The NBA is slowly but surely figuring out what it would take to finish the 2019-20 season in light of the coronavirus pandemic still sweeping across the globe. On Friday, just as teams reopened their practice facilities for individual workouts, commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with players that included several critical pieces of information relating to a potential return to basketball. Among them were the following, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania:
- Fans would not be allowed to attend games.
- 40 percent of the NBA's revenue is dependent on fans being at games.
- A decision on whether or not the season returns could stretch into June.
Additionally, Silver reiterated a point that has largely been established: playing in one or two isolated locations would be safer than teams remaining in their home markets. Orlando and Las Vegas are currently at the top of the NBA's wishlist according to Charania. NBPA executive director Michele Robertson such a concept on Friday, but nothing has been decided definitively, and the league obviously would need the support of players to finish the season that way.
The hope for now, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, is that the postseason would include seven-game series in every round. Silver reportedly stressed that limiting travel would allow those series to move faster. Whether or not that is possible depends on how quickly the NBA is able to pick back up and how far back it is willing to push the beginning of next season. Were the season to resume, Silver mentioned three weeks as the minimum length for a potential training camp, according to Wojnarowski.
On the financial front, Silver stressed that the NBA's collective bargaining agreement "wasn't built for an extended pandemic," according to Wojnarowski. He also said that he believes that all 30 team owners want the season finished despite the potential financial downside to doing so.
Another topic touched on was the idea of working out at newly reopened practice facilities. Some players who have left their home markets have expressed uneasiness about traveling back commercially, Wojnarowski reports, but the NBA has decided against allowing teams to use private jets to bring them back for a number of reasons, including competitive balance. That decision could be reevaluated in the future though, according to Wojnarowski.
In addition, union president Chris Paul has expressed concerns about teams pressuring players to return in order to work out at team facilities, but Silver stressed that any workouts there are considered optional, according to Yahoo's Chris Haynes.
Nothing, at this stage, has been finalized. The league and players still need to determine what is safe and what is economically feasible. If the stars align, the season could eventually resume, but for now, all parties involved are primarily concerned with the public health crisis gripping the nation.