A day after announcing the comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart of the NBA 2019-20 season, league commissioner Adam Silver today (Saturday) has said the action may again be put on a hold if there were a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases.
The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association on Thursday had announced a comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart to the season, which includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.
Players will start arriving at the Disney complex on July 7, will be tested daily once they get there, and could be away from their families for more than three months.
The announcement had come hours after as many as 16 NBA players had been reported positive for COVID-19 infection.
Meanwhile, Silver said the record number of cases in Florida recently has raised the level of concern but added that the use of the campus – where players will live, practise and play – is designed to limit risk of exposure to the surrounding community. “But if the number of cases inside the NBA’s so-called “bubble” rise, “that may lead us to stopping play,” Silver has told ESPN.
Meanwhile, the NBA and Disney had also reached an agreement that makes the Arena, the Field House and Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex the venues for all games for the remainder of the season, which will resume with 22 teams returning to play and with no fans in attendance.
Even families are not expected to be allowed on-site at Disney until the start of the second round of the playoffs, set to begin in late August or early September.
he NBA and the NBPA confirmed an agreement on health and safety protocols that will govern the resumption of the season. The rigorous program, which addresses risks related to COVID-19 and focuses on the well-being of players, coaches, officials and staff, was developed in consultation with public health experts, infectious disease specialists and government officials.
In recognition that long-term change can only come from an informed and sustained commitment, conversations regarding these efforts will continue and additional details will be released at a later date.