The National Basketball Association (NBA) store is seen in Beijing on Oct 9, 2019. (GREG BAKER / AFP)
The NBA season could again be put on hold if there is a “significant spread” of COVID-19 among its players in Orlando, where the league is set to resume play on July 30 with no fans in attendance, commissioner Adam Silver said on Friday.
The NBA was the first major North American league to suspend its season in mid-March after a player tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It recently agreed a plan with its players to restart with 22 teams at Disney World in Florida.
But if the number of cases inside the NBA’s so-called “bubble” rises, “that may lead us to stopping” play
Adam Silver, NBA commissioner
But if the number of cases inside the NBA’s so-called “bubble” rises, “that may lead us to stopping” play, Silver told ESPN.
Silver said the record number of cases in Florida recently has raised the level of concern but added that the use of the campus - where players will live, practise and play - is designed to limit risk of exposure to the surrounding community.
READ MORE: NBA targets July 31 restart
Silver made the remarks after the NBA reported that 16 out of 302 players tested for COVID-19 on June 23 had tested positive. The league did not disclose the identities of the players.
The new infections came on the same day when Florida reported a record of almost 9,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours.
Jabari Parker and Alex Len of the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon were confirmed on Wednesday to have tested positive, though it was not immediately clear when their tests took place.
Kings forward Parker said in a team statement that he had received the diagnosis “several days ago.”
“Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician,” the National Basketball Association said in a statement.
The NBA and its players’ union said on Friday that they had approved plans to resume the season on July 30 at Disney World in Florida.
Under the plan, 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams will play eight seeding games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format and crown a champion in October.
Players would be living, practicing and playing at the Disney resort to minimize the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
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