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Report: NBA's 'Biggest Issue' for Season Restart Is Number of Tests for COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 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)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly said Tuesday during a conference call with the league's Board of Governors he wants to make a final decision about whether to resume or cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season within the next month.

Shams Charania of The Athletic provided details from the call, which focused on reiterating that safety remains the top priority despite the serious financial implications of ending the season without crowning a champion.

"The biggest issue is the number of tests, and we can't take tests from those who need it," an NBA source told Charania.

Silver explained the chief idea right now is playing games in a pair of neutral-site locations, likely Las Vegas and the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida, without a true lockdown environment, per Charania. Instead, players would be allowed freedom of movement but get tested each time they return.

Although both the players and owners are "hopeful" of returning to action in time to save the campaign, which was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the commissioner doesn't want to operate on an indefinite timeline with the sole purpose of finishing the season.

"For owners and executives, the belief is that a decision on whether or not to play out the season can't be delayed into July," Charania wrote. "Silver and the NBA want to make the most educated decision, and this timetable allows the league to push off a decision into mid-June, which would make it roughly three months from the league's suspension."

Silver said in April the "underlying principle remains the health and well-being of NBA players and everyone involved."

"Based on the reports that we got from varied outside officials, current public health officials ... we are not in a position to make any decisions," Silver told reporters last month. "And it's unclear when we will be."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is among the players who've spoken out about the desire to finish the season:

LeBron James @KingJames

Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. 👑

The Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in NBA when play was stopped, followed by James' Lakers (49-14), reigning champion Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

Teams had between 15 and 19 games left in the regular season at the time of the suspension.

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