NBA Coronavirus Update: Commissioner Adam Silver Says Decision on Season Won't Be Made Before Next Month

The NBA will not decide on any possible resumption date until the beginning of next month at the earliest, league commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night.

The NBA season was halted on March 11, shortly after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for coronavirus. While Silver initially suspended the season for 30 days, he subsequently confirmed the league would adhere to the guidelines set out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which suggested all events drawing crowds bigger than 50 people should be canceled or postponed until mid-May at least.

On Monday night, Silver explained the league was not in a position to make any decisions for the time being.

"Essentially what I've told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," he said in an interview with TNT's Ernie Johnson, which was broadcast on the NBA's Twitter page.

"I don't think that necessarily means that, on May 1, we will be [in that position], but at least I know that just to settle everyone down a little bit.

"It doesn't mean that, internally, both the league and discussions with our players and the teams we aren't looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season, but I think it honestly is just too early, given what's happened right now, to even be able to project or predict where we will be in a few weeks."

Last month, Silver acknowledged all options were on the table in terms of contingency plans for the resumption of the season, but admitted he could not give a precise timeline as to when the NBA may return.

Playing games behind closed doors has been floated as one of the possible options and NBA spokesman Mike Bass told Newsweek on Tuesday the league had not ruled out any proposals.

"While our foremost priority remains everyone's health and well-being, the league office continues to evaluate all options for a return to play," he said.

"Any decision on a date to restart the season is likely weeks away and will be made in consultation with public health experts and in line with governmental directives and guidance."

Silver, however, admitted part of what made any decision so complicated was that the league was none the wiser of the unprecedented circumstances it finds itself in than it was when it halted proceedings on March 11.

"The fact is now, sitting here today, I know less than I did then, and I think in some ways, just as I listen to the public health experts and the people advising us, the virus is potentially moving faster than maybe we thought at that point, so maybe it will peak earlier," he explained.

"What that means, in terms of our ability to come back at some point, whether it be in late spring or early summer, is unknown to me."

Silver added that the league remains intent on concluding the regular season before getting the playoffs underway, but admitted the scenario would only play out in an "ideal world". Significantly, the NBA commissioner conceded the league's stance had changed from planning to return on a set date to adopting a more flexible approach as the pandemic spreads across the U.S.

"What I've learned over the last few weeks is we just have too little information to make those sort of projections," he explained.

Silver was one of the major league sports commissioners who held a conference call with President Donald Trump on Saturday, during which the President said he hoped sports would resume by the summer and that fans would be allowed to attend games.

"I want fans back in the arenas," Trump during a briefing at the White House. "I think it's [...] whenever we're ready.

"As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air."

Silver echoed Trump's thoughts and suggested he wanted the NBA to be at the forefront of restarting society, once the major leagues are allowed to gear back up.

"I think that's what President Trump wanted to talk to us all about on that call on Saturday," he explained.

"It wasn't just a pep talk, but I think it was a reminder of what the meaning is of sports to Americans, to our culture in particular."

As of Tuesday morning, over 368,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., by far the highest tally in the world. Almost 11,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. and almost 20,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources.

Almost 75,000 people have died globally since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There have been over 1.3 million confirmed cases globally, with almost 285,000 recoveries.

NBA, Adam Silver
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference at the United Center on February 15 in Chicago, Illinois. Stacy Revere/Getty