Portland Trail Blazers: Impacts of Adam Silver’s conference call with NBPA

Adam Silver, NBA. Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Adam Silver, NBA. Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

Adam Silver and the NBPA had a conference call relating to the future of the NBA in 2019-20 and beyond. Here’s how the Portland Trail Blazers could be impacted.

Late last night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) held a conference call to discuss the idea of just how the NBA season could look upon return. Facing the daunting task of atoning for the potential loss of money and time already lost, Silver referred to it as the “single greatest challenge in all our lives.” As it relates to the Portland Trail Blazers, there’s much to takeaway.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided the full slate of how this could work out. Sifting through, these are some of the things worth knowing right away for Portland:

Silver remains optimistic that the NBA can complete this season with full best-of-7 series across the board. But, if that doesn’t happen, he’s suggested the idea of a play-in tournament. For a team like the Blazers — 29-37, and knocking on the door of the No. 8 seed — this is refreshing to hear.

On the flip side, teams on the “bubble,” though, are in the worst position of all. As we get further into the waiting period, those teams could have their chances of fighting for the No. 8 seed taken away, something Silver alluded to.

To this point, the Blazers have had a tougher schedule than Memphis, so it would certainly be a cause for negative chatter. It could also mean Portland is locked in “no man’s land,” with no chance of — excuse me — tanking into a higher seed, and also no chance of making the postseason.

Silver says he expects that players will need at least three-to-six weeks to prepare for a season’s return.

If that sounds like a lot of time, remember that players like CJ McCollum have readily admitted they haven’t had access to shooting an actual basketball in two months. It could set the NBA up to court up in the summer.

McCollum, the President of the NBPA, actually doubled-down on those comments, though, with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, saying he doubted that was the case for many players, though.

"“… And let’s just be honest, man, it’s not like it will be the first time players got gym access outside of the team’s facilities. Some people have been working out, if we’re being honest.”"

Haynes made a great point on why Portland, especially, would have reason to be the most cautious. Each of the team’s best players is dealing with losses within the family (although causes are not known).

With health at the forefront of the priorities, Portland could be forced to sacrifice much of what makes its engine go — its home crowd. In the Lillard era, the Blazers are 221-100 at the Moda Center / Rose Garden, the equivalent of a 56-win team. In last night’s conference call, Silver announced that the NBA was preparing for no fans until 2021.

For 2019-20, the NBA could resume at a neutral location like Disney World in Orlando, or in Las Vegas. In terms of the future, Shams Charania of The Athletic also jumped in, noting that the NBA could start that 2020-21 season on Christmas Day.

The Blazers are one of the first teams to open facilities, which, big picture, is sort of a mixed bag. Earlier this week, Oregon’s governor announced that sports will be cancelled for the summer and most of the fall, a dynamic Stevie Cozens expanded upon recently.

Related Story. Oregon governor says no crowds for sports until October. light

And then, there’s the faraway idea of how this impacts free agency for the Portland Trail Blazers. Silver said that fans account for 40 percent of the revenue — which suggests perhaps gate revenue, like merchandise — but the pandemic figures to bite into that too.

The current cap was set at $109.1, but now, as Tim Daniels of B/R reports, the NBA could be facing its third salary cap drop in league history.

Now would be the ideal time to be a team such as the Atlanta Hawks or Memphis Grizzlies, two of the teams with the most cap space in 2020-21, as well as plenty of young talent. The Blazers have many of their best players locked in to lucrative deals, and already come in having invested $107 million.

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This new conference call helps to shed some light on how things could operate in the future. The pandemic ensures no team, or no person for that matter, is in an ideal situation. But as it relates to the Portland Trail Blazers, there’s a lot to like, but also a lot to be worried about, too.