With the number of positive coronavirus tests surging in Florida, NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed concern on Friday regarding the league's resumption, but added the league still plans on continuing in its restart.
Silver said on a call with reporters that "the level of concern has increased, not just because of the increased levels in Florida, but throughout the country." But added that the league still feels "very comfortable right now with where we are."
Silver told reporters that the coronavirus pandemic has left the league with no choice, "but to learn to live with the virus," and that "no options are risk-free." Instead, he said the league is returning because, "sports matter in our society. They bring people together when they need it the most."
Friday afternoon, the NBA and NBPA announced that they had finalized a comprehensive plan for July 30 to restart the 2019-20 season. And earlier this week, NBA teams set to take part in the resumption began testing their players for COVID-19 as part of Phase 2 of the NBA's return.
As the league prepares to bring 22 of its teams to Orlando in the coming weeks, Silver said players will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis once they arrive in Orlando. He also added that there will be increased testing of Disney employees who will be around the players during the season and playoffs.
The NBA and NBPA additionally announced Friday that of the 302 coronavirus tests given on June 23, just 16 players tested positive.
Silver said he was "relieved" with the number, adding that “none of the 16 were seriously ill in any way."
The commissioner reiterated that a single positive test would halt play, but that a substantial number of positive tests might cause another suspension, or cancelation, of the 2019-20 season.
As the league prepares for 22 of its teams to be Florida in the coming weeks, Silver also made mention of the league's future broadcast plans, saying that games will be presented, as a broadcast product, with enhanced audio for players and coaches, never-before-used camera angles, an app that lights up the arena in a team’s colors, virtual concerts, halftime performances and more.
The NBA season is set to resume gameplay July 30.