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Silver offers little hope for NBA’s resumption, saying it’s about the data, not a date

2020 NBA All-Star - NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The information was scant, but the tone said it all: following a remote meeting with his board of governors, Adam Silver couldn’t commit to anything about a resumption of play this season or even an October start to next season.

“Based on the reports that we got from varied outside officials, current public health officials ... we are not in a position to make any decisions,” Silver said in a conference call with reporters. “And it’s unclear when we will be.”

Echoing more than one expert, Silver said, it’s not about dates. It’s about the data related to the coronavirus. He added that the NBA’s revenue stream has dipped to “essentially zero.”

“There is a lot of data that all has to be melded together to help make these decisions,” Silver said. “That is part of the uncertainty. We are not even at the point where we can say if only A, B and C were met, then there is a clear path.

”I think there is still too much uncertainty at this point to say precisely how we move forward. I’ll add that the underlying principle remains the health and well-being of NBA players and everyone involved. We begin with that as paramount.”

Silver also said all options remain on the table for resuming the season, including even delaying the start of next season. He also said the NBA has been listening to all scenarios , including having teams isolated and playing without fans although he said there’s been no “serious engagement” on so-called “bubble” sites. Both Las Vegas and Orlando have been suggested as possible locations for games without fans.

“We are looking at all those things right now,” Silver said. “I’d say that in terms of bubble-like concepts, many of them have been proposed to us and we’ve only listened. We are not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment because I can’t answer what precisely would we need to see in order to feel that that environment provided the needed health and safety for our players and everyone involved.

”I know it’s frustrating — it is for me and everyone involved that I am not in position to be able to answer the question.”

Silver also said the number of NBA players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 is “greater than the initial report of seven.” The league would not disclose how many more confirmed cases there are. The Nets, with four cases —including Kevin Durant— have the most confirmed cases.

Other teams with reported or confirmed cases are the Lakers and Jazz with two each, the Pistons, Nuggets and Celtics with one each. Durant’s agent and manager, Rich Kleiman told Chris Mannix that KD never had symptoms even though he tested positive.

In addition to the governors, the teleconference included appearances by Robert Iger, executive chairman of the Walt Disney Company which owns ESPN, and Dr. David Ho, the league’s consultant on the virus and a pioneer in the treatment of another devastating virus, HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Ho told NBA governors that there remains a lot to be learned about COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to a plan to withhold 25 percent of each player’s paycheck beginning May 15, the league and players’ union announced Friday. Players will be paid their normal salaries on May 1. Nine NBA players, including Durant and Kyrie Irving, are paid upfront at the beginning of the season.