The NBA has not yet discussed whether it will pause the season while players and fans sit around waiting for a ruling on COVID.
While commissioner Adam Silver said there are no plans right now to delay next week’s games, he made it clear that if the league doesn’t get clarity from its legal team soon, that might happen.
Silver did say they would do everything in their power to stay open even if playing was suspended due to uncertainty about what is possible with regards to potential games being played over Labor Day Weekend or beyond September 1st.
Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said there are no plans right now to pause the season amid COVID. He also said that he is in remission from his pancreatic cancer and is doing well.
5:00 p.m. ET
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps
As COVID-19 spreads around the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver informed ESPN’s Malika Andrews that the league has no plans to postpone its season.
“There are no intentions to halt the season right now,” Silver said in a Tuesday afternoon appearance on NBA Today. “Of course, we’ve considered all of the possibilities, but we’re having difficulties seeing what the rationale would be for halting right now.”
“As we look at the instances that are literally tearing across the nation, much alone the rest of the globe, I believe we’re now arriving at the conclusion that we’ve been anticipating for months: this virus will not be eliminated, and we’ll have to learn to live with it. That, I believe, is what we’re seeing in the league right now.”
The NBA has had to postpone seven games in the last week, including five in the last three days, as the omicron version of COVID-19 has spread across the league, as it has around the globe.
The omicron strain, according to Silver, is “beyond dominant” in the NBA right now, which the league can monitor since it has the capacity to sequence every positive test it gets from its players, coaches, and staff members throughout the league.
“We’re detecting omicron in probably 90% of the positive instances we’re seeing right now,” Silver added.
Silver’s stance on not halting play is consistent with the league’s Sunday evening communication to clubs revealing new regulations governing replacement players. Teams now have far greater freedom in adding them as soon as they lose players to the league’s health and safety guidelines — and are forced to begin signing them once they have at least two players in the processes.
However, he said that the league is not yet ready to officially revise its position on how long players must sit out after a positive test. The NBA’s current health and safety regulations state that a positive test necessitates either a 10-day suspension or two negative PCR tests done more than 24 hours apart.
Silver, on the other hand, told Andrews that the league has discovered through its data that players who have received booster shots have shown either no or very mild symptoms and have passed the virus through their systems faster, which could pave the way for the league to reduce the amount of time players have to miss in the future.
“We use our PCR test to measure viral loads all of the time,” Silver added. “So that’s something that our physicians, as well as the rest of the medical community, are looking at.” When you have athletes that have been vaccinated and boosted, I believe they’re already learning that you can go away from the 10-day regimen.
“It seems that the infection is spreading quicker via their systems. They stop exhibiting symptoms and, more crucially, they stop shedding the infection. In terms of others, it is the true worry. As a result, we’re working hard to reduce the amount of days players are out before returning to the field.”
While Silver said the NBA isn’t ready to change its stance on testing asymptomatic players, as the NFL did over the weekend, he did say that the league’s data shows boosters work, and that he is optimistic that the league’s current percentage of players who have been both vaccinated and boosted, which stands at 65 percent, will continue to rise.
“We look at a lot of information.” Only a tiny percentage of athletes and coaches who have gone through the three-shot procedure, which includes the two mRNA injections and then the booster, and then the previous two weeks, have been breakthrough cases, according to Silver. “And they’ve mostly been asymptomatic or with very little symptoms.” We also have a significant group of people that have just one J&J shot or haven’t been boosted yet.
“I’d just want to stress to our community, and really to everyone, that boosters are really effective, at least according to the statistics the NBA has, and we strongly encourage everyone to obtain them. In reality, we now have roughly 97 percent of our players vaccinated in our league, but we’ve increased that figure to around 65 percent, and we’re in active conversations with the players’ organization to raise that number even higher. So we’re not quite there yet, in terms of your question, in terms of whether we can regard this as endemic, and people start to move on, and we just screen and treat those who are symptomatic, but we’re paying close attention to what other leagues are doing.”
Silver was eager to note out the effectiveness of both the vaccination and booster doses, but he claimed another push for a leaguewide vaccine requirement hasn’t been addressed.
While San Francisco and New York have mandated vaccinations for players who play for teams in those cities — a decision that has kept Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving from playing in any home games this season — no other cities have followed suit, and the NBA has not reversed its mandate proposal to the NBA Players Association from before the season began.
When asked whether he had brought it up again, Silver said, “No.” “It’s something we suggested.” It’s something that the players’ union would be opposed to. Having said that, we’ve immunized around 97 percent of our players. So, from my perspective, I’d rather concentrate on the 97 percent than the 3%. And, coincidentally, many of the 3% have now been exposed to COVID, resulting in the development of antibodies.
“The emphasis, in my opinion, should be on boosters for the 97 percent of athletes who have already been vaccinated. As I previously said, among those players who are qualified to get boosters (since, as you know, there is a waiting time after your second shot), we are at 65 percent, and ideally, I’d want to see that figure rise to 97 percent. With the PA, we’re concentrating on that right now.”
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) released a statement Tuesday evening on the endeavor to deliver booster shots to players.
“Today, we committed to making booster shots more accessible to all qualified players, and the NBPA strongly encourages all of our players to get a booster injection as soon as possible,” the union stated.
In the meanwhile, clubs are scrambling to find replacement players, in many instances just to complete up their rosters and be able to participate in games. Silver conceded that it isn’t an ideal scenario, but that there isn’t much of an option for a league that wants to keep playing games in the midst of a pandemic that is still running across society.
Silver remarked, “I believe there’s an understanding that these are the cards we’ve been dealt.” “Of course, there is some injustice in playing with certain teams where specific players are out due to COVID procedures, but the other upside is that we have an 82-game season and a lengthy playoffs, and my guess is that things will work out by the end of the season.”
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The “adam silver height” is a recent statement made by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He said that there are no plans right now to pause the season amid COVID.
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