NBA commissioner Adam Silver conceded the league’s planned restart could be scrapped due to coronavirus cases.
The 2019-20 NBA season is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.
However, there are concerns after Brooklyn Nets pair DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for coronavirus – the duo will sit out the team’s campaign.
“Never full steam ahead no matter what,” Silver told TIME 100 Talks when asked if the league does not go ahead. “One thing we are learning about this virus is much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis.
“If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans.
“We are testing daily. We haven’t put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well.”
Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to face the Utah Jazz in the first game back on July 30, with LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers also in action against the Los Angeles Clippers on the same day.
Silver added: “We are going to see as we go. Certainly if cases are isolated, that’s one thing. A lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue. But certainly if we had a lot of cases, we are 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 situations that I am aware of where there is mass testing of asymptomatic employees.
“In some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries can ultimately open. But I am only going to say we will be responsible and watch what is happening, but the biggest indicator will be if we begin to see a spread in our community.”