The NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World has been “better than what we had envisioned” so far, commissioner Adam Silver tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. Praising those involved in the plan for the sacrifices they’ve made, Silver notes that the players have “taken to it in a more spirited way” than the league anticipated.
As Silver explains in his conversation with Mannix, a number of players who aren’t participating in the restart – either because their teams weren’t invited or because they couldn’t play due to injuries or other issues – have reached out to say that they wish they could be part of the NBA’s summer in Orlando.
Speaking to Mannix, Silver touched on several other topics, including the long road back to resuming the 2019/20 season, NBA players’ advocacy on social justice issues, and the criticism the league has faced from some observers due to its social justice statements.
The conversation is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from the NBA commissioner:
On Silver’s biggest regret about the restart plan:
“I’d say my biggest disappointment is that we couldn’t find a sensible way to bring 30 teams down there. We know everything here involves compromises, but I do feel bad there are eight teams that are not part of the experience.”
On how the NBA would have been impacted financially if the season hadn’t resumed:
“In terms of a net basis, it’s not as dramatically different as people might think, because it is so costly to do what we’re doing in Orlando. It’s not a sustainable model, but we also recognize that this virus will end and that at some point we will return to more of a normal business operation with fans in seats. But I recognize that there’s a chance that still this season could come to a halt. The league certainly would have survived had we been forced to shut down, and it will survive if we’re forced to shut down sometime before October.”
On the NBA’s plans for the 2020/21 season:
“We are deep into the planning stages, but only to the extent that we have dozens of permutations as we look into next season. It’s certainly not bubble or bust. Our first and highest priority would be to find a way to have fans in our arenas.
“We’re continuing to look at all the different testing methods. We are current on vaccine developments and antivirals and other protocols around the possibility of bringing people together in arenas. We’re studying what colleges are doing as they look to bring thousands of students back on campus.
“We’re going to try to find the right balance between waiting as long as possible, so we have the best possible information at the time we’re making the decision, and recognizing that, at some point, we have to begin to lock in plans. We would like to find a way to play in front of fans, but it’s just too early to know how realistic this is.”