Adam Silver was candid while being unsure and yet optimistic.
The NBA commissioner revealed in an interview Wednesday with ESPN that he didn’t know if the NBA would resume with the regular season or go right into the playoffs in regards to possibly restarting after the coronavirus crisis subsides.
“I’m mean I’m certainly optimistic by nature and I want to believe that we are going to be able to salvage some portion of this season,” Silver said. “Again, I said I we’ve done new and creative things in the past. We’ve experimented with this year’s All-Star Game with a unique ending. We talked about play-in tournaments, going into the playoffs [in the past.]”
The commissioner mentioned three options the league and its teams are focused on regarding the eventual resumption of play.
“One is when can we restart and operate as we’ve known it, 19.000 fans in the buildings?” Silver said. “Sort of that one set of criteria.”
Option No. 2, he said, was playing games without fans and the logistics of that."Because presumably if you had a group of players and staff around them, and you could test them and follow some protocol, doctors, health officials may say it’s safe to play,” Silver said. “So that’s sort of the second set of circumstances.”
Option No. 3 involves having a game with a group of NBA players. Silver said the competition could be a fund raiser or “just for the collective good of the people.
“... People are stuck at home, and I think they need a diversion,” he said of the third option. "They need to be entertained. One of the things that I heard from several of our teams and the thing I have been thinking about a lot is we were the first to shut our league down, and what way can we be a first mover to help restart the economy?”
But it was evident in the interview that Silver was determined to salvage the season. He just doesn’t know when it can resume.
Silver announced on March 12 that league play would be suspended for at least 30 days. However, the NBA may not resume play until June at the earliest.
So far, there are at least seven NBA players who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz tested positive last week. The Detroit Pistons announced on Saturday that forward Christian Wood tested positive. The Brooklyn Nets announced on Tuesday that four of their players tested positive. Sidelined Nets standout Kevin Durant told The Athletic that he tested positive.
Meanwhile, the Sixers’ players, according to multiple sources, took the test on Monday. Silver announced that eight full teams and several players on other teams with symptoms tested for the coronavirus.
“We are going to try every means we can to play basketball again,” Silver said. “But I’d say the safety and health of our players is first — and our fans — which is why I don’t want to speculate more than that. That will be the condition upon when we will play, when public health officials give us the OK.”