The NBA plans to restart its season in Orlando on July 30, but before games are played again, there a few things that needed to be sorted, and chief among them is the players that will be making the trip to Orlando.
We know that 22 teams will travel to Orlando for an eight-game regular season, but there is less certainty around which players plan to join their team in light of the recent concerns expressed by players including Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard. If players do decide to stay home, they’ll lose out on money, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be penalized by the league beyond that.
In an interview with Mike Greenberg on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Monday evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that he supports every players’ decision to stay home, and that their decision wouldn’t affect their contract:
“My sense is, we’re going to be able to work through most of those issues during the next few weeks, but as I’ve said, we also have an arrangement with the player’s association where if a player chooses not to come, it’s not a breach of his contract. We accept that.”
In addition, there will be a select group of players that won’t have to take pay cuts if they stay home, according to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic on Tuesday.
Sources: Two categories of non-participating NBA players who will not have their salary reduced: “Protected Players” and “Excused Players,” whom are believed to be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 from team/experts. June 25 deadline for excused absence.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
The players that are considering staying home will have to make that tough choice sooner rather than later. According to Charania, the NBA has told players to decide whether or not they’re going to play by June 24, which is a week from Wednesday.
NBA players have been notified that any player who chooses not to play in resumed 2019-20 season must notify his team by June 24, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Compensation would be reduced by 1/92.6 for each game missed.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
That date aligns with the NBA’s rumored transaction window, which is expected to open “around June 22,” according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. At that time, all 30 teams will be able to make changes to their roster, but the most consequential roster movement will be among the 22 teams that will compete in Orlando, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA season may still be more than a month away, but things are already starting to take shape. We’ll see where the Lakers fit into all of this in about a week.