NBA commissioner says no decisions expected until at least May on return to play
Timeline for pandemic makes it too difficult to project next steps
NBA commissioner Adam Silver does not expect any decisions to be made until at least May about the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season, saying the coronavirus pandemic simply makes it too difficult to project what will happen next.
Silver spoke on Monday on the NBA's Twitter account as part of the league's new #NBATogether initiative, in a conversation hosted by Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson.
“It’s too early to project or predict where we’ll be in a few weeks.”<a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a> Commissioner Adam Silver speaks with <a href="https://twitter.com/TurnerSportsEJ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TurnerSportsEJ</a> on the current state of the league. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBATogether?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBATogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/8UUmg3r8K5">pic.twitter.com/8UUmg3r8K5</a>—@NBAonTNT
"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."
The NBA was the first of the major U.S. pro leagues to shut down because of the COVID-19 threat, doing so after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus. The league's regular season was to end April 15, and the playoffs were to begin April 18.
Silver said no decision has been made about whether the regular season will resume, or if the league — assuming the season can begin again — will go right to the playoffs.
Major changes to pre-draft process
The NBA has also told teams that they may not conduct or attend any workouts with draft-eligible players during the league's coronavirus hiatus, a major change from typical procedures.
Teams also are being prohibited "from watching, requesting, or sharing any video [live or recorded] of a draft-eligible player or prospective early entry player taking part in a workout" during the league's shutdown. The NBA told teams of the rule changes Monday in a memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Teams will be allowed to conduct interviews by phone or video, though they will be capped at a total of four hours with any draft prospect. They can also send questionnaires to players in advance of any interviews.
"Given the unique challenges associated with the current coronavirus situation, it is apparent that teams will not have the same scouting opportunities that are typically available in advance," the league told teams in the memo.
For now, the NBA draft is still scheduled for June 25.
The workout ban applies to ones that would have been hosted by either teams, agents or other representatives. The NBA said that decision was made "consistent with government guidelines and advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the coronavirus."
Teams and their personnel can watch footage of any draft-eligible players or prospective early-entry players participating in games or practices that took place before the league's hiatus began.
So far, the league has not changed the dates or format of the NBA Draft Combine or G League Elite Camp, both of which were scheduled for mid-May.