Two NBA players on the Utah Jazz – Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – tested positive for coronavirus, and the league on Wednesday suspended operations.
In his first public comments since the announcement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday the shutdown would last at least 30 days.
The NBA has a month remaining in its regular season before the playoffs are scheduled to begin April 18.
What's next? The NBA conducted another conference call with Silver, owners and top league executives Thursday afternoon to discuss more options and scenarios.
Some questions the NBA is confronting:
What are the Jazz and teams the Jazz have played recently doing?
The Jazz are quarantined, and the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors – who have played the Jazz within the past nine days – are also in quarantine or self-isolation. The New York Knicks have not released a statement and did not have an answer when USA TODAY Sports asked what precautions the team had taken for players and staff.
The Raptors have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days and members of the team’s traveling party have been tested for the virus. The Celtics said they will self-quarantine through the weekend and test, and the Pistons will self-quarantine until further notice.
What can other players and teams do during the hiatus?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the league told teams they could still hold practice and treat players for injuries. Late Thursday, the Mavericks issued a statement and said they were shutting down all team activities. And during his comments Thursday night, Silver said teams could not practice.
Teams are expected to receive more guidance from the league regarding where players should go (some live in cities outside their market) and how to stay in shape.
The Denver Nuggets decided to shut down their facility for the next three-four days and are asking everyone to self-quarantine. The Chicago Bulls also stopped basketball operations activities "for the next few days as a proactive measure to social distance."
Some teams are also scheduled to meet with players for updates, and other teams have told employees they can work from home.
When will the season restart?
Great question, and top officials, including Silver and owners, are trying to figure that out. As the league has done from the start of this outbreak, it is in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and infectious disease experts. The league will use their guidance to determine when and if the season resumes. A lot will depend on the extent of the outbreak.
Is it possible the league doesn’t resume this season?
Sure, it’s possible, but the goal is to finish the season and crown a champion, even if that means an abbreviated and/or extended season. The league has played shortened seasons before in lockout years – 66 games in 2011-12 and 50 games in 1998-99. But those were labor issues. This is a much more extraordinary and unprecedented situation.
The NBA is not operating with the same luxury of time as the NFL or even Major League Baseball, which canceled the remainder of spring training and delayed Opening Day, but it does have some time before it gets to a point where it has to cancel the season.
The league could always move back the start of the playoffs, which would push back other key events, such as the draft, start of free agency and the Las Vegas Summer League. And to expedite the playoffs, the league could go back to best-of-5 series in the first round.
The NBA would like to avoid a worst-case scenario.
And there are the Tokyo Olympics and the USA Basketball roster to consider, if the Summer Games take place. But that's a secondary issue. The Olympics are July 24-Aug. 9, and USA Basketball usually names its 12-man roster just before the scheduled mini-camp in Las Vegas in early July.
Some players, such as Pau Gasol, expressed concern about playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics because of Zika virus. It's feasible more players will be concerned about playing if the coronavirus outbreak hasn't slowed.
What are the financial ramifications?
The league and its teams could lose hundreds of millions of dollars on top of the "less than $400 million," Silver said the league is expected to lose over the China fallout. There could be a significant impact on basketball-related income, which sets the salary cap for the 2020-21 season. It would be even more significant if the NBA lost TV revenue from no playoff games.
"So much of the value of NBA broadcast, for example, are back-loaded in the playoffs. So we don’t quite know yet where that will come out,” Silver said at All-Star Weekend a month ago.
The projected salary cap for next season took a minor dip compared to the previous projection but a significant loss of revenue from games and TV could put a bigger dent into that amount.
Using rudimentary math based on the average price of a ticket, an NBA game generates $1.29 million in ticket sales. With 259 games remaining, that's about $330 million in ticket revenue.
Could players lose money?
Short answer: yes. ESPN’s Bobby Marks pointed out an article in the term of agreement section of the NBA/NBPA collective bargaining agreement which states, “each player who was on the roster of a Team that was unable to play one or more games during the Force Majeure Period shall be reduced by 1/92.6th of the player’s Compensation for the Season(s) covering the Force Majeure Period."
Epidemics are listed as a "force majeure event."
All involved parties want to avoid that.
Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter.