While NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has done well leading the league through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is still so much uncertainty. For now, the NBA seemingly has a comprehensive plan that goes into excruciating detail over each facet of the return to play.
However, so much remains unknown about the virus, and plenty can happen either within the NBA or in Orlando, Florida, between now and when Game 7 of the 2020 NBA Finals would be played on Oct. 12 that planning ahead seems nearly impossible. For example, the first round of testing for players came back and found 16 positive cases.
So there is a doomsday scenario in which players and personnel get to Walt Disney World with no known cases, but an outbreak spreads through the bubble. This will lead Silver to again need to think on his feet.
“We haven’t worked through every scenario, but the notion would be that if we had a single player test positive, frankly, whether that player was an All-Star or a journeyman, that player would then go into quarantine,” he recently explained on a conference call.
“We would then be tracking any players that that — or other personnel that that player had been in contact with and even potentially supplement the daily testing just to ensure that others had not been contaminated, but then we would continue.”
Silver previously expressed confidence the NBA could withstand a positive coronavirus test within the bubble. Though in that instance he didn’t necessarily say at which number that would change. He reiterated that this week.
“Of course if the larger question you’re asking, if we were to have significant spread of coronavirus through our community, that ultimately might lead us to stopping,” Silver warned when asked about a potential outbreak.
“We’re working closely with the Players’ Association, with Disney and public health officials in Florida as to what that line should be, and it hasn’t been precisely designed. I think we just want to get down on the ground and start to see how our testing is working and how the protocols are working and then we’ll make decisions as we go.”
Making decisions as they go will need to be the name of the game moving forward for the NBA. With a pandemic that is this random, it’s impossible to guess where the league will be three months from now.
Perhaps everything will go off without a hitch. All positive cases would be dealt with prior to entering the bubble, players enter negative and they come out negative. But the NBA has to be prepared for the alternative, and it seems they have plenty of options they’ve considered.
At the end of the day, the safety of everyone involved comes first. If at any point that safety is compromised, the only right thing to do would be to shut things down again, even if it means not having a 2020 NBA champion.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!