NBA Executives and Players Seem to be Making Progress on a Return to Play

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Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NBA tidbits this morning after Adrian Wojnarowski took to Twitter on Tuesday and revealed that the Players Association was doing an informal and confidential poll to determine whether players were interested in resuming their postponed season.

That resulted in some direct player responses to Woj’s tweet, with the first public ‘yes’ vote coming from veteran Jared Dudley, who wrote this:

Safety obviously 1st! No where will be as safe as the NBA compound site they determine but, I Don’t think players know the effects of NOT playing does too (sic) next year. This is bigger then My team isnt in the playoffs so who cares! No playoffs, no tv money, NEW CBA next year!

That’s something I admittedly left out of yesterday’s story, the idea that players on bad teams would still be interested in playing out the season for money making and future bargaining purposes. It’s a little more complicated than players on good teams wanting to continue and players on shitty teams wanting to wrap it up for the season.

In his ESPN story, Woj noted that the idea of a return was “gaining momentum,” writing this, in part:

Participants on a board of governors call Tuesday with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left the virtual meeting feeling increasingly positive about the league’s momentum toward a resumption of play this season, sources told ESPN.

Owners and executives on the call were encouraged about the league’s progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and the league office’s positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association about the players’ desire to eventually restart the season, sources said.

Discussions centered on health and safety concerns, including the goal of getting team officials and players comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not shutter play.

Silver told those on the call that if a positive test would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path.”

That last part is the real takeaway here.

Whereas UFC 249 was able to continue despite a positive test, the NBA is not in position to simply remove one matchup from a 12-fight card and proceed without issue. If a Philadelphia 76er would test positive upon returning to training, how feasible is it to pull and quarantine one player and continue with the rest of the roster? And furthermore, what if that player is your highest-paid star? One positive test and the resulting isolation would present a competitive imbalance that you just wouldn’t see in a 1v1 sport like mixed martial arts or an individual competition like golf or swimming.

There was also this bit from Chris Haynes at Yahoo:

Some of the NBA’s biggest superstars formed a united front to resume the 2019-20 season during a private conference call Monday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Toward the end of the call discussing the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, all parties were in agreement to take the court with proper safety measures once the league is given the green light to commence, sources said.

Chris Paul, the president of the players association, arranged the call that included LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook, sources said.

That carries weight. When leaders and veterans are on the same page, it influences other players. Surely youngger guys would follow their lead and fall in line.

Woj also mentioned the campus idea in his story, reporting that “the focus continues to be on Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort and Las Vegas,” which makes sense to me. Travel just does not seem feasible, though the real question here is whether players would be alright hunkering down in a central location, away from their families, to finish the season. Could be better than sitting in your house and trying to stay in shape, perhaps.

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5 Responses

  1. Look at that picture of the fans in the background. This is who is making LeBron & his Brothas multi-millionaires, yet they continue to alienate their paying customers with their Social Justice politics.

  2. He wants a chance to eliminate the Sixers in 5 games so Embiid can cry in his girlfriend’s arms again

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