Silver: NBA hiatus at least 30 days; ‘possible’ season is over

The suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season likely will last at least 30 days, commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday evening, though it’s possible the campaign will not resume at all.

“This hiatus will be, most likely, at least 30 days,” Silver said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” a day after the league shuttered indefinitely following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive test for the spreading coronavirus. “We don’t know enough … to be more specific in that way.”

Asked about the possibility the season won’t be completed, Silver replied, “Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know more. … At this point, we’re just waiting. …

“Even if we’re out for a month, even if we’re out for six weeks … it was way premature to suggest that we’ve lost the season.”

If and when play resumes will depend on the scope of the coronavirus impact, as well as the league’s ability to arrange a safe environment for games, even if that means playing in empty stadiums.

“The question becomes, is there a protocol — frankly, with or without fans — in which we can reasonably play?” Silver said. “… It’s frankly too early to tell.”

ESPN reported earlier Thursday that owners hoped Silver would re-evaluate the league’s status in 30 days.

In the meantime, The Athletic reported the NBA is asking players to remain in their respective teams’ market and stay home as long as possible, with no group workouts or practices and daily communication with the team’s medical staff for the next several days.

Silver said he and the board of governors are discussing how to keep players safe over the next several weeks, including whether or not players will be allowed to leave their home market if their family lives elsewhere.

Also on TNT on Thursday night, analyst Charles Barkley announced via phone that he is self-quarantining for 48 hours after feeling ill recently. He said he has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting the results.

News emerged Wednesday that Gobert had been diagnosed with coronavirus, and teammate Donovan Mitchell confirmed Thursday that he had also tested positive.

Silver said Thursday that the league had already met on Wednesday before Gobert’s diagnosis to discuss the possibility of suspending the season or playing games without fans. The diagnosis then led to a quick decision to begin a hiatus.

Mitchell was the only other player or member of the Jazz organization who tested positive for coronavirus out of 58 tests performed on Wednesday night, The Athletic reported. ESPN reported the team’s charter returned to Salt Lake City on Thursday, although it was unclear if Gobert and Mitchell were on the flight.

All members of the franchise who traveled on the team charter were required to submit to a cheek swab to tested for COVID-19 after Gobert tested positive. The Jazz originally thought Gobert had the flu, and he was listed as questionable for Wednesday night’s game, which was canceled.

The NBA told teams that have played the Jazz in the past 10 days that they should self-quarantine. Utah’s opponents since March 2 were the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.

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