Adam Silver

REPORT: NBA is considering withholding pay from players if regular season games cancelled

REPORT: NBA is considering withholding pay from players if regular season games cancelled

The NBA and other professional sports leagues have been considering various scenarios as to what could play out over the next few months as we all work together to see how quickly we can flatten the curve of COVID-19.

The NBA has also been looking at different financial considerations during this uncertain time.

Last week, reports surfaced that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and roughly 100 of the NBA's top-earning league executives took a 20 percent pay cut in base salary last week and will continue to take a reduction in pay through the coronavirus pandemic.

In the latest report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, details emerge on how the league and the National Basketball Players Association are discussing scenarios that could include withholding up to 25 percent of players' remaining salaries in a league escrow.  

That would only happen if the regular-season games were eventually canceled, according to Wojnarowski.

The collective bargaining agreement states that players lose approximately 1 percent of salary per canceled game, based on a force majeure provision, which covers pandemics. Once there is a cancellation of games, the provision is automatically put in place.

The force majeure would also be put into use for next season as well, protecting against a huge drop in the salary cap and luxury tax.

The league is reportedly not going to making any announcements anytime soon on whether or not games will be canceled.

The NBA continues to be a catalyst during COVID-19 outbreak

The NBA continues to be a catalyst during COVID-19 outbreak

What a whirlwind this week has been.

Last Wednesday, the NBA took action and suspended the 2019-20 season.

Rightfully so.

Since then, the other professional sports leagues, as well as the entire country, have followed suit in trying to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

As NBA Commissioner Adam Silver works from home, just like many Americans hoping to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, he an interview to ESPN.

Silver mentioned how it was crazy to think about how things have changed within just a week, and how many people are not only trying to stay safe and healthy, but many are also trying to keep their spirits up.

“I recognize that when we went off the air last Wednesday night, it was a larger decision than just the NBA,” Silver told Nichols. “I think it got a lot of people’s attention. I think for those people and maybe young people in particular, who are a large part of our audience, who frankly weren’t taking all that seriously -- the recommendations in terms of what the appropriate protocols are -- they’re like, ‘wow the NBA is off, something is going on here.’ But since then, I’d say we’ve been working through these issues in the same way you all are and other Americans are.”

Both NBA fans and non-NBA fans have shared their thoughts on how it doesn't seem fair that the NBA is testing teams for the virus, while America is still very limited with COVID-19 tests. 

The Nets and Thunder have used private labs for their coronavirus testing, but this issue has been a focal point on social media.  

“We’ve been following the recommendations of public health officials,” Silver said. 

He also pointed back to the league's very first incident when Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive before the Jazz and Thunder game in Oklahoma City last Wednesday. 

The Utah Jazz did not ask to be tested. The Oklahoma City Health Officials there on the spot not only required that they be tested, but they weren’t allowed to leave their locker room, which was at least four hours after the game -- where they had to stay, masks on, in the locker room, they couldn’t leave until the health authorities had tested them – that was our first case. -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on following the health officials' recommendations on why so many NBA teams have been tested

Now a total of eight teams have been tested while Silver added that a handful of individual players have been tested who were showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Silver reiterated…

“I understand there are many sides to these issues, but I also think that by virtue of an NBA player being tested and the kind of attention it brings, my sense was especially among young people in the United States, people were not taking these protocols all that seriously until the NBA did what he did.”

Now Silver is wading through all the different scenarios along with league owners when deciding on what to do next:

Will the NBA season start up again? Or will it be canceled? Silver said he wouldn't begin to try to predict the future, but it sure seems like the NBA could lead the future during this outbreak.  

One thing is certain: Silver and the NBA are strictly following public health officials’ guidelines and recommendations when it comes to the decision of the 2019-20 season.

And if you ask former NBA player Kendrick Perkins, Silver is doing a dang good job navigating through this unthinkable and unfamiliar territory. 

To all the NBA players, future NBA players and NBA fans should never panic knowing that we have Adam Silver as our LEADER!!! He’s the best in the business. – Kendrick Perkins posted on Twitter

The thought of the NBA returning could help some feel as though some normalcy is returning to their life, and the NBA is only going to return once both health and league officials feel it's safe to do so.

