Adam Silver: NBA is ‘not in any position’ to make decision on restart
Despite reports of renewed optimism about restarting the NBA season, commissioner Adam Silver said Friday night there is too much “uncertainty’’ to even give a date on when a decision can be made.
“We are not in any position to make any decisions and it’s unclear when we will be,” Silver said on a Friday conference call following the virtual spring Board of Governor’s meeting.
Dr. David Ho of Columbia University, one of the nation’s leading disease specialists, delivered video presentation during the BOG virtual spring meeting and then took questions from the owners.
“The takeaway was there’s enormous amount of this virus has yet to be learned,” Silver said.
Bob Heiger, another specialist who gave a presentation, told the owners: “It’s about the data, not the date.”
“These are all extraordinarily successful people,’’ Silver said of the NBA owners. “They are roll-up-their-sleeves people. There’s frustration on how little we control over the situation. There’s a fair amount of angst.”
Silver said Dr. Ho’s presentation “reaffirmed we all have to accept we’re dealing with incomplete facts.”
“This is bigger than our sport,’’ Silver added. “There’s too much uncertainty to know a path moving forward. There’s too much unknown to set a timeline.”
That said, the owners still want to believe, according to Silver. The season was suspended on March 11. Sources have told The Post a best-case scenario would be a July startup with a 5-to-7 game regular season finish followed by a scaled-down 16-team, one-site playoff tournament.
Silver said he’s willing to delay the start of next season and still sees “an opportunity to play regular season games.’’
“If they can be part of a way to restart our economy, (the owners) see this as a civic obligation,’’ Silver said.
Las Vegas appears the favorite to host a playoff tournament. The Post has reported Orlando, Atlantic City and Hawaii have also been talked about internally.
“We’ve listened, but we’re not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment,’’ Silver said.
Asked what sort of data is most crucial, Silver said, “We’re looking for the number of new infections to come down. We’re looking for availability of testing on a large scale and a potential vaccine.’’
If the season is canceled, player salaries automatically are reduced by a set percentage under the “force majeure’’ clause that includes pandemics. Silver acknowledged the suspension already has had a “huge financial impact” on the NBA.
The league and union agreed to start a method of reducing player compensation already by deducting 25 percent of player paychecks starting May 15th. Players get paid twice a month into late June.
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