As the NBA gets closer to its target date to restart the season, players are starting to grow weary about idea of returning to the court because of the growing cases of the coronavirus in Orlando and the ongoing fight for racial equality in the United States, among other things.
For that reason, players including Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley have taken it upon themselves to speak up for the players that still have questions about the NBA’s plan to play in Orlando. While it’s unclear what the end result will be, it’s unlikely that it will be a cancellation of the 2019-20 season, and LeBron James is a big reason as to why.
According to a report from Mark Medina and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, James will have the support of the NBA if he decides he wants to finish the season:
While the NBA and players have issues to resolve, two people familiar with talks between the two sides told USA TODAY Sports they expect to find common ground and play the season. Another person told USA TODAY Sports that as long as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James still wants to resume the season, he will have the support of most players. The people were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the sensitive nature of these discussions.
This mirrors the message LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley sent out on Twitter on Sunday, although the intentions behind Beverley’s unprompted endorsement of James remain unclear.
James hasn’t outright said that he wants to play — at least not since the NBA started seeing pushback from players — but there have multiple been reports that the Lakers’ star forward doesn’t want the season to be cancelled because he believes he can still make a social impact while playing. In other words, if we’re to believe everything that has leaked out over the last week or so, there will be a season.
Now, the hope is that through having conversations with the players that don’t want to play, the NBA will make players feel comfortable with staying home, or safer in the bubble environment in Orlando. That might not apply to James, but it does apply to a pair of key players on his team in Bradley and Dwight Howard.