The NBA intends to finish the 2019-20 season by taking players from 22 teams to Orlando for roughly three months. An increasing number of NBA players aren’t happy about it.
On Friday, Howard Beck of BleacherReport.com reported that “growing concern” has emerged, and that “[p]layers want more freedom of movement while in Orlando.” Roughly two-thirds of the top 40 players will refuse to play under the current restrictions, an unnamed agent estimated according to Beck.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo.com reports that a “significant number of NBA players . . . are disappointed that everyone wasn’t given the opportunity to vote on whether to restart the 2019-20 season” by playing all games in one location. Only the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee and board of representatives approved the 22-team “bubble” approach in Orlando.
And so 80 players reportedly participated in a Friday videoconference, during which Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving took the lead. Irving, per Haynes, explained to the other players that he is “strongly against going to Orlando, Florida, to resume the season.” Irving would rather “work on the frontlines in his community to focus on racial oppression and systemic racism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s homicide.”
Irving later said that he’ll do whatever the players collectively choose to do.
“If it’s worth the risk, then let’s go and do it,” Irving said, per Haynes. “But if you’re not with it, it’s OK, too. We’ve got options for both ways. Let’s just come to a middle ground as a family.”
It’s unclear where it will go from here. For now, the point is that it’s suddenly unclear whether the NBA’s plan to conclude the 2019-20 season by taking everyone to Orlando will work.