In a conference call with National Basketball Association Players Association president Michele A. Roberts and NBA players, commissioner Adam Silver indicated that the league still is seeking a path — most likely in one or two locations — to finish the suspended season.
The call was held on the same day that teams were given the green light to open team practice facilities in states that have eased stay-at-home restrictions. With those hurdles cleared, the doors opened Friday at NBA practice facilities, but only two teams opted to take the next step to unlock the doors.
The call served to update the players on plans for the reopening of practice facilities, easing fears and offering advice as the players and league struggle to find a way back to games after the March 12 suspension of the season due to the coronavirus COVID-19.
But what the players still don’t have right now is a clear idea of what they are working their way back toward. The facilities will begin opening in the coming days, with teams in states that have eased stay-at-home restrictions mostly opting to open as they follow the NBA’s strict guidelines for safety. Some teams, such as the Raptors, have said they will go beyond the advised rule of no more than four players in the gym at a time, restricting it to one player in the gym with no access to the locker room or medical facilities.
ESPN reported that NBA teams opening facilities will be allowed to administer tests to asymptomatic players and staff embers — regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms — as long as the area around the facility already has the ability to provide readily available testing for at-risk health care workers.
In a statement, the Magic said, “We have been assured we are not taking any tests from health care workers, first responders or anyone, whether they are experiencing symptoms or asymptomatic. As we have been told, the general public in our community can go to numerous locations to receive a coronavirus test.”
According to ESPN, Silver told the membership that the decision on restarting the season does not have to come this month or in early June. Silver expressed hope that the playoffs will be held with a traditional set of seven-game series in each round, but could avoid the back and forth travel between cities, playing the series in one set locale.
What is unlikely is that if the league is able to resume play that fans will be allowed in the arenas this season, meaning the revenue for the league will take a hit as approximately 40% of league revenue coming from fans attending games.