Windhorst: NBA Execs 'Exasperated' and Can't Believe Season Isn't Paused amid COVIDDecember 28, 2021
NBA executives are reportedly "exasperated" with the league's decision to not pause the regular season amid widespread COVID-19 cases.
"As I talked to league executives, like, they are exasperated," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast (9:20). "They, on one hand, can't believe the NBA is not pausing. On the other hand, they admit there's no thought of a pause going forward and we will just go through these games and we will hold our nose and hope for the wave to get over."
The NBA has been overrun with positive COVID-19 cases, leading to several postponements and teams playing with bare-bones rosters. Several teams have been forced into signing players to 10-day contracts under hardship exemptions just to have the necessary eight players to compete.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league does not see the "logic" behind pausing the regular season.
"No plans right now to pause the season," Silver told Malika Andrews on ESPN's NBA Today last week. "We have of course looked at all the options, but frankly we are having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now.
"As we look through these cases literally ripping through the country, let alone the rest of the world, I think we're finding ourselves where we sort of knew we were going to get to over the past several months, and that is this virus will not be eradicated, and we're going to have to learn to live with it. I think that's what we're experiencing in the league right now."
The NBA's response contrasts to that of the NHL, which went on pause Dec. 22 ahead of the Christmas holiday and will return Tuesday. It's unclear when the games that were pushed back by the NHL will be made up.
All sports leagues have incentive to get their full regular seasons in to satisfy terms of their television contracts, along with generating revenue from gate receipts. After having two straight seasons interrupted by COVID-19, the NBA appears to be determined to keep business running for a full 82-game slate in 2021-22.