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Volume 26 No. 181
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Tells Players To Prepare For Worst

Silver said that 40% of the league's revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Silver said that 40% of the league's revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Silver said that 40% of the league's revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during a call with the NBPA prepared players for a "potentially grim landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting there are no guarantees when fans could fully return to NBA arenas next season," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. Friday's call included NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts, President Chris Paul and several players "asking questions of the commissioner in an hour-long session." Silver said that 40% of the league's revenue "comes from money built around game nights in arenas." Silver: "This could turn out to be the single greatest challenge of all our lives." Wojnarowski noted the tone "was respectful, but Silver was asked some hard questions about safety issues, return-to-play ideas, how future seasons would be affected and the financial realities of future salary caps and basketball-related income." Silver said that "no decision on returning to play this season needed to be made in May, nor immediately into the start of June." He added that "returning to play this season at one or two potential sites -- including Orlando and Las Vegas -- made the most sense." Silver flatly told players the current CBA "was not built for extended pandemics" (ESPN.com, 5/8).

UNCERTAINTY LOOMS: In N.Y., Marc Berman cited a source as saying Silver was “forthcoming and genuine in expressing the difficultly to plan in light of the uncertainty." However, the source added Silver expressed the league’s "desire to resume the season, but only if absolutely safe for all" (N.Y. POST, 5/9). On Long Island, Steve Popper noted what NBA players "still don’t have right now is a clear idea of what they are working their way back toward" (NEWSDAY, 5/9). In Boston, Brian Robb noted one of his biggest takeaways from the conference call was Silver's claim that 40% of revenue "comes from fans in attendance." There was some thinking that the NBA’s attendance impact "would be a little less significant than other pro sports due to their massive TV deal with Turner/ESPN." But Silver’s call "indicates that’s far from the case" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 5/9). THE ATHLETIC's Shams Charania wrote the "clear takeaway" from Friday's call was that the NBA "still is not anywhere close to having the necessary answers to resume play -- and that a major financial impact looms." Charania: "The ultimate question left on the call for all parties was: How much risk are they all willing to take?" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/8).

CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE: In Boston, Gary Washburn writes Silver “wants to do the right thing but finally admitted Friday that there will be no consensus decision on nearly anything with this situation." If he "cancels the season, the owners and many players will take issue, imploring that there could have been a way to conduct the season safely." If he "resumes the season, there will be those who claim Silver did not take into account the safety of his players -- his most important commodity -- and this was simply a money grab." For the first time in his six-year tenure, Silver "likely will not come out of this unscathed." He will "make his share of adversaries, have his detractors and irk those who believe the NBA is only returning for the sake of avoiding catastrophic losses” (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/11).