Adam Silver on NBA Restart: “It May Not Be for Everyone”

Silver said players will not be in breach of contract if they skip the league's Orlando reboot

Adam Silver on NBA Restart: "It May Not Be for Everyone"
NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a preseason press conference. (Takashi Aoyama/Getty)
Getty Images

As a growing number of his league’s members voice concerns about restarting the season, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said players will not be in breach of contract if they skip the league’s Orlando reboot at the end of July at Disney World.

“I can only say, it may not be for everyone,” Silver said on ESPN. “It will entail enormous sacrifice on behalf of those players and for everyone involved, the coaches, the referees. Listen, it’s not an ideal situation. We’re trying to find a way to our own normal in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of essentially a recession or worse with 40 million unemployed. And now with enormous social unrest in the country. So as we work through these issues, I can understand how some players may feel that it’s not for them … My sense is, we’re going to be able to work through most of those issues during the next few weeks, but as I’ve said, we also have an arrangement with the player’s association where if a player chooses not to come, it’s not a breach of his contract. We accept that.”

Per the NBA’s plan, the league’s suspended season will begin again on July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando with 22 teams playing an eight-game slate of matchups that will determine playoff seeding.

Prior to Silver’s remarks, a coalition of players led by Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving and LA Lakers veteran Avery Bradley released a lengthy statement airing their concerns about returning to play.

“We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions,” the statement reads in part. “This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse.”

While the coalition’s motivations seem genuine and just, it is a little confusing that the league’s planned restart, which was being formulated long before the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s death and was approved by league player reps including Irving himself, has wound up in the group’s crosshairs.

Former Boston Celtic Kendrick Perkins shared his theory for why Irving went from approving the planned to restart to trashing it in the span of a little more than a week during an appearance on “Golic and Wingo.

“What changed over the last nine, 10 days?”  he said. “What changed was – from what I strongly believe and what I heard – is that the NBA and the players’ association told Kyrie that, no, you can’t go [to Orlando].”

Irving was not going to play in the restart after having shoulder surgery in March and it seems logical the league would find it an unnecessary health risk for him to attend due to COVID-19 concerns.

Retired NBA veteran Matt Barnes shared a similar take on his podcast.

“Kyrie needs to quit bullshitting,” Barnes said. “Kyrie wanted to go to Orlando to support his team, they didn’t let him. So then he flipped the script, talking about I’m gonna give up everything. Bro, you can give up everything and go do the Maya Moore shit if you really want to. But at the same time, sitting out without a cause or a purpose defeats the purpose.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!