NBA Ownership Determined To Find Way To Finish Out Season
NBA ownership following Friday's BOG meeting "appears determined" to finish the season, which "could mean pushing the playoffs into the winter or playing games in one central location," according to Gary Washburn of the BOSTON GLOBE. During the meeting, owners "met with infectious disease specialist David Ho, who told them that there still isn’t enough information to determine any timeline about a potential return," so the league will "continue to wait." Commissioner Adam Silver said, "There’s still too much uncertainty at this point to say precisely how we move forward." Meanwhile, Silver said of NBAers agreeing to a 25% pay cut beginning May 15, “Our revenue in essence has dropped to zero. That’s having a huge financial impact on the team business and the arena business" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/19).
TESTING KEY TO A RETURN: Silver, asked what sort of data is most crucial for informing the league's restart decisions, said, “We’re looking for the number of new infections to come down. We’re looking for the availability of testing on a large scale. We’re looking at the path that we’re on for potentially a vaccine. We’re looking at antiviral’’ (N.Y. POST, 4/18). USA TODAY's Mark Medina reported Disney Exec Chair Bob Iger "spoke to the league’s owners about how the company has dealt with its theme parks, theaters and ESPN since the COVID-19 outbreak." When "various NBA owners asked Iger about timelines, Silver said that Iger stressed one thing. 'It’s about the data, and not the date'" (USA TODAY, 4/17). Silver said that he "believes the NBA and other sports need to come up with a uniform plan." He added, "One of the things that has been discussed as part of our sports council, is that putting aside (whatever) that standard is, in order for us to operate our leagues, and our associations, there needs to be consistency" (L.A. TIMES, 4/18). SI.com's Chris Mannix wrote, "In short: The world needs to look a lot different." Silver has "taken an appropriately somber tone in recent interviews. This one, though, felt more pessimistic" (SI.com, 4/17). In Philadelphia, Keith Pompey went with the headline, "When's The Right Time To Resume Playing NBA Basketball?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/19).
DETAILS ON SALARY REDUCTIONS: ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBA and NBPA pay agreement "clears the way for a gradual reduction in player salaries should the force majeure provision in the collective bargaining agreement be enacted with the cancellation of regular-season games." Sources said that players "could lose 23-26% of their season salary -- based on how many games their teams have already played -- if games don't resume." The NBA and NBPA will "spread out the salary deductions into the first four pay periods," through November and December, of the '20-21 season. Sources also said that the union has "informed players that it could be June 15 before the players know whether games are canceled and how many" (ESPN.com, 4/17). Meanwhile, the GLOBE's Washburn noted just before the season was suspended, the NBPA announced that Exec Dir Michele Roberts was stepping down in '22 and the union was in "search of a new leader." Roberts is "still serving on the board, however, as the pandemic has curtailed the search" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/19).