With commissioner Adam Silver putting himself and the NBA on a two-to-four week timeline to make a decision regarding the return of play, he must figure out ways to minimize risk when a return eventually happens.
Putting all 16 playoff teams in a bubble at Disney World is looking like the safest route, but even that carries issues. For starters, the NBA reportedly has not yet decided if all teams will return to action, or only those in the playoff picture.
No matter the case, Silver has said he would ensure players aren’t strictly locked up in their hotel rooms. That raises the question as to what happens if a player who tested negative upon arrival becomes infected with the coronavirus, and how many players will he possibly have spread it to.
These are just a couple of the topics Silver and the Players Association will try to come to a conclusion about over the next several days. The NBPA will have as much veto power in any restart scenario as Silver and league officials.
Silver, however, wanted to warn players that there is no return that will be without risks, as that’s simply the nature of the world we all currently live in, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times:
“No decision we make will be risk-free,” Silver told the players, according to a recording of the teleconference reviewed by The New York Times. “We’re going to be living with this virus for the foreseeable future.”
A statement like this from the commissioner could fuel two completely opposing arguments. The first is that sports should remain on pause for as long as possible until there is a better grasp on things, as players’ health shouldn’t be put in a situation where it could be compromised.
The other side is that in a world with the coronavirus, the risks of starting in December are the exact same as the risks of starting in July, so there’s no use in waiting several more months. In addition, the NBA has already lost significant revenue, which in turn effects players and staff more than anybody else.
When it comes to restarting sports, there likely isn’t an answer that’s completely right. However, part of a return to normalcy includes a return to sports, and it seems players agree with that sentiment.
Sports are not just a source of entertainment for fans, they’re also a source of income for a very large number of people. It’s those people that are likely being considered when weighing the risks and rewards of bringing back the NBA.