Phoenix Suns' Jevon Carter, left, and Deandre Ayton, right, defend against Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Silver confident that NBA season can be pulled off safely

Silver confident that NBA season can be pulled off safely

The NBA found a way to get through last season amid a pandemic. Adam Silver sees no reason why the same cannot ring true again this season.

Silver, the the NBA’s Commissioner, said Monday — one day before the new season begins — that he is confident the league’s health and safety protocols will allow teams to get through their planned 72-game regular season slates even as the coronavirus problem rages across the country and the world. He did, however, warn that he expects the virus to create some problems along the way.

“I think we are prepared for isolated cases; in fact, based on what we’ve seen in the preseason, based on watching other leagues operating outside a bubble, unfortunately, it seems somewhat inevitable,” Silver said. “We’re prepared for all contingencies.”

Games could be postponed or cancelled along the way, and Silver said that if the league encounters issues that cannot be controlled by what’s covered in the health and safety protocols suspending the season — just as was the case back on March 11, when the 2019-20 season was halted for 4 1/2 months — will again be a possibility.

But the league, Silver vowed, will wait its turn to get players and others inside the NBA vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“In no form or way will we jump the line,” Silver said.

Silver spoke on the eve of the season-opening doubleheader — Golden State visiting Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers playing against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. He said if the league didn’t believe in its plans, the season simply would not be starting.

“We do anticipate that there will be bumps in the road along the way,” Silver said.

Teams will play 10 fewer games than the customary 82-game slate. The season is starting two months later than usual and the playoffs are set to stretch into July, all with players and coaches being tested daily and with nearly 60 players having already missed some time with their teams during training camp and the preseason because of positive COVID-19 tests.

And as was the case at Disney, social justice initiatives remain top priorities for the league, Silver said. The efforts will be different now — for example, “Black Lives Matter” is no longer painted onto game courts, a change from what was the case in the bubble. Buy the commissioner stressed that fighting racial inequality is no less important now than it was then.

“I think there’s also been in a new awakening among the players in the league as to the impact they can have when they use the platforms they have to speak out on issues that are important to them,” Silver said. “So, I think it’s a combination of the collective action that the league will be taking together with its players and coaches, and on top of that players realizing the enormous reach they have with their voices.”

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry said last week that he expects the league to continue driving conversation about the need for societal change.

“For myself, it’s all about action. It’s all about doing it,” Lowry said. “It may not say it on the court or it may not say it on our jerseys or on the back of the jerseys, but it resonates when you’re doing things in your communities, to uplift your communities and to uplift other people. So that’s a big thing, is continuing, yourself, to make it matter.”

The NBA currently expects only six of its 30 teams to open the season with fans in the stands, and no arena is planning to have more than 4,000 ticketholders in the seats at this point. Smaller attendance means smaller revenue, and the league missed its revenue projection by about $1.5 billion last season — largely because many games were cancelled and the bubble games, including the playoffs, were played without fans in the seats.

Silver said playing another season without fans would mean NBA revenue would dip about 40%.

“Tens of thousands of people rely on our league and its related businesses for their livelihoods,” Silver said. “We also feel a responsibility to our fans. People continue to look at sports as a break from the challenges of the pandemic and as a small reminder of what life was like before COVID-19. … It’s a piece of life I feel we’re able to get back, for the time being.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

NBA

Just Posted

Red Deer respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first central Alberta health professionals to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020. Since then, nearly 3.4 million doses have been administered and COVID cases are falling rapidly. Photo by Alberta Health Services
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall sharply

Red Deer cases almost into the double digits after topping more than 900 only five weeks ago

(Advocate file photo.)
Red Deer city council discusses strategies to restore integrated emergency dispatching

Red Deer city councillors discussed additional ways on Tuesday to try to… Continue reading

Local developers who are doing building upgrades or new construction will face less land servicing costs and gain some flexibility. (File photo by Advocate staff)
From left: Montana First Nation councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation councillor Shannon Buffalo and Samson Cree Nation chief Vern Saddleback were present during the painting of the Maskwacis Pride crosswalk. (Contributed photo)
Being gay made him contemplate suicide: Councillor in Maskwacis opens up

Maskwacis got a bit mote colourful over the weekend. Volunteers spent Saturday… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after Rutta scored against the New York Islanders during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Kucherov shines, Lightning beat Islanders 4-2 in Game 2

Lightning 4 Islanders 2 (Series tied 2-2) TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Durant’s sensational performance sends Nets to 3-2 lead

Nets 114 Bucks 108 (Brooklyn leads series 3-2) NEW YORK (AP) —… Continue reading

New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Frazier snaps tie, Yankees come back to beat Blue Jays 6-5

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Clint Frazier snapped an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users. The sex website faced accusations it hosted illegal content. The company, which is owned by Montreal-based Mindgeek, says it has suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by one of its content partners or members of its Model Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS
International women’s rights advocates call on Canada to hold Pornhub to account

Jeanette Westbrook says being sexually abused as a child will haunt her… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021 file photo, transporters Miguel Lopez, right, Noe Meza prepare to move a body of a COVID-19 victim to a morgue at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 600,000, even as the vaccination drive has drastically slashed daily cases and deaths and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 1, 2019 file photo, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks about health care legislation he's backing in the upcoming session, in Baton Rouge, La. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and… Continue reading

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted ahead of a planned march by Jewish ultranationalists through east Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israelis march in east Jerusalem in test for new government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,”… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vets Pietrangelo, Perry contributing for Vegas, Montreal

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pietrangelo and Corey Perry had very different free… Continue reading

Most Read