NBA's Silver Not Ruling Out Season Shutdown If Virus Outbreak Occurs
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "did not rule out the possibility of the resumed NBA season shutting down once again if the novel coronavirus pandemic infiltrates the league's temporary campus in Orlando," according to Aric Jenkins of FORTUNE. Silver, speaking yesterday at the Brainstorm Health virtual conference, said that "even if someone at the site did test positive, it would likely not result in the cancellation of the tournament." Asked what the threshold for having to shut down would be, Silver said, "I'm not sure yet." He added, "Certainly, if we had any sort of significant spread at all within our campus, we would be shut down again." Silver: "It would be concerning if once (the players) sit through our quarantine period, and then were to test positive, we would know that, in essence, there's a hole in our bubble." Jenkins noted Silver "expressed confidence in the NBA's medical procedures," and "optimism about the NBA's quarantined campus is high enough that Silver himself plans to attend" (FORTUNE.com, 7/7).
LOTS OF RESERVATIONS: In Philadelphia, Noah Levick noted 76ers C Joel Embiid yesterday explained why he "does not support the NBA heading to Florida during the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to conclude the 2019-20 season with a champion." Embiid said, "I hated the idea. I feel like with everything that has been going on, it's unfortunate what's been going on in the world. Obviously people look at it in a different way. There might be some other reasons behind everything going on. To me, that part never mattered. To me, all I want is to stay healthy and stay safe, keep the people around me safe." He added, "Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I'm going to do my job" (NBCSPORTSPHILADELPHIA.com, 7/7).
PROCESS BEGINS: In N.Y., Marc Stein writes yesterday's check-ins in Orlando "were the beginning of a critical process: assimilating teams into the campus while trying to keep the coronavirus out." Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said, "This has never been done before. All you can do is prepare yourself as best as possible given the very restricted modes of operation that have been placed upon us. Our guys have done that and now it's time to come together." Stein notes those who arrived yesterday "were almost immediately taken to a testing room." While on campus, they "will be tested for the coronavirus daily, and masks will be mandatory in public when teams are away from basketball activities." After arrival, players and staff "must quarantine for up to two days and register two negative tests before they can move freely around the premises." Meanwhile, the "uncomfortable reality for the league, at the start of such a pivotal week, is that an increasing number of players have voiced apprehension about the restart, raising concerns that go beyond the coronavirus and injury risk" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/8).
FINGERS CROSSED: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen writes this "might be the most important week of the NBA season." The next few days "will go a long way in determining whether basketball will be played over the next few months." How teams "handle this week's transition period is essential to the comeback plan." The league has "never invested so much in hoping that nothing happens." For "all the consideration that went into crafting the NBA's plan, which scientists and doctors have praised more than any major American sports league's, the bubble could still pop in the very beginning" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/8). In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman writes once the NBA "starts, it will find a way to finish." Winderman: "The question is how satisfying the outcome would be in the absence of a major star (or stars)" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 7/8).