The NBA has in Orlando on July 30, and those plans have already been approved the Board of Governors and the National Basketball Players Association. However, in light of recent events with the coronavirus — particularly in Orlando — and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, some players aren’t keen on the idea of finishing the season.
Among those players are Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, and according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski Malika Andrews of ESPN, both players have emerged as the leading voices of a new player coalition that wants to re-visit the NBA’s tentative plans to restart the season:
Irving and Bradley, two of a number of veteran players who’ve taken expanded roles in organizing player conference calls in the past week, believe they’re providing a voice for those players fearing retribution if they openly voice their concerns, sources tell ESPN.
Irving, Bradley and the coalition of players want to pursue some concerns further with the league, sources said, including: the investment of resources and ideas of all league constituencies — from the commissioner’s office, ownership level, management and players association — in social justice reform.
Among concerns surrounding the league’s return-to-play after a three-month shutdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said the coalition is citing : a surge in positive coronavirus cases in Florida, conditions surrounding the restrictive environment in the bubble, insurance and liabilities for players based on possible sicknesses, and injuries in a truncated finish to the season.
In an earlier report on Monday, Wojnarowski and his colleague Ramona Shelburne reported that — as things stand — the number of players that want to sit out isn’t enough for the season to be in jeopardy, but that doesn’t mean the concerns of those players don’t have to be met. For example, if a player is on the fence about going to Orlando, conversations between the league and this coalition could increase the likelihood of said player making the trip and competing.
More than that, though: the conversations that will be had over the next month (assuming that they’ll be had at all) will be crucial to helping the league understand where some of its players are coming from, and hopefully lead them to make a more informed decision about their plan to restart the season. Stay tuned to this page for updates.