NBA commissioner Adam Silver has done an incredible job leading the return to play process amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Players and executives put their trust in him, and Silver delivered by creating the 22-team plan that will be utilized when the season resumes at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Of course, what sparked the NBA’s initial shut down was when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus. Silver was quick to react, and has spent the last three months working with health officials, players and teams to get basketball back.
And while the return plan sounds relatively safe, there is always the chance that someone could contract the virus while in the Orlando bubble or just before entering it. However, Silver believes that a single positive test won’t shut things down so long as testing is happening daily and contact tracing is involved in some way, via “Inside the NBA”:
“The answer is we don’t believe we would need to. We’ve been dealing with a group of our experts plus public health authorities down in Florida. The view is that if we were testing every day and trace the contacts that player has had, we are able to contain that player and separate him from his team, and we’re continuing to test every day. The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive.”
The ideal scenario is that there are zero positive tests upon entry into the bubble, meaning as long as no one leaves, no one can get infected. However, this is not an ideal world at the moment, and a positive test may very well happen.
Given the current schedule that is being floated around, the 2020 Playoffs aren’t set to begin until August. That is well over two months from now, and only half of that time will be spent in the bubble, leaving the possibility for matters to go awry.
The good news is Silver has been in constant communication with health officials about what needs to be take place. It also feels like players, coaches and executives have a mutual understanding of the precautions everyone will need to take once they’re in the bubble.
If everyone can do what they’re supposed to and avoid unnecessary contact with others, the season may be able to restart and conclude without a hitch.