Sources: NBA's expected restart dates:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2020
- July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games
- Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments
- Aug. 17: Playoffs begin
- Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive
- Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conf. Semifinals
- Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conf. Finals
- Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals
There has been plenty of news recently regarding the NBA’s return-to-play timeline, set to resume late July in Disney World. But there have also been rumors that make it seem like a big portion of the players still have critical concerns with the whole idea. The entire thing seems to change by the day (or even hour) and feels very much up in the air. Now some of our players on the Sixers, like Ben Simmons, appear to be healthy and ramping up their physical activity:
Ain’t that just like D-Wade pic.twitter.com/NyFxO6mkw8— Alex Subers (@alexsubers) June 12, 2020
It’s great to see him healthy again, following the back injury he suffered before the season was paused. But you wonder if he’ll even get the chance to suit up because we also see stuff like this:
Yahoo Sources: Significant number of players disappointed their voice wasn’t heard in decision to restart season, and others believe black players sequestered to entertain and ease league’s economic burden amid racial tension is bad optics. https://t.co/F4BiqWD6uQ pic.twitter.com/hhw8rGdLh8— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 12, 2020
Adding to Taylor's report: I'm told today's conf call could involve up to 200 players. Also hearing that Kyrie Irving has been a driving force in organizing these calls, and in raising concerns over NBA's bubble plan. https://t.co/0voQafmveO— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 12, 2020
So...there isn’t a bubble. https://t.co/ljLrsAbUhd— JJ Redick (@jj_redick) June 12, 2020
There are so many moving parts I’m not sure where to begin. Based on the report from Chris Haynes at Yahoo it seems some players have mixed feelings with the idea of playing sports when race relations in the United States are so unbelievably strained:
Based on an interview by Michael Pina for GQ Magazine of Blazers superstar Damian Lillard, that issue is very much on Dame’s mind as well. Having prominent stars like Irving and Lillard speak up on these issues lends some weight to the idea of the season not resuming at all.
And all of this on top of the concerns regarding the safety of any return-to-play scenario due to the pandemic. It sounds like some players have not felt their concerns were heard. It also sounds like whatever plan was set forth by the league is not one that’s landed very well as more and more details emerge:
The report above by Tom Haberstroh that JJ Redick is replying to talks about how local employees and staff might be able to come and go from this “bubble” without being subject to the same rigorous testing or quarantine standards the players would be given. Which begs critical questions like “why bother testing the players every day if we’re not going to test the people providing their food or security?” Or “Is there any reason to feel that this is especially safe if we’re not properly insulating from a surrounding Orlando region that has seen a recent surge in Covid-19 incidence?”
Things are pretty much in flux every which way. I’m not a cap wiz but I think the players would lose somewhere in the range of 12.5 percent of their annual salary if they chose not to play. Some of them may have some injury insurance baked into their contract which could mitigate the hit. Most would be making a financial sacrifice if they chose to sit out.
But basically there are 30 owners and they might be able to come to some agreements. But then again they’re in a completely different place than the players are. A) they can stay safely at home if they want to and B) being mostly white, the issues of race don’t impact most of them the same way it does a diverse group of 450-500 players. Those players have things like family, race relations, pandemic, salary, upcoming CBA weirdness, stir craziness and 75 other things on their minds. It’s small wonder we have evidence they’re not all in agreement on what to do here. For some guys, any one of those issues could be a deal breaker to playing games this August. For most, all of those issues will at least be top of mind and go into a complex calculus as they weigh pros and cons with their families. It’ll be interesting to see what changes Adam Silver and the league make to the current proposals based on the initial reaction of the players. But one thing I think we can agree upon: if we do get a season back, winning basketball games won’t be the most important thing on many player’s minds.