With that, along with the leadership of Silver, it’s not as if it's permissible to think the NBA once again could be out ahead of the game when it comes to returning to life as we knew it before COVID-19. 

Adam Silver feels NBA players could've been classified as ‘super spreaders’

Adam Silver feels NBA players could've been classified as ‘super spreaders’

Above all, NBA players are humans, just like everyone else. 

Prior to the suspension of play, these players interacted with hundreds if not thousands of people a day. These players have germs, just like everyone else. 

And according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, players had the potential to be ‘super spreaders’ of COVID-19.

Wednesday, during a twenty-minute interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Silver spoke candidly about what the past week has been like since the NBA suspended the season following the league's first positive test of COVID-19. He also addressed what he thinks the future could hold for the NBA.

Silver discussed how New York City has been a hotbed of the virus, so he wasn’t surprised by the Brooklyn Nets having four players test positive.

“Especially in the New York area, if you took almost any random group of New Yorkers… it would be likely, increasingly likely, that they’re gonna be some positive tests,” Silver said.  

Silver added, “on top of that, again this is what led to some of the testing in the league in the first place, you could put our players in a category that some would refer to as ‘super spreaders’ and that is -- they are young people who are working in close proximity to each other.

They are traveling at great frequency.

They are regularly in large groups, including the public, and for the young cohort, in particular, a large number of them are asymptomatic and if they do have symptoms they’re relatively mild and so what’s happening with that group is that group until really the government at all levels started to clamp down, I think because it wasn’t affecting them so much personally, they might not have understood, sort of, the magnitude of the crisis in our country.”

This crisis in our county, as prompted the NBA to have its players send out messages on social media to encourage fans to reduce coronavirus risk.

Players like Damian Lillard and Kevin Love have shared messages on Twitter sharing tips and showing their support during this difficult time.  

As for the seven NBA players who have tested positive, two of the players have mild symptoms, while the other five are asymptomatic.

But, Silver also knows that because the healthy, young NBA players are not showing a lot of symptoms that could sway the younger generation into thinking that COVID-19 is not a big deal.

And that is the last thing Silver wants.  

“When Donovon Mitchell -- people see him on TV or social media, he’s done public service announcements reminding people of the protocol -- when he says, ‘hey, I’m good, I’m healthy’ we have to be careful that other young people don’t see that and say, ‘hey, he tested positive it’s no big deal.’ What I have said directly to some of our players -- the issue is if you hug grandma, frankly, you could be putting her in jeopardy.”

“We’re learning more and more about COVID-19 all the time, Silver added. “But it’s particularly lethal for older people and people with underlying conditions, so I think that in the midst of this crisis, as I’ve said, I think there’s a particular role that the NBA can play in terms of getting the message out, especially to young people.”

As the NBA continues to get the word out about social distancing and other CDC protocols, the league will also continue to work closing with the public health officials to ensure what’s best for the NBA and its fans moving forward. 

On Thursday, the league announced the closure of all team facilities, despite originally being open for individual workouts between players and coaches. 

Measures may continue to become more extreme. 

Late Thursday, reports surfaced that two Los Angeles Lakers players have now tested positive for the coronavirus, following announcements earlier in the day that three members of the Philadelphia 76ers and one member of the Denver Nuggets organization tested positive. And then, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart announced on social media that he had tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

Adam Silver explains how the NBA suspension reshapes the league calendar

Adam Silver explains how the NBA suspension reshapes the league calendar

There was plenty to talk about when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Wednesday evening as questions remain pertaining to when the season will start back up again.

But, there's also the long-term future of the league to think about.

This past week, with the NBA on hiatus, it has felt more like a full season without games.

One big question remains, though:

Could the COVID-19 pandemic reshape the NBA season as we know it today?

“Possibly,” Silver told Nichols. “Those are things we are always talking about whether they’re executives at ESPN or in the media-- together with our regional sports networks. I mean, I will say, the conventional television calendar has changed so much since-- certainly since I got into this business. Primetime means something very different than it used to now that people in essence carry televisions around with them in their pockets. The summer is viewed differently than it was historically from a television standpoint.”

