Sources: NBA preps players for no fans next year

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver prepared players for a potentially grim landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting the league is preparing for the possibility of no fans in arenas through next season — which projections say would cost the league 40 percent of its revenue, sources told ESPN.

Silver spent an hour Friday on an NBPA conference call that included him telling players that one or two sites for a return to play this season — including Orlando and Las Vegas — made the most sense, and that no decision on the league season needed to be made before June, sources said.

Silver expressed a desire that the NBA complete its season with a traditional playoff structure that includes seven-game series in each round of the playoffs, but left open the possibility of play-in tournaments to accommodate more teams in a shortened season resumption.

Silver said the NBA’s hope would be that players who’d test positive for the virus wouldn’t require the shutting down of a team, but just the removal of a player amid constant testing of those who had come into contact with him, sources said.

NBPA President Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Executive Director Michele Roberts asked Silver to remind teams that they were not allowed to pressure players to show up at voluntary workouts at team facilities, sources said. Silver said, if that was happening, it was “disheartening” and assured them that teams would be reminded.

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