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Silver says NBA will do well financially in the face of pandemic


PHOENIX — The NBA may emerge from the pandemic on a better financial footing than previously anticipated, though commissioner Adam Silver warned Tuesday that it was too early to declare things completely normal.

Silver said in his annual pre-NBA Finals news conference that he believes the league coped with the pandemic and all that comes with it – including little revenue from a lack of fans over the past 15 months – relatively well. Even he was surprised to see that many teams were able to build entire buildings during the playoffs.

“Financially, for the season, without getting particularly involved, we did something better than we initially anticipated,” Silver said.

Silver had said that a reduction in in-game revenue — ticket sales, discounts, food and the like — could mean the league would see a 40% drop in that cash stream. But, partly because some arenas were having fans later in the regular season and then selling more than 1 million tickets to playoff games, the drop could be closer to 33%.

“No question, the league will suffer significant losses over the last two years,” Silver said. “I will say though, I am not here to complain. Speaking only for our team owners, they see this as a long-term investment in the league and very essential to keep these organizations running. And by the way It was a shared sacrifice by our players as well.”

The players took a “significant cut” in pay this season, Silver said, something that was negotiated by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. The hit would have spread over several seasons.

The league – which estimated its losses from last season at $1.5 billion in revenue – plans to return to normal this fall, with the season starting in mid-October and likely to have a normal 82-game period. The number of games is still in question as the play-in tournament has not officially returned for next season, although it was long expected that the league’s board of governors would continue to pursue it.

“If things stay on track and we can move to a new season next year that looks like normal, we’ll be able to handle that very well,” Silver said.

Silver touched on many other issues, including:

injuries

Silver said the league is concerned about the number of injuries, something that has been blamed in some circles by this season’s narrowed 72-game season, as well as short layoffs for some teams between last season and this one.

Silver said none of those reasons can be pinpointed as an absolute reason, and the NBA doesn’t know why this is happening.

Will try to find out in the coming months.

“I have no doubt that the added stress, again physical and emotional, contributes to the injuries on them,” Silver said. “None of this is exact science. As you all know, this is something that, even pre-Covid, we were very focused in the league. We focus on injury prevention to people in particular. Let’s keep to focus. Exactly why we hurt is still not clear to us. This is something we will continue to study in the off season. Unfortunately, the trend line has been going up for the past several years. has been.”

The 82-game season isn’t set in stone even further.

“We’ve had this 82-game season for more than 50 years,” Silver said. “I mean, 82 is optimal? You know, it’s interesting. During the pandemic we got this experiment at 72. Everyone thought it was the cure-all, if we just lost 10 games out of the season. I mean There are obviously injuries, so it wasn’t like that.”

Game 7 of the NBA Finals, if necessary, is July 22. Training camp for next season is set to begin on September 28, meaning it is possible that Milwaukee and Phoenix will return 68 days after the end of camp. Final.

Last season’s finalists, the champions Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, had 51 days between the end of the 2020 Finals and the start of this season’s training camp – 72 days after the Lakers won the title in a restart bubble with this season’s game schedule At Walt Disney World.

“Was the burden on the teams that went to the playoffs and finals last year? Absolutely,” Silver said.

Raptors Future

The Toronto Raptors have not played a match in Canada since February 2020. Silver said he hopes to change that this fall.

The NBA still isn’t sure if the Raptors — who played this season in Tampa, Florida — will be going home, but there is optimism that it will be for next season.

“I know it’s incredibly meaningful to the team,” Silver said. “I think being relocated for the season put an extra burden on the Raptors than any other team. But we hope the team will be back if things continue as we’re seeing in Canada now.” .

Diversity

The NBA has hired four minority coaches in recent days, including Jason Kidd in Dallas, the Chancey Billups in Portland, Ime Udoka in Boston and Nate McMillan in Atlanta with interim titles ousted.

This means there are currently 10 out of 27 Black coaches in the league; Three posts are incomplete.

“In terms of Black coaches, obviously we’ve seen a positive development in terms of the number of vacancies,” Silver said. “I would say that not unlike many organizations that deal with diversity issues, it is something that needs daily attention. So again, positive movement in that direction, but we are not going to rest on our reputation there. “

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