So, with this idea of shifting the season to start in December and run through the summer has already been on the table for the league…

Right now might just be the perfect opportunity to make the change.

“Regardless of whether we had been going through all of this, it’s something the league office, together with our teams, has been spending a lot of time,” Silver added. “And, we have a lot of our team owners who are technologist, media mavens by background, and so it’s something that the committees of owners and league officials have been working on a lot, especially over the last year or so.”

Thus, people shouldn’t be surprised if the NBA is ready to start the 2019-20 season back up again in mid-June and that would put the timeline on track for a Christmas Day 2020-21 start of the season.

Which is something it sounds like some NBA owners would be completely fine with right now.

But, if the league was to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season, there obviously wouldn’t be an NBA Champion. So, what would happen to all the statistical leaders?

Would James Harden be in the record books has having won the scoring title with 2,096 points and 18 games still to be played.

Will the NBA still hand out awards for MVP and NBA rookie of the year? What will happen to the season awards?

Silver simply replied to those questions with: "I'm not there yet."

“We’ll figure it out, but I hope I’m not just in denial, but I’m just not there yet.” 

Adam Silver lays out three scenarios in which the NBA returns

Adam Silver lays out three scenarios in which the NBA returns

The NBA wants to be at the forefront of restarting the economy as it was seemingly the catalyst for all professional sports teams to take the step in suspending play. 

At this point, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is unsure if the 2019-20 NBA season can continue.

The NBA is continuing to look at various scenarios that could play out now that the league has been suspended for the last week due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, capped by a positive test result from Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert.

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Wednesday evening, Silver gave the latest updates surrounding the NBA’s hiatus and how the league is hoping to still “salvage a portion of this season.”

Now that the CDC has recommended no more than 50 people congregate in one place for at least two months, Silver mentioned that there could be a possibility of returning to play that could include games being played for charity without fans in the stands.

But, Silver isn’t trying to predict the next six months.

I’ve certainly learned, sort of, in this job and in this process that when people do pretend that they can predict the future they’re generally wrong, and I would say look no further than the fact that certainly two weeks ago and even one week ago people were saying very different things than they’re saying today and so, of course, one of the things that we are very focused on at the league office, together with our teams, is what are the conditions we would need to be to restart. – Adam Silver on looking ahead to when the NBA season could return.

Silver continued pointing out that right now there looks like there could be three different scenarios in which the NBA returns. 

“I’d say I’m looking at three different things here:

One is -- Of course, when can we restart and operate as we’ve known -- 19,000 fans in buildings, that’s one set of criteria.

Then option two is – Should we consider starting without fans and what would that mean? Because presumably if you had a group of players and staff around them and you could test them and you could follow some protocol, doctors, health officials may say it’s safe to play…

And then, the third option that we are looking at now, and I would say all suggestions are welcome, is that… Are there conditions in which a group of players could compete and maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or just for the good of the people?”

Silver went on to talk about how this subset of players, who would be deemed healthy, could somehow be isolated and Silver thinks people who are stuck at home need to be entertained and that could help people’s mental health.

Silver also mentioned that shutting down the economy is a public health matter, as well. He wants “the right” balance of staying healthy and figuring out when “to come out of our homes.”

When asked if the NBA is leaning towards heading straight to the playoffs or will it continue to play out the regular season. Silver replied with, “I honestly don’t know.”

That will all be determined by how long this will all play out with the spread of the coronavirus.

But because Silver is “optimistic by nature,” he does believe the league will be able to “salvage at least some portion of this season.”  
Nearing the end of the interview, he mentioned that he knows that the players are “going stir crazy” and “want to compete.”

Adding:

“That will be the condition upon when which we can play – when public health officials give us the okay.” 

Adam Silver announces minimum suspension of 30 days

Adam Silver announces minimum suspension of 30 days

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined the TNT Inside the NBA crew Thursday night to give the latest updates on the suspension of the NBA season, saying the hiatus will last "at least 30 days."

This hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned. 

