On Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and key members of the National Basketball Players Association, including executive director Michele Roberts, assembled on a conference call to discuss the league’s status amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Taking much away from the reports that surfaced is murky business. In a tweet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski summarized Silver’s comments thusly:
Broader Adam Silver message on call to players: This is going to be hard -- and hard for a long time. We need to work together. Hard choices are coming. No one will agree on everything. There are some difficult days of collective bargaining coming with grim financial realities.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 9, 2020
That keeps in line with most of what’s been messaged by the NBA since the season was suspended on March 11. Much is uncertain, but the league is doing all it can to find a way to safely return to normalcy.
Some concrete nuggets did come out of the call. Here are a few significant takeaways, all via Wojnarowski’s breakout story, in which he cites league sources:
- The NBA has yet to publicly message a cut-off date for its decision on the fate of the 2019-20 season. Per Wojnarowski, Silver said that whatever decision they do reach may not come by the end of May or even early June.
- The league is preparing for a possibility where fans are not permitted in arenas next year, according to a tweet from Wojnarowski
- If the league is able to return, a “minimum of three week” long training camp has reportedly been discussed
- Silver “expressed confidence there would be enough mass testing available in the United States for the league to feel confident about using such a large number of tests.” This dovetails with a report from Wojnarowski on Thursday that said the NBA has now begun allowing certain teams to test asymptomatic players and staff, depending on their region’s testing capacities
Still, there seem to be more open-ended questions remaining than answers regarding a timeline for resumption.
Chief among those questions relate to the financial losses the league will incur as a result of the pandemic. Per Wojnarowski, Silver conveyed that 40% of the league’s annual revenue comes from game nights, so losing fans for an indefinite period of time could be of massive consequence.
That could have a massive impact on the salary cap, a point Silver reportedly didn’t downplay. The cap is calculated annually based off Basketball Related Income projections from each season, but without knowing how many of the currently postponed games will end up being played (or under what circumstances), it’s near impossible to ballpark the exact financial ramifications that might ensue.