The Player’s Association held a call with all players to talk about the NBA’s decision to open up training facilities. Adam Silver joined the call to answer questions and explain the status quo. In that call, we found out several important data points.
Whenever basketball returns, be it the ‘19/’20 or ‘20/’21 season, no fans will probably be allowed until there’s a vaccine. The NBA makes about 40% of its revenue from fans. While TV money is a significant part of the pie chart, Silver pointed this out to signal that the CBA will probably have to be renegotiated, and everyone will have to make concessions.
When it comes to players returning to training facilities, NBPA President Chris Paul and Vice President Kyrie Irving informed the commissioner that some players have been feeling pressure from teams to workout in the facilities. Silver said that should not be the case, and they should contact the League Office and the NBAPA if such incidents happen again.
Returning to facilities is a big topic now, not just as a fairness issue – not all states are loosening up restrictions. But even in states that made it possible, some players don’t see the point. C.J. McCollum made his feelings known.
“I get the measures [the league is] taking, but you have to think at some point when there are drastic measures that need to be taken, ‘Is it really worth it?’ It’s either safe or it’s not. … And let’s just be honest, man, it’s not like it will be the first time players got gym access outside of the team’s facilities. Some people have been working out, if we’re being honest.”CJ McCollum, Yahoo Sports
The NBA allowed reopening their facilities in states that are making it possible but set a lot of rules on how it’s to be done. The number of assistant and development coaches is limited to 6; the head coach can’t participate. The number of people in the facility is limited as well, making the whole thing very challenging. In addition to all this, some owners wouldn’t open up their facilities even if they could.
“The problem, obviously, is that because we can’t test people, then we can’t assure anybody’s safety whether they’re basketball players or anybody else. Even though we can try to take all different kinds of precautions, it’s just not worth it — particularly when our guys are staying in shape and they’re going outside and shooting on outdoor hoops and working out in various ways. So, I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward.”Mark Cuban, Yahoo Sports
All roads lead back to testing. One of the things Adam Silver told on the previously mentioned call that a three to six week ramp-up period is to be expected if the season would return. We now see that even that ramp-up won’t be viable until enough testing is allowed to make coming to training facilities sensible.
Cuban and McCollum reminded us we shouldn’t assume all players and owners think alike and are eager to return. Once there is a solution on the horizon, there will be those who still feel the risk-reward isn’t worth it. We have a long road ahead.