SEVENTY-TWO HOURS before the NBA shuttered its practice facilities to players, Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly decided to streamline rounds of telephone conversations and text messages with his front office peers into a conference call. Most executives were working out of their homes, crisis managers on the front line for families and franchises.
Eleven executives were on the call, including the Golden State Warriors' Bob Myers, who received word of a San Francisco shelter in place order moments before dialing in. Commissioner Adam Silver had been talking with the board of governors, discussing the health and financial implications of a long NBA hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic -- including the possibility of enforcing the force majeure provision in the collective bargaining agreement, which would allow owners to withhold players' salaries for canceled games.
The league's top basketball executives found themselves in an unfamiliar crisis yet still working amid a familiar middle ground between the owners and players and between the league's establishment of guidelines and front offices' execution of them within organizations.
As games stopped and a restless country moved closer to the full wrath of the coronavirus pandemic, silos of executives with contenders and non-contenders, big market and small market, huddled close together.
"There's an overwhelming sense of fraternity," Connelly told ESPN. "It isn't about competition right now but what's best for the NBA."