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The NBA is expected to allow players to stay home if they feel Orlando is unsafe

Players that don’t want to make the trip to Orlando won’t have to, but they might lose out on money.

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Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Over the past week, the NBA has made serious progress towards restarting its season, getting approval from the Board of Governors and Players’ Association. However, there are still hurdles that need to be cleared, and the most difficult ones relate to the health and safety of the 22 teams that will make the trip to Orlando.

While the NBA plans to take precautions that will make the campus-like environment in Orlando as safe as possible, some players aren’t convinced that it will be safe enough. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, “several dozen players” jumped on a conference call within the past 24 hours to talk discuss whether or not restart the season was a good idea.

In light of the players’ recent concerns, the NBA and NBPA are expected to negotiate a way for players to opt out of the remainder of the 2019-20 season:

The NBA and NBPA are expected to agree on a provision that wouldn’t require players to restart the season, nor subject them to discipline for staying home, sources said. The players would lose a portion of salary for those games missed.

The NBA and NBPA are nearing a final agreement on parameters of a return-to-play plan, sources said. Some players with hesitation have been discussing a number of issues, including family concerns, coronavirus risks, social justice and more.

We don’t know for a fact that this applies to anyone on the Lakers, but during a recent appearance on Yahoo Sports’ “Dunk Bait,” Matt Barnes said he’s heard “whispers” that a few players from the Lakers and Clippers don’t want the season to restart out of fear that it will take away from the ongoing civil rights movement in the country:

“Snoop hit me the other day talking about it, because I talked to a few guys — not to mention no names — and he said he had talked to a couple guys from the Lakers and the Clippers. There are some whispers some teams being comfortable: some guys want to play, some guys don’t want to play.”

Truth be told, it’s not anyone’s place to ask a player why they don’t feel comfortable going to Orlando to play basketball in the middle of a pandemic, or while there’s so much social unrest in the country. There are things much bigger than basketball, and both of the aforementioned things certainly qualify.

It’s good that the NBA has taken this step to protect its players, but this is just the beginning.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

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