NBA, players sign off on final terms for restarted season

NBA, players sign off on final terms for restarted season

NBA, players sign off on final terms for restarted season

Acknowledging that no option would have been risk-free during a pandemic, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that the concern shared by the league and its players surrounding next month’s restart of the season is rising as coronavirus cases in Florida keep climbing.

That said, the league and the National Basketball Players Association is moving forward — finalizing the deal that will bring the NBA game back and see teams start arriving at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida in less than two weeks.

Many of the details of the agreement were already known, such as how “stringent health and safety protocols” would be in place for the 22 teams that will be participating, that no fans will be present and that games will be held in three different arenas at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

But when those protocols were completed, the Orange County, Florida area — which includes Orlando — had seen a 5% rate of positive coronavirus tests over the preceding 10 days. In the 10 days that have followed, the rate of positive tests there has soared to just over 15%.

“We ultimately believe it will be safer on our campus than outside it,” Silver said Friday afternoon. “But the signal we are sending is this is definitely not business as usual. This is far from an ideal way to finish our season, and it will require tremendous sacrifices from all those involved.”

Silver said the league is working with Disney to test at least some of their on-site employees that could be in the same room as NBA players, which he believes will make the setting even safer.

Once players get to Disney, they will be tested daily. Testing is in an every-other-day mandatory phase now for the 22 teams set to participate in the restarted season. and the results from Tuesday’s first 302 tests saw 16 players positive for the virus.

“I think one would have been concerning,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said. “But, God forgive me, I was frankly to some extent relieved that the number was not higher. … If nothing else, it told me that the great majority of our players have been doing exactly what they should have been doing to keep themselves safe.”

Silver said it may be possible that, if there was a significant spread of the virus within the Disney campus, “that might lead us to stopping.” He said the league has not precisely concluded what number it would take for the league to shut down the season once it resumes, and continues working with the players and health officials to determine what that number should be.

The league and the union announced earlier this week that addressing racial issues and inequality in the country will be a priority during the restarted season. Silver, Roberts and others — including union president Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder — stressed Friday that those matters will be an extremely critical component of what happens at Disney, both on and off the floor.

While dealing with the plans for pulling off a restarted season and then playing a full post-season during a pandemic, the league and the union have had numerous meetings as well to discuss options for how to address issues such as the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the ongoing problem of police brutality and furthering the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We all understand how powerful our voice is,” Paul said. “Even if we’re back to playing, our voice can still be heard … on an unbelievable platform. You’re going to continue to hear us. It’s never a ‘shut up and dribble’ situation. You’re going to continue to hear us.”

Silver said the NBA looks at itself as a key partners to the messages that players want to be seen and heard at Disney, during a time of what he called enormous social unrest. “We may be the most uniquely qualified organization in the world to affect change,” Silver said, noting that the league’s players are some of the best-known Black personalities on the planet.

The NBA suspended its season March 11 because of the virus. It took the league more than three months just to get to this point, and it would seem most unlikely that once teams get into what the league hopes is a secure environment at Disney that issues such as more positive tests wouldn’t be a factor.

There are countless business reasons to play, massive revenue streams at stake for players, the league and the NBA’s media partners — Disney included. And Silver acknowledged that even though the league “hasn’t worked through every scenario” regarding the possibility of on-site positives at Disney, he believes coming back is the best move.

“Ultimately, whether it’s fighting racism or a pandemic, we’re coming back because sports matter in our society,” Silver said. “They bring people together when we need it the most and they can show how we can balance public health and economic necessity.”

___

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

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

NBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

(Pixabay photo)
Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct

College of Physicians and Surgeons says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing