Woj: Ex-US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Gave NBA Hope of Playing Before July

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2020

Fiserv Forum stands Thursday March 12, 2020, in Milwaukee. The NBA has suspended its season. The Milwaukee Bucks had been scheduled to play the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at the arena. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

The NBA may be able to resume play before July if things break right with the spread of the coronavirus.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA's Board of Governors spoke with former United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who told owners of the catastrophic potential of the pandemic but also gave them "hope" the season could resume by the summer.

On March 11, the league announced it was suspending play until further notice after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. One night later, Commissioner Adam Silver said the suspension would last for at least 30 days.

"We don't know enough," Silver told Inside the NBA in a live interview that night. "We wanted to give direction to our players and teams and to our fans that this is going to be roughly at least a month."

Silver published a letter to fans Thursday night that said the league intended to resume if and when "it becomes safe for all concerned."

That 30-day timeline was thrown into doubt days later when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against holding any events or group gatherings of 50 or more for the next eight weeks. Even without fans, the number of people necessary to host a game—from players to coaching staffs, referees, scoreboard operators and television crews—would be well over that number.

As of Tuesday morning, COVID-19 has continued to spread worldwide, with 184,976 cases around the globe resulting in 7,529 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, 3,536 cases have been confirmed with 58 deaths.

Tuesday afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets announced four players had tested positive for the coronavirus. Among them is Kevin Durant, who is asymptomatic and urged caution.

"Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine," Durant said, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. "We're going to get through this."

With no certain timeline for the NBA to resume play, the league is planning to increase its credit line from $650 million to $1.2 billion to increase cash flow, per Wojnarowski.

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