Earlier today, the NBA and the Players Association formally agreed on the plan for the league to restart in July in Orlando. After previously approving the format for the rest of the season and agreeing to negotiate the remaining details of the set-up, this announcement from the league office means that basketball is officially underway in just over a month:
The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association announced today that they have finalized a comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart to the 2019-20 season, which includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.
Adam Silver spoke on a conference call afterwards to share some further details regarding the league’s plans. He emphasized that despite the growing instances of coronavirus cases in Florida, the NBA campus will be safer for players and personnel than anywhere else.
"We believe we've developed a safe and responsible way to restart the season," Adam Silver says. "...We ultimately believe it will be safer on our campus than outside of it."— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 26, 2020
Teams began testing on June 23, and 16 of the 302 players tested positive (including two Kings, but not Jabari Parker, who took his test earlier). However, Silver said that none of the players “were seriously ill in any way”, and the league remains confident in its safety procedures for Orlando. With that in mind, Silver also said, “This is far from an ideal way to finish our season and it will require tremendous sacrifice from all involved.”
The league is working with Disney to increase testing of cast members who will have access to the NBA bubble to improve the safety of league personnel. The NBA will consider stopping the season if there is a significant spread of the virus, but no specific number has been settled upon.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: "If we were to have significant spread of coronavirus through our community, that ultimately might lead us to stop it." Says the line on when to pull plug "hasn’t been precisely designed."— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 26, 2020
The league also addressed another issue central to the players: they committed to increased representation of black people within NBA leadership, and Silver specifically said diverse coaches and executives will have an opportunity to develop in the G League.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says there will be more black representation in the league, connection to black businesses and a foundation connecting the NBA and black communities.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 26, 2020
Concerns regarding the league restart will continue to arise, and a new round of testing will likely reveal more positive tests. As of this moment, the season is set to continue, and player safety should be at the cornerstone of the league’s plans.
The NBA will reveal its regular season schedule on Friday, June 26, at 4 p.m. PST on ESPN.