Earlier this month, the NBA got approval from the Board of Governors and the Players’ Association to proceed with its plan to resume the 2019-20 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. Since then, the league has been working to try and iron out the details, but some of the issues they’ve faced have demanded more attention than others.
According to multiple reports, there are players that aren’t comfortable with finishing the season because of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing fight against racially-motivated police brutality in the United States. Of note, Lakers center Dwight Howard has publicly stated that he thinks the NBA should cancel the season.
Whether or not that happens will depend on the conversations the NBA has with its players over the next several weeks, but according to a report by Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league is expected to have enough support to resume the season:
ESPN’s reporting with players, agents, the NBPA and league officials over the weekend found no indication that the NBA’s return is in jeopardy — or that there’s even a significant group of players ready to sit out.
There are expected to be some players who decide not to play, sources said, but so far there’s no indication that it’s enough to compromise the league’s plans to return, which have already been approved by the owners (29-1) and team representatives (28-0).
If that holds true, the next dominoes to fall will be the players that decide to stay home.
The NBA has tentative plans to allow teams to fill out their rosters during a transaction window from June 22 to July 1. The Lakers don’t currently have an open roster spot, but that could change if Howard or someone else on the team sits out for the remainder of the season.
The difficult decisions that players will be forced make within the next month or so will be made because of things that are bigger than basketball, but that doesn’t mean they won’t affect what happens on the court. We’ll just have to wait and see how much those decisions affect the Lakers, if at all.