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NBA commissioner Adam Silver may not envision fans in arenas for some time.
Though in-arena spectators bring in approximately 40% of the NBA's revenue, Silver prepared players Friday for the possibility of playing behind closed doors next season if a coronavirus vaccine remains unavailable, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"Until there's a vaccine, or some cocktail preventing people from dying from the virus, we are going to be dealing with this collectively," Silver said in audio obtained by Wojnarowski. "The ultimate issue is how much risk we're all comfortable taking."
The NBA is reportedly supporting medical research that may assist efforts to find a vaccine. However, Silver relayed that the league projects a one-year timetable before one is available, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Silver addressed NBA players in a conference call hosted by him and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. When Roberts asked Silver about the financial impact of the league's indefinite hiatus on both players and the league, he said the current collective bargaining agreement "was not built for extended pandemics," Wojnarowski notes.
The league's current CBA took effect in July 2017 and runs through the 2023-24 season, though either the players or the NBA can exercise an opt-out clause after 2022-23, according to CBA FAQ. The agreement, however, contains little on how to navigate the current situation, as no NBA campaign had ever been suddenly suspended midseason.
One provision that does apply to the hiatus is the force majeure clause, which allows the league to withhold a percentage of players' salaries due to an extraordinary event out of the NBA's control, such as the ongoing pandemic. However, the league announced in April that it had reached an agreement with the union on reducing player compensation should the rest of the 2019-20 season be canceled.