The trust between commissioner Adam Silver and players’ union president Chris Paul and their mutual friendship with Disney executive chairman Robert Iger were vital to reaching a plan to resume the NBA season, but the deal was driven primarily by monetary concerns, according to Marc Stein and Brooks Barnes of The New York Times.
Several team officials contacted by Stein and Barnes admitted the league has a strong financial incentive to finish the season. They spoke anonymously because the league doesn’t like public comments on its economic state, but the authors observe that getting games on TV again and making sure players get paid seemed more important to the process than the idea of crowning a champion. Many around the league considered it “financially unfeasible” to scrap the rest of the season.
Front offices and players understand the financial pressures the league is facing, Stein and Barnes write. Silver admitted in February that “hundreds of millions of dollars” were lost from the dispute with China, and the coronavirus has eliminated fan attendance at games, which accounts for roughly 40% of annual revenues.
Here’s more on the NBA restart:
- The league is continuing negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association over restrictions that will be implemented to help keep the bubble atmosphere safe, Stein and Barnes add in the same story. A formal announcement isn’t expected until next week at the earliest, but we learned yesterday that the NBA’s list of health and safety protocols is expected to be more than 100 pages long.
- The NBA clarified its tie-breaking procedure today, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Overall winning percentage will determine where each team finishes in the standings, which is important because teams will finish the season with an unequal number of games played. Traditional procedures will be used to break any ties that occur.
- ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that the league is underestimating the amount of havoc that could be caused by a single positive COVID-19 test. “For the players on the guy’s team, for the players who have played against that team or will play against that team or that will play against that team,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not sure we know — because I know I don’t know, if that fear is going to be more than I expect, less than I expect.”
- The WNBA is hoping to begin play next month with an abbreviated season, according to David Waldstein of The New York Times. The league is looking at a single location, possibly IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, or MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. It hopes to start playing by late July and end the postseason in October.