NBA commissioner Adam Silver has laid out the league's strategy of resuming the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. But he reportedly told players that a return-to-play decision may not be made until June.
According to ESPN, Silver discussed the options during a National Basketball Players Association teleconference Friday, nearly two months after the NBA suspended its season over COVID-19 concerns. The commissioner reportedly stressed the importance of implementing tactics that would best mitigate the spread of the disease within the league. Adrian Wojnarowski reports Silver cautioned players that there were no guarantees when fans could return to NBA arenas next season, and said it would be much safer and more practical to hold games in one or two locations should the season resume. Orlando and Las Vegas are said to be the preferred sites.
"There's no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there's not going to be fans," Silver said. "We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start."
Silver also said that if the season does restart, he would want the playoff series to still be seven games in each round. He pointed out that a single location would make it easier to reach this goal, as the need for travel would be reduced.
The call took place one week after some teams reopened practice facilities in areas where lockdown restrictions were eased. Though athletes were permitted to train at the facilities on a voluntary basis, players told Silver they "were feeling pressure from organizations to return to volunteer workouts." The commissioner said he would discuss the matter with the organizations.
"Until there's a vaccine, or some cocktail preventing people from dying from the virus, we are going to be dealing with this be dealing with this collectively," Silver said. "The ultimate issue is how much risk we're all comfortable taking."