Restart Notes: Coronavirus, Announcers, Team Employees

In an appearance today on Time 100 Talks, commissioner Adam Silver once again expressed confidence in the NBA’s restart plan, but reiterated that the league won’t go “full-steam ahead” with that plan if there’s a significant spread of COVID-19 within the Orlando campus.

“Never full-steam ahead no matter what,” Silver said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “One thing we are learning about this virus as much is (it’s) unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis. If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans.

“We are testing daily,” Silver continued. “We haven’t put a precise number on it but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s return to play:

  • Although local play-by-play announcers and analysts won’t be on site at Walt Disney World to call games, the expectation is that network announcers will be in attendance, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. According to Jackson, 79-year-old Marv Albert won’t participate, so TNT’s games will be handled by Kevin Harlan, Brian Anderson, or Ian Eagle. ESPN’s Hubie Brown, who is 86, may also not be on site, per Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.
  • Teams around the NBA have extended the contracts of basketball operations employees that would have expired on July 1, according to Jake Fischer (Twitter link), who hears from league sources that those deals have been extended through November 1.
  • In an interesting piece for, Baxter Holmes examines the difficult conversations that a number of NBA general managers are having with employees. As Holmes writes, some staffers who may be uncomfortable about going to Orlando are worried that their commitment to the team may be viewed differently if they opt out, potentially complicating their job security. Other staffers, meanwhile, want to participate but may be at greater risk due to their age or health issues. GMs are telling employees that they shouldn’t feel pressured to participate, per Holmes.
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