Silver explained the decision to suspend the 2019-20 season, saying, in part, "We made this decision to safeguard the health and well-being of fans, players, everyone connected to our game and the general public. This hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned."
He also said the league is coordinating with public health experts and government officials regarding the next steps.
The letter came after Silver joined TNT's Inside the NBA and said (h/t Bleacher Report's Howard Beck), "Of course, it's possible" when discussing the chances the season will not resume. "We just don't know more at this point."
He also explained why he suspended the season instead of outright canceling it: "This was a split-second decision. ... My thinking was, even if we're out for a month, even if we're out for six weeks ... it's way premature."
The World Health Organization has reported the coronavirus is responsible for the deaths of more than 4,600 people globally, per CNN. More than 124,500 people have been infected.
The NBA wasn't the only league that decided to suspend its season. The NHL and MLS also made the same decision, while Major League Baseball canceled spring training and delayed the start of its campaign.
Perhaps most notably, the NCAA canceled the men's and women's basketball tournaments.
There does seem to be some optimism in NBA circles that the league will eventually resume play. Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban appeared on ESPN's Get Up and said he believes such a result is more likely than an outright cancelation of the 2019-20 season.
What's more, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported some Los Angeles Lakers players felt that way following a conference call with general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Frank Vogel.