Not everything is rosy on this return of sport leagues. If the NBA set out a very well laid-out plan to have their competition back, at the same time they also gave the players the freedom to say no, and some of them have already done it.
UNDERSTAND THE NBA SITUATION
Finally, the NBA will be back. With the competition stopped since the middle of March, it will be back on July 30th, in the city of Orlando. The competition will have a special format and it will be played at Disney’s “magical world”.
The NBA organizers understand the extremely delicate situation the United States are going through, and they’ve tried their best to reduce the number of people that should be involved on this return.
Since the league was heading to its final stretch of the regular season, teams that were still fighting for the final playoff spots of each conference will have to show up and play a series of games to get into the playoffs.
Those that were already qualified still have the possibility of being able to ensure an advantage for the decisive stages and they will utilize this final stretch of games to give some rhythm to their athletes.
However, the league also left the possibility open for the players that do not want to play to end their seasons immediately. Those that don’t feel safe or simply don’t agree with the decisions made have complete freedom to refuse to go to Orlando.
From the 30 franchises that participate in the NBA, 8 are already free to end their seasons. Then, 22 are still in the fight, and they can hire a player with an emergency nature, to replace a player that doesn’t want to play. Those that refuse to play will have part of their salaries deducted.
NEW WAVE OF THE DISEASE SCARES SOME PLAYERS
The NBA is one of the richest leagues in the world, with their potential revenue being huge. When the protocols are created and the way of isolation and how the games will take place is defined, it can give an impression of safety for all of those who are involved.
However, on the past week the news aren’t the best in the United States.
According to the local press, Florida (region where the games will take place) is struggling with a new wave of the disease, that substantially increased the number of infected. That has been leaving some players fearful.
JUST IN: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have imposed a 14-day quarantine for travelers from Florida and other hard-hit states. This comes as Florida reported over 5,500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. https://t.co/6MyKr83atr
— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) June 24, 2020
Although the great majority of the players involved will be in isolation, a lot of them have been hesitating in terms of confirming their presence.
In fact, the NBA defined a “deadline”, a date for the franchises to inform their players that they will head to Orlando and stay at the resort.
All of those who leave the location will have to go through a rigid control, as a bigger test, total isolation for 14 days and will have their salaries discounted considering the period they’ll be absent for.
TEAMS LOSE PLAYERS
The first ones to inform that they won’t be at the final stretch of the regular season, in Orlando, are precisely two teams that are fighting to get into the playoff spots.
Davis Bertans, the Washington Wizards’ power forward, was the first player to inform that he won’t play in Florida. The Latvian player decided he will be protecting himself for next season, scared of an injury, due to his history, and the time he was stopped for.
The player has market and on the next season he will be a free agent, and his chance of securing a good contract is relatively good.
Another player that will not play on this final stage of the season is the Portland Trail Blazers’ small forward Trevor Ariza.
SOURCE SPORTS: Avery Bradley To Sit Out NBA Return, Lakers Eye J.R. Smith https://t.co/JvvngbLwpp
— The Source Magazine (@TheSource) June 24, 2020
The experienced 34-year-old decided not to play due to the fact the league does not allow the entrance of family members on the complex where they players will be staying at.
Ariza is fighting for the guard of his son in justice, and this was the time (that would be precisely the off-season period) he was supposed to be staying with his son. Between playing basketball and staying with him, Ariza opted for the family.
Another bombshell was recently announced in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers’ shooting guard Avery Bradley informed that he won’t be participating in the Lakers’ quest for the league title.
The player confirmed on an interview that he plays basketball for his family and right now he doesn’t think it is safe to take part in these games and he won’t be putting his family at risk.
Bradley is one of the Lakers’ defensive pillars, and he was making a great season. For his position, LeBron’s team can sign JR Smith, but that is still speculation.
The players have their last days to decide whether they will return or not, and maybe more athletes can make the decision of staying at home, and that really has an impact on the rest of the season.