Silver Offers Brutally Honest Update as League Works on Ideas
When the coronavirus quickly made its way into the United States, it was unclear what was going to happen to the sports world. For the NBA, their precautions started in late February, when the league encouraged players to avoid contact with fans.
Not too long after that, players had to slow down interaction with the media as well. There was no locker room access, and every players' media availability had to be held in either a press conference-like manner or in a scrum -- at least six feet away from everybody.
Talks about potentially keeping fans out of arenas on game nights were in the works as well, but the league never sufficiently proceeded with that process after it was considered on March 11th. Hours after NBA officials held a conference call with team owners and governors, a case of COVID-19 came about in the NBA.
At that point, the NBA was well-beyond the idea of preventing fans from watching in the stands. Adam Silver became the first commissioner to shut an entire sports league down. Now, here we are nearly a month later, and the 2019-2020 season is still on hold.
A mandatory 30-day hiatus was put in place on March 12th, but there's not a chance the league is back by the time it's up. Throughout the suspension, Adam Silver has been transparent and offering updates when possible -- but his brutally honest approach hasn't been very satisfying to those who want the NBA back in action sooner than later.
On Monday, April 6th, Silver managed to offer another update. Once again, the news isn't all that promising. As he joined Ernie Johnson for an interview, Silver made it clear that he still doesn't have too much information on a potential return, which doesn't come as much of a surprise, considering how foreign this situation is to everybody.
In short, the NBA commissioner made it evident that he will not be able to make any educated guesses on when the NBA will return this month. Silver said, at the earliest, there will be no way to have a real answer about where things are headed in terms of starting the season again until May 1st, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
Over the last few weeks, there has been some optimism around the league that a potential June or July return could be a realistic goal. As of late, however, there's been reports of some pessimism going around the league. One insider even described the association as 'angling' towards cancelation.
But on Monday, Adam Silver didn't give off a vibe of defeat. And according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes, the NBA and its player's union have been looking into quick COVID-19 tests that could be utilized if/when the NBA returns later on down the line.
"Multiple league sources close to the situation said the league and players union have been looking at what those familiar with the matter describe as "diabetes-like" blood testing in which someone could, with the prick of a finger, be tested quickly, and results could be gained inside of 15 minutes," Baxter wrote.
However, that won't make the process speed up any faster. While many around the NBA are hopeful the season will make a comeback, they don't seem too worried about athletes getting quick tests becoming a priority, rightfully so. If the NBA is going to return, they are going to ensure the situation is one-hundred percent safe for all.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_