NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Said League Won't Make Any Decisions In April

Melissa Rohlin

Three and a half weeks after NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the league on March 11 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was asked if he has a better feel for when basketball will resume. 

"The short answer is no," Silver said in an interview with Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson that was live-streamed on Twitter on Monday. "Interestingly enough, I think if you and I, on March 12, had been asked that same question, both of us would've said it's hard to imagine that three-plus weeks later, we wouldn't have a better understanding of where we are."

The pandemic is obviously a very fluid and quickly changing crisis. Over the course of three weeks, most of the nation was shutdown as it became apparent just how catastrophic the virus would be without extreme social distancing measures. 

So far, there have been 8,910 deaths in the United States from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And many states aren't expected to see their peaks until the coming weeks. 

"The fact is now sitting here today, I know less than I did then," Silver said. "...The virus is potentially moving faster than maybe we had thought at that point, and therefore it may peak earlier. What that means in terms of our ability to come back at some point in late spring or summer is still unknown to me."

Silver added that there won't be any further clarification in the immediate future. 

"We should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "...It doesn't mean that internally, both the league and in discussions with our our players and the teams, we aren't looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season. But it honestly is just too early given what's happening right now to even be able to project or predict where we'll be in a few weeks."

Johnson asked Silver if there's a concrete date when the league won't be able to finish the regular season. 

"Honestly, we haven't made any decisions," Silver said. "In a perfect world, yes, we would try to finish the regular season in some form and then move onto the playoffs. But what I've learned, I think initially, the first week, first two weeks, we were looking at more specific scenarios. If we start this date, what would that mean for the regular season? When would the playoffs begin? When would they conclude? Again, what I've learned over the last few weeks is that we just have too little information to make those sort of projections."

Silver, however, added that at some point, it does become too late. 

"I will say, though, that as I look out into the summer, there does come a point at which we would start impacting next season," Silver said. "Even there, I think a few weeks ago, nobody thought that we were talking about even a potential impact on next season, independent of what we might choose to do to finish our regular season and playoffs."

Silver added that the NBA and other sports leagues were leaders in shutting down the economy. And they'd love to be the ones to jumpstart it, provided that it can be done safely. 

"I don't want to leave the suggestion with anybody that we're not doing everything we possibly can to restart under the right circumstances," Silver said. "But of course, player safety and the health of everyone in the NBA family has to come first. That may mean that there's a scenario in which we can play without fans. That's something we look a lot at." 

Silver said that he's well aware of the importance of restarting the NBA. He said 55,000 jobs are impacted by the league's suspension. 

"That's what's keeping me up at night," he said.

But at this point, Silver said there's not much he can do but wait. 

"We're in listening mode right now," he said. 

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