Leading up to the NBA’s opt out deadline on June 24, the two biggest question marks for the Los Angeles Lakers are Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard. Both players have been outspoken about their reservations with restarting the season in Orlando, with their shared main concern being the NBA’s role in the ongoing social justice movement in the United States.
Is the NBA going to do anything to benefit the Black Lives Matter movement, or will it just be a distraction? — and if it’s the former, how does the league plan on doing that? They’re all valid questions, and they’ll have to be answered before the season resumes. However, the NBA has more time to sort that out than players have to decide whether or not they’re going to make the trip to Orlando with their respective teams.
On Tuesday, the NBA sent out a memo informing players to notify their teams of their decision to withdrawal by June 24, which is a week from now. While things can obviously change in a week, the Lakers have a sense of what Howard and Bradley plan to do, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
There is a belief around the organization that Howard plans to play, while Bradley’s plans are less clear, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Bradley and Howard are both crucial pieces to head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation this season. Bradley has started all but five games he’s been healthy for, and Howard has appeared in 62 of the 63 games the team has played. If either one of them decided not to play, there would be roughly 20 minutes that would need to be redistributed, and 15 points that would need to be made up.
It’s been said before but its bears repeating: the issues that would lead players like Bradley or Howard to forego a portion of their salary are much bigger and important than basketball, but since the season will resume regardless of their decisions, there will be consequences on the court. In a week’s time, we’ll know exactly how consequential those decisions will be.