In conference calls with players and owners in the past week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been his consensus-building self — he alone is not going to decide if and when the NBA will return. This is a collective decision, he tells his audiences.
However, in the world of a coronavirus and competing interests, a consensus likely is not possible. At some point, Silver is going to have to just make a call.
That call will come in the next two-to-four weeks Silver told NBA owners on Tuesday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 13, 2020
That late May to mid-June timetable is the first one the NBA has had since play was shut down on March 11. However, a lot goes into that decision, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Among factors league's studying in ramp-up to final decision: Understanding trajectory of new cases, understanding who's getting severely ill and why, developments in testing and how other sports are handling positive tests among participants and continuing to play, sources say. https://t.co/tkbh9poiQD
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 13, 2020
There was a real sense of optimism about a return to play out of Tuesday’s call between Silver and team owners, Wojnarowski reports. That echos what sources have told NBC Sports in recent weeks and has been widely reported — there is a growing sense the league can find a way back.
The questions facing the league now are logistical — where do they play the games, and what forms to the regular season/playoffs take? — and ones about reducing risk. There will be risk involved, players will test positive, but can the league’s testing and contact tracing protocol contain any outbreaks and keep the games going?
More and more, there is a belief around NBA circles that the league can come up with the protocols to keep people safe and complete some form of a season, crowning a champion. Exactly what that will look like is up in the air.
We’ll find out sometime in the next 2-4 weeks.