The NBA hopes to play the 20-21 season with some level of fans in attendance, but Adam Silver conceded a vaccine is unlikely to be available by the start of the season.
Silver said advancements in rapid testing and safety protocols can allow some fans back into buildings.
"Based on everything I’ve read, there’s almost no chance that there will be a vaccine, at least that is widely distributed, before we start the next season," said Silver. "So I do not see the development of a vaccine as a prerequisite. My sense is that with rapid testing, if you — it may not be that we’ll have 19,000 people in the building, we’ll see, but that with appropriate protocols in terms of distancing and with advanced testing that you will be able to bring fans back into arenas.
"Again, it’s early days. You know, and many of these decisions — to the earlier question about what’s Canada going to do, we also have to deal with state by state and in some cases city by city restrictions on how many people can gather, as well. Again, I’m hopeful that based on what we’re learning, based on protocols, based on testing, we will be able to have games with fans next season prior to full distribution of a vaccine."
The NBA is unlikely to start the season until January at the earliest.