially, that the NBA doesn't yet know what can be done to salvage this season or even the ones to follow. The league is still sorting through possibilities and monitoring the nationwide battle with COVID-19, and will only be able to form a complete plan to bring back basketball when it is fully safe to do so. For the time being, it appears as if the NBA still has a ways to go before returning.