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Inside Adam Silver’s COVID Playbook

Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone gives insight into what the commissioner is thinking right now.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

As the NBA handles a large number of players entering coronavirus protocols just ahead of its Christmas Day slate of games, fans have been wondering if and when the league will pause due to the rising number of cases. Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone takes a deep look at the behind-the-scenes around the league, including insight into what, exactly, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is considering as omicron washes over the league.

According to a person with direct knowledge of Silver’s thinking, the commissioner has confronted this month’s 100-plus new cases — and counting — by trying not to make up precedents on the fly. Silver, this high-level source tells Rolling Stone, knows he could be criticized even more for inventing parameters for a return-to-play than for believing in a vaccine mandate: “Just as there’s no magic playbook to when you shut down the season, there’s no playbook for when you come back. He has a rulebook right now, and his rulebook says that if you have eight players, you play.”

Despite the existence of this rulebook, Sullivan’s source says that Silver remains flexible.

“That doesn’t mean things won’t change in two days,” the source adds, citing Silver’s adaptive deliberations over an emergency work stoppage. “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It was an easier call when nobody really knew what Covid was and people were dying — but Adam is not going to jeopardize his players for a quick buck.”

According to Sullivan’s source, Silver has been watching the NHL’s response closely.

You can read the entire piece here.