The vast majority of the American sports world is in the midst of a hiatus, including the NBA’s decision to put the 2019-20 season on hold until further notice. Within just a few hours, the sporting landscape changed rapidly and, in the coming days, there is a great deal of uncertainty.
With that in mind, word began to emerge on Thursday that the league informed its teams on updated policies for the time being, including a mandate that players need to remain in their cities and all group workouts will cease through March 16.
The NBA has informed all 30 teams on policies effective immediately and through March 16, including:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
- All players must remain in market of team
- Players remain home as long as possible
- NO group workouts, practices
- Team physicians/trainers speak to each player once a day
From there, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation as a whole during an interview with TNT’s Inside the NBA on Thursday evening, headlined by the fact that the NBA’s hiatus will most likely extend for “at least 30 days.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joins TNT to discuss the league’s decision to suspend game play. pic.twitter.com/p7TtruOKOG— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 13, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discusses the timetable for the league’s suspension. pic.twitter.com/tterVvR29r— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 13, 2020
“What we determined today is that this hiatus will be, most likely, at least 30 days,” Silver said. “And we don’t know enough, as you’ve all said, to be more specific than that, but we wanted to give direction to our players and teams and to our fans that this is gonna be roughly, at least, a month.”
Silver went on to acknowledge that it is possible that the season would not resume.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver comments on the possibility of the season ending. pic.twitter.com/VvVM53yCjZ— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 13, 2020
Silver did mention the potential for a restart that would take the league’s season into July, though that is theoretical at this juncture.
More Silver: "Even if we're out for a month, even if we're out for six weeks, we can still restart the season. It might mean that the Finals take place in July or late July...It was way premature to suggest that we lost the season."— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) March 13, 2020
From the perspective of the Atlanta Hawks, Sarah Spencer of the AJC reports that the team has not been asked to self-quarantine despite contact with the New York Knicks just one week after the Knicks faced the Utah Jazz on March 4.
But as of now, no Hawks players have exhibited any symptoms of coronavirus, according to general manager Travis Schlenk. The league has not asked the Hawks to self-quarantine or to get tested for coronavirus, since they have not directly played the Jazz.
On Wednesday, Hawks owner Tony Ressler — in a piece from Bill Shea of The Athletic — committed to helping part-time arena employees financially in this time of league suspension, joining with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in that pledge.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pledged to help them financially: “The Mavs will work with our and the arenas hourly employees to make sure they continue to have income,” he said via email. “I know the Hawks are doing the same thing.”
Cuban copied Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler on the email and he replied: “We are indeed and feel strongly it’s both the right thing to do and good business,” he wrote.
Ressler also spoke with Sarah Spencer of the AJC about the 30-day break in the schedule, saying “a 30-day hiatus gives you an opportunity to see where the world is going, to see where this pandemic going, to see what is the best decision for the health of our fans and our employees.”
Any discussion of the current state of the league, and the sports world at-large, must be couched with the uncertainty that stems from COVID-19 itself. The NBA appears to grasp that reality and we will bring you updates as they arrive.