With major sports leagues preparing for the eventuality of restarting behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly took the concept to the next level on Friday.
The NBA might end up playing with no fans in the stands into next year barring the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Silver reportedly said during a conference call open to all NBA players.
National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts also participated in the call, which was designed to update players on the league's status among the pandemic-inducted shutdown.
Silver's comments reportedly included the suggestion that a decision on when play might restart could be made as late as some point in June.
He also touched on the financial damage that would be inflicted by playing in front of TV-only audiences, with 40 percent of the league's revenue derived from having fans in arenas.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports Silver stated the collective bargaining agreement "wasn't built for an extended pandemic" after being question on the league's finances.
The league meanwhile believes it would be safer to return to action in one or two sites given travel problems and stay-at-home requirements in multiple states, with Orlando and Las Vegas leading contenders.
The NBA are hoping to introduce daily testing for players, and should any player test positive, he would be quarantined without there being a disruption to the schedule. In addition, Wojnarowski claims the league remains keen to complete a full playoff slate with best-of-seven rounds.
All 30 league owners are committed to the resumption of play, with the league leaning towards a minimum three weeks of training camp ahead of any restart.
It was also detailed that while the NBA season was halted on March 11 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, the Utah Jazz center was not the first player to be tested but the first to test positive.
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Players have also told Silver they were being pressured by teams to participate in voluntary workouts at club facilities, which the NBA commissioner said he would instruct teams to stop doing.
The league allowed team facilities to re-open from Friday in markets where it is permitted under local government guidelines.