NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league’s coronavirus-related hiatus will last at least 30 days and that his decision to suspend and not cancel the season was a split-second move, believing it was premature to cancel the season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
Still, Silver left open the possibility that the NBA doesn’t play another game this season.
“This literally changes hour by hour in terms of what we know,” Silver said. “It was really a moment for us to step back, take a deep breath and ensure that everyone in the NBA community was safe and healthy and doing everything they needed to do to care for their families. And then give us some time (to) deliberate and figure out if there’s a way that we can resuming playing at some point.”
Silver appeared on TNT’s Inside the NBA with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. Charles Barkley joined via phone.
Asked by Johnson if it is possible the 2019-20 season does not resume, Silver said, “Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know more at this point. There’s another factor that may go to the seasonality of this virus. We’ve talked to a lot of experts and some have a theory that it’s, as with the common flu as the weather changes, we may begin to see it peter out a little bit. Again, we don’t know.”
Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made his first public remarks since he suspended the season. (Photo: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)
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On the show, Barkley said he has been tested for COVID-19 and is self-quarantining for 48 hours. He said he has not received results of the test.
Silver had a conference call earlier Thursday with team presidents and general managers to discuss procedural operations for teams and players.
“Understandably, some of the players play in a market but their families may live in another city,” Silver said. “Will they be rejoining their families? What’s the best way to keep them safe? What’s the best way to keep them in shape? All of those things are still on the table because this has happened so quickly.”
Through March 16, players have been told to remain in market and stay at their home. Teams also are not permitted to conduct practices.
Silver was unable to say if the league would resume with regular season games or go straight to the playoffs scheduled to begin April 18 and the Finals on June 4.
Silver said the NBA and National Basketball Players Association need to do “what makes sense here without compromising anyone’s safety, and it’s frankly too early to tell.”
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