Silver explained how the events of Wednesday unfolded and what it was like for him working through the process of coming to the ultimate decision to cancel the Jazz and Thunder game, and then, in turn, suspend the season.

He added that it is too early to tell when play might resume; however, one could infer from Silver’s statements that games might continue when the danger from coronavirus lessens to a point that patients can be treated without having to place them in quarantine.

“The NBA community is not immune,” Silver said.

We also recognize because of the high profile that our players [have], others in the public will take the lead from us. -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Silver added he’s hoping the league can take action during this hiatus to use the NBA’s platform to help people through this outbreak and make sure people know more about the proper social distance and the proper way to wash your hands.

“This literally changes hour by hour in terms of what we know” with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Is there a possibility that the 2019-20 season will be cancelled?

“Of course it’s possible,” Silver said. “I just don’t know more at this point. There’s another factor that may go to the seasonality of the virus. Again, I’ve talked to a lot of experts… who have a theory that just as with the common flu, as the weather changes, we may see it begin to peter out a little bit. Again, we don’t know. At this point we are just waiting.”

If NBA has to pay players $1 million to care about tourney, what will it do to make fans care?

If NBA has to pay players $1 million to care about tourney, what will it do to make fans care?

I’ve always figured NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as a reasonable man. Intelligent, too, given his accomplishments.

So, what’s up with him lately? Too much eggnog? Christmas cookies spiked with banned substances?

Silver keeps pushing this silly idea of a 30-team, in-season, single-elimination tournament – and now he’s promising the players on the championship team a winner’s share of $1 million apiece.

I don’t even know where to start with this whole scam – which is nothing more than a thinly-disguised attempt by a league with falling network TV ratings to trick people into watching bad teams try to play good basketball. Or, in this case, good teams trying to play bad basketball, in order to avoid having to advance in a tourney they just aren’t that interested in investing their time and effort to win.

Let’s look, first, at the newest idea – to attempt to get players to care about the tournament by offering $1 million for each player on the winning team. This is supposed to provide incentive for players to care about winning. The problem with that is, let’s dream that all the teams truly cared about winning this farce – that would mean only about four or five teams would be good enough to actually win it. The rest of them aren’t good enough – and they fully realize that and won’t be tricked into thinking they can knock off the likes of the Ciippers, Bucks, Lakers, Raptors or Nuggets.

But the players on those teams – the ones with a good chance of going all the way to a genuine, authentic, real tourney championship – would probably rather bail on the tournament and get the five days off it would provide.

Money can't buy love, Mr. Silver.

See, the format is supposed to begin with in-season pool play leading to an eight-team, single-elimination tourney right after Thanksgiving.  In return for this, the players association is going to be offered a shortened season – but by only four games. In other words, fewer than a single game per month – which they probably wouldn’t even notice.

I know a million dollars is a lot of money, but the players would be foolish to sign on for a series of games like this scam. But that’s not the biggest problem with the whole thing.

Nope. The worst barrier to success is that I doubt the public is going to buy into the idea that the tournament is important; that it’s anything more than an in-season series of exhibition games that don’t matter.

I mean, if you have to pay the players a million bucks to make them care, what must you do to make the fans care?

Would teams, fans buy into proposed NBA in-season tournament?

Would teams, fans buy into proposed NBA in-season tournament?

The NBA and the NBA Players Association are considering revolutionary changes in scheduling that include post-season play-in games and an in-season tournament, according to a report by ESPN.

The changes would come with a promised shortening of the regular-season schedule from 82 to 78 games. The league is said to be hoping to implement the changes in time for the 2021-22 season, the league’s 75th anniversary.

