While most of us are ready for National Basketball Association games to return, it appears like there are some players that aren’t ready for such a thing just yet. At this point in the COVID-19 epidemic, more and more players are voicing concerns about their health in the proposed setting.
According to ESPN, about 40 to 50 players have raised several concerns about restarting the season in the Orlando bubble. Currently, the NBA and NBA Players Association are working on a plan that allows players to stay at home without any repercussions.
As of now, there were no players publicly threatening to hold out of the 22-team continuation.
Now that the plan is in place to resume the season, players are starting to finally realize that this Orlando bubble could be a little dangerous. Not to mention, the isolation away from family members could be a bit much to handle.
After the first round of playoffs – nearly seven weeks after the opening of mid-July training camp – is when players can finally have visitors.
Players have discussed the many concerns they have – family matters, the coronavirus, social injustice rallies, and not being able to leave the Disney World Resort campus. All of the players that show up to Orlando won’t even be able to leave there until they complete a 10-day quarantine upon arrival to Disney.
Coaches and front-office members have voiced several concerns, especially since none of them have ever been in a situation like this. There is also a growing concern for players on non-playoff teams that could possibly find a way to sneak out of reporting.
Of course, there is the issue of players with medical issues. Those in a high-risk category can seek out independent exams to see if they could possibly be exempt from competing in the league’s return, even if players are deemed well enough to play in Orlando. However, it will come at a cost as a player will not be paid for those games.
As of June 15, the NBA will start withholding 25 percent of its players’ paychecks in the force majeure provision in the collective bargaining agreement that repays teams for canceled games.
Sources told ESPN that teams could wind up being allowed to replace a player should he choose to skip the Orlando return. The league plans to allow replacements for players that either test positive on a coronavirus test or for injuries.
In addition, the replaced players become ineligible for the rest of the 2019-20 season.
Watching all of this unfold is going to be fascinating from a betting aspect. It’s hard to imagine guys like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo saying no to the NBA’s return-to-play format down in Orlando.
Instead, it could wind up being role-playing defenders or three-point shooters that could wind up changing the course of history.
Could you imagine if the Los Angeles Lakers were without a Rajon Rondo, or the Bucks without Brook Lopez? Those guys aren’t necessarily the needle-movers they once were, but it is interesting enough to ponder the outcome of what would happen without those pieces.
Still Going Forward
Luckily, both sides are incredibly hopeful of getting everything finalized as soon as possible. By this week, the NBA plans to have a term sheet and health/safety protocols for everyone.
We were really looking forward to great matchups like the all-Los Angeles Western Conference Finals between the Clippers and Lakers. Hopefully, all of the key pieces are intact, and we get some great battles out of this.
After all, we – as fans – deserve the greatest 22-team tournament of all time.