Woj: NBA Faces 'Really Dire' Financial Situation Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference at the United Center on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday the NBA faces a "really dire" financial outlook because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has halted play since March 11.

Wojnarowski noted the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have accepted fans won't be in attendance if the 2019-20 season eventually resumes, but if the stands remain empty when next season begins, the sides may be forced to "reconfigure the elements of the CBA," with small-market teams most impacted.

Here are his full comments on the situation:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with players Friday that included questions about how the league could return to play and a breakdown of the "financial realities of future salary caps and basketball-related income," per Wojnarowski.

"This could turn out to be the single greatest challenge of all our lives," Silver said on the call.

He also explained the league viewed a plan of neutral-site games, with teams likely stationed in either Las Vegas or Orlando, as the most logical way to finish the current season, per Wojnarowski.

"There's no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there's not going to be fans," Silver said. "We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start."

The commissioner didn't provide a firm timetable for a resumption of play, but he confirmed the start of the 2020-21 season could be pushed to December from October.

Last week, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne the idea of "bubble" cities to play the remainder of this year's games was met with "consternation" given the players' limited freedom and time to see their families under the plan.

"Are we going to arm guards around the hotel?" Roberts said. "That sounds like incarceration to me."

She confirmed the sides will have to work together to find a potentially difficult solution.

"This is a world with the virus," Roberts said. "And we have to figure out a way to work, play and live in a world with the virus. The questions have now evolved from, 'Are we going to play again?' to, 'If we play, what are the risks going to look like?'"

While the long-awaited answers remain elusive, it's clear that the longer the NBA goes without fans in attendance, the tougher the back-end financial decisions will be for the league and its players.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.