NBA players heard an update Friday from commissioner Adam Silver on coronavirus-related league matters. Silver reportedly provided a lot of straight talk but not a lot of good news.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he obtained audio of the call between Silver and players association leadership. From the ensuing article, three items stand out:
— Silver believes the league doesn’t need to decide whether to resume play untll June.
— If play does resume, it likely will occur in a “bubble” environment at a central location after at least three weeks of training camp. Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas continue to have the most support for being bubble sites. The league is aiming to conduct a full postseason, although it isn’t clear whether regular-season games will be played before then.
— The league is bracing for long-term financial hardships.
Players have already agreed to give up 25 percent of their salaries for this season in the event the remainder of it is canceled. Further losses of revenue would require more rounds of difficult negotiations. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Silver told players 40 percent of league revenue comes from fans, who might not return to arenas until a vaccine is developed. Multiple reports have said bubble games will not be open to the public.
In a small sign of progress this week, teams were allowed to open their facilities in states where stay-at-home restrictions have eased. Players who want to come in can only work out by themselves. Union leadership told Silver that teams have pressured players to attend, per Charania, but Silver agreed with the players that activities are voluntary.