Commissioner Adam Silver: "No Plans To Pause The Season"

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took all the tough questions as he appeared on NBA Today Tuesday afternoon on ESPN. 

With well over 100 players entering health & safety protocols in the month of December—compared to a total of just 17 throughout October/November—will he be pausing the season to deal with the overwhelming surge of COVID-19 around the country, and throughout players in the league?

"No plans right now to pause the season," said Silver. "We've looked at all the options, but frankly, we're having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now."

Silver said that over 90% of the player cases are the new, rapidly spreading omicron variant. "This virus will not be eradicated and we're going to have to learn to live with it," added Silver. "It seems for us that the right and responsible thing to do - taking all the factors into consideration - is to continue to play." 

He explained that 97% of NBA players are vaccinated, and 65% have had their 3rd (booster) dose, well above the national average. He noted the fact that "the boosters are highly effective", and that "a very small number" of those boosted players have tested positive. Perhaps the league, Silver said, can show the way for the rest of society.

With all of the replacement players being signed under the "hardship" clause, and many teams' lineups being unrecognizable, is he concerned about competitive integrity? 

"I think there's a real sense of brotherhood among the guys in this league, there's a sense of partnership among the teams, and there's a broader responsibility.... Our ability to find a way to keep operating is significant for society—there are ways, in this covid era, that we can find a safe and responsible way to keep going.

"We do have an 82-game season, and a long playoffs, and my sense is that things will work out by the end of the season." 

As for shortening the time that vaccinated, asymptomatic players must be out of the lineup, he pointed to the medical community suggesting that they might be able to move away from the 10-day protocol for these cases—that these people might not be shedding the virus as long as the unvaccinated or symptomatic. 

"We are actively looking at shortening the amount of days that a player is out before he can return to the floor."