Report: Adam Silver Confident in NBA's Restart Despite Florida's COVID-19 Spike

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 21, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver unveils the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award during a news conference Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

Florida had more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, which set a one-day record for a state that now has nearly 94,000, per NBC South Florida

The state has seen a daily record high for each of the past three days, bringing cause for concern regarding the NBA's plan to finish its season out within a bubble-like setup at the Walt Disney World campus in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has expressed confidence in the league's plan to safely return to action following the league's suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, per Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe of ESPN:

"In at least one recent call with high-level team executives, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged the spiking numbers in Florida. Multiple team sources described the general tone of that call, including the questions asked of Silver on them, as tense. Another called Silver's tone 'resolute but somber.' He expressed a resolve to go on—a confidence in the NBA's bubble concept—while recognizing the seriousness of the coronavirus spike, sources said."

As Holmes and Lowe noted, the seriousness of the situation isn't lost on Silver and the NBA, and league spokesman Mike Bass issued a statement to ESPN on what the league is doing in light of the increased COVID-19 numbers:

"NBA spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN that the league is 'closely monitoring the data in Florida and Orange County and will continue to work collaboratively with the National Basketball Players Association, public health officials and medical experts regarding our plans.'"

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The NBA, which has been suspended since March 11, is scheduled to return for regular-season games on July 30. Teams will arrive in Florida a few weeks prior and play a few scrimmage games before heading back into official action.

The NBA has sent out a 113-page rulebook to teams regarding COVID-19 compliance. Per Jack Maloney of CBS Sports, the guide includes notes on testing, where players can and can't go, consequences for leaving the bubble setup, guidance on socializing with others and so on.

Each team will even have a designated "Disney meal team," which will "help design and create individual menus for teams and help facilitate any specific dietary needs."

The NBA is pulling out all of the stops to make this work inside the bubble, even if the state is seeing record numbers of COVID-19 cases. South Florida has seen the greatest spike, with Miami-Dade County having more than 25,000 cases, per NBC South Florida.

Orange County, where Disney World is located, saw its positive rate rise from 15.2 percent to 17.9 percent on Thursday to Friday, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.

Still, the NBA seems prepared, or as much as it can be, even going as far as giving players the option to wear smart-tech rings that may be able to detect COVID-19 symptoms up to three days before they appear, per Christopher Brito of CBS News.

The league is scheduled to begin the remainder of its regular season on July 30. Playoffs are set to start on August 17 and run through early-to-mid October depending on how long the NBA Finals run.

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