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Report: NBA owners, executives feeling hopeful for return of season

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported an update following a virtual meeting between a board of governors and Adam Silver that there is increasing positive momentum toward resuming the 2019-20 NBA season as the coronavirus pandemic continues:

Owners and executives on the call were encouraged about the league’s progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and the league office’s positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association about the players’ desire to eventually restart the season, sources said.

Discussions centered on health and safety concerns, including the goal of getting team officials and players comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not shutter play.

Silver told those on the call that if a positive test would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path.”

The NBA is looking to make a decision over the next two to four weeks about whether they will be restarting the league, but are studying many factors first. As Wojnarowski noted, this includes:

Understanding the trajectory of new cases in those states starting to reopen, understanding who is getting severely ill and why, and developments in testing types. The NBA also is studying how other leagues are handling positive tests among participants, sources said. On the call, the league office wasn’t optimistic about rapid-response testing becoming widely available within the next month, sources said.

The league has now opened 22 of its 30 practice facilities. Wojnarowski also noted that the NBA is continuing to focus on Walt Disney World in Orlando and Las Vegas as possible isolated sites to host the league.

It should go without saying that it’s critical the NBA doesn’t try to rush the return of games. There are so many important factors besides just the health of players and team personnel, who shouldn’t be returning before it’s completely safe to do so (for instance, the league also needs to consider the wellbeing of families, the availability of tests, and what effects coronavirus could have on someone after they’ve had it).

It’s concerning to read that the goal is for players and officials to be comfortable with a positive test not stopping play, when we know how easily the coronavirus could spread to other players, staff members, and their families.

Wojnarowski added that the NBA, NBPA and medical experts are tackling the question of how many positive tests would be too many to carry on playing with, as they look to decide whether the league can return.

We should have more clarity about what the NBA is thinking and whether the season may resume in the next few weeks.

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