NBA Commissioner Adam Silver does not have any answers on when or if the season will return, but he did offer a glimmer of hope that some form of basketball will be back.
During a 21-minute interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Silver said that when discussing this season there are three questions they are considering:
• When can they restart and operate as usual?
• Should they consider restarting without fans?
• Are there conditions in which a small group of players would play in a charity type game?
The latter is perhaps the most intriguing. If resuming the season looks grim, there could still be a one-off, All-Star type charity game.
"Maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or for the collective good of the people — you take a subset of players and is there a protocol where they can be tested, quarantined or isolated in some way to compete against each other," he said. "Because again, people are stuck at home and I think they need a diversion, and they need to be entertained.”
While any sort of game should bring immediate joy to the fans, Silver still could not provide a rough timeline or estimate on when the season would return and if it would resume with the regular season or playoffs.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reported earlier this week that many GMs believe the season may return In June with no fans. Silver did not confirm any of that, but he did say he is optimistic by nature and is holding out hope the season can resume.
“I want to believe we’ll be able to salvage at least some portion of the season,” Silver said. ”We’ve done new and creative things in the past. We’ve talked about play-in formats for the playoffs.”
Should the NBA play into the summer, it could affect when the 2020-21 season begins. Silver would not rule out the possibility of starting next season closer to Christmas.
“Those are things we’re always talking about,” he said.
The NBA was the first major sports league in the United States to suspend its season amid the coronavirus pandemic after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive. Many leagues, including the NCAA, followed suit and suspended or cancelled its season or tournaments.
Seven NBA players in total have now tested positive for COVID-19, which has subjected the league to criticism as to why NBA players are easily able to receive the coronavirus test while there are not enough to go around for others in the general public.
Silver, who has not been tested himself, specifically spoke to the entire Utah Jazz team being tested and said the Oklahoma public health official on the spot required they all be tested and not leave the locker room.
“I understand from a public health standpoint why some people reacted the way we did,” he said. “But from the NBA standpoint, we were following directives.”