NBA commissioner Adam Silver willing to pull plug on season if COVID-19 cases explode

Adam Silver
NBA commissioner Adam Silver. (Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Silver isn’t heading toward his league’s restart with blind optimism. 

The NBA commissioner noted the significant spikes in Florida, the site of basketball’s restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, and told Time Magazine that he will be ready to pull the plug on the season if needed.

“We have a panel of scientists, doctors, experts that are working with us. We’re going to see as we go.” Silver said. “Certainly, if we have a lot of cases, we’re going to stop. You cannot run from this virus. I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus because there aren’t many other situations I’m aware of where there’s mass testing of asymptomatic employees. So in some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries ultimately open.”

Florida reported as many as 9,000 new cases of the virus on June 27. On Tuesday, they reported over 6,000 cases. 

In the meantime, NBA players have begun opting out of playing in the Orlando bubble, including Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards, Avery Bradley of the Los Angeles Lakers, Trevor Ariza of the Portland Trail Blazers, and DeAndre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets. 

Out of 302 recent tests administered by the NBA, 16 players have tested positive for the virus. 

“[It’s] never ‘full steam [ahead] no matter what,’” Silver said. “One thing we’re learning about this virus is that much is unpredictable.”

At the end of July, 22 teams will make their way down to Orlando to play eight regular-season games to determine the final postseason seedings of eight teams per conference.

The NBA Finals are slated to begin on Sept. 30 with Game 7 being played on Oct. 12.