A quick summation of the proposed changes, with my initial reaction:

  • The league would like to re-seed its final four playoff teams, regardless of conferences, in an effort to have the two best teams playing for the championship. Last season, for example, that would have meant Portland meeting Milwaukee on one side of the bracket, with Denver meeting Toronto on the other. The problem with this format, as with all plans based on regular-season records, is that these teams do not play the same schedules. The best teams playing in the more-competitive West could possibly – or likely – have worse records than the best teams in the East. Thus, the seeding would not be fair.
  • An in-season tournament featuring all teams, an itch Commissioner Adam Silver has been trying to scratch for years, based on European soccer formats. The thought would be to inject excitement into the middle of the season and provide a new source of revenue from television. And also make up for the games lost by shortening the season. The league says it will provide financial incentives for teams to win the tournament, but I have my doubts. How much would such a championship mean to a team? I doubt the money will be enough to get them interested, because they already earn serious cash. I think for many players, they’d rather tank the first game and take the time off – and that’s just what the NBA needs, more teams trying not to win. And there’s also a problem with the timing of the tournament. You don’t want to compete with the Super Bowl, March Madness or the big college bowl games. That probably means post-Thanksgiving, which is being talked about. That's probably too early in the season for such an event.
  • The league is talking about giving the bottom-feeders in the league a chance to get into the playoffs with four-team playoffs in each conference. Would these teams, in many cases battered and beaten down by all the losses, even want to play more games? Would they care? And more important, would anyone care to watch them?

A big reason for all this is the decline in NBA TV ratings. The league is suffering from LeBron James playing on the west coast, with those games just too late for east-coast viewers. And, too, what I don't hear many people talking about -- there may just too many televised games these days. Over-exposure can be a problem, particularly the games featuring lackluster teams going nowhere.

The incentive for the players to go along with this is the trimming of games off the regular season. But I wouldn't say cutting it to 78 games is much of a change -- that's less than one game a month. At the same time,  I'm not sure players would wish to accept a slice of their salary that would have to come with cutting the schedule.

Soccer could influence the future of the NBA

Soccer could influence the future of the NBA

The NBA is always looking toward the future, and now they are doing so with an eye on soccer. Soccer leagues around the world are known for having multiple in-season tournaments that teams play in, and now the NBA is looking at that model to add intrigue to the season. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the NBA and Adam Silver are “fairly intensely” studying the addition of an in-season Cup tournament where the final four would play for the cup in place of the All-Star Game, which has seen dwindling ratings over the years.

 

If not a midseason tournament, the league could add an end of the season play-in tournament to ensure the best teams are in the eventual NBA Playoffs. 

Changes this grand would be a seismic shift to how the NBA works and may take a while for fans to grab onto, but these types of tournaments have worked very well for soccer leagues around the world. 

Not only does soccer have multiple tournaments, but it also has promotion and relegation. Could we see a future where the worst record in the NBA gets relegated to the G-League, while the G-League champion gets promoted to the NBA? That may sound crazy, but again, look at the soccer model. It works. 

In all likelyhood, the NBA will probably not change a ton about its current format, but it's great that the commissioner is always looking to other leagues to see how he can improve his own.

Would you be for adding tournaments to the NBA season or are you a purist who just wants to keep it how it is?  If you were commissioner, what would you change? 

 

Get ready for betting windows on the concourse of your local pro sports venue

Get ready for betting windows on the concourse of your local pro sports venue

Not sure if you noticed that the state of New Jersey made arguments yesterday in front of the Supreme Court to try to get sports betting legalized in the state.

And the big news is that their odds are pretty good for a favorable verdict -- one that would then quite probably open the door to sports betting on a state-by-state basis.

Just a little insight into legalized gambling on sports: After years of opposing this, pro sports leagues are now coming out in favor of it. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been the most outspoken advocate for legalization:

But I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.

I think, though, what Silver is really saying is this:

We want to legalize sports betting so we can get our hands on a piece of what could be hundreds of millions of dollars for our league.

I'm told the league -- all of the pro leagues, in fact -- envision betting windows or lounges right there on the concourses of their arenas/stadiums. That would theoretically do two things for pro sports -- bring more people out of their homes and to games, where they can easily and legally make sports bets. And, of course, taking a big slice of the revenue from the action would be the biggest bonanza. The leagues would become bookies and have what could be a new billion-dollar revenue stream.

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We are talking HUGE money here, too. Silver himself estimated illegal wagering as a $400 billion business. A whole lot of states would love to make that a part of their revenue streams, too.

A verdict is expected in June. I would expect the stampede for other states to ratify legalized sports betting would follow shortly after that.