A handful of NBA players share concerns on restarting 2019-20 season

The question on many sports fans’ minds lately has been:

Is the NBA really coming back in July?

Nothing has been finalized yet and from the sounds of it, there seems to be a lot still up in the air.

A lot has also come out of Friday night’s players’ zoom call, which was reportedly led by Nets star Kyrie Irving.

The call included more than 80 NBA players, including Carmelo Anthony, Donovan Mitchell, Joel Embiid, Malcolm Brogdon, Avery Bradley, Mike Conley, Dwight Howard, and many more as reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Some players were reportedly very vocal about their hesitations to restart the season.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.]

There have also been reports that a “significant” number of players want a new NBA vote from all the players on finishing the 2019-20 season.

According to multiple reports, including Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the players were asking and discussing the tough questions on whether or not the league should resume play amid social justice movements as well as coronavirus concerns.

It was just last week, the NBPA voted to “approve further negotiations” on a 22-team restart of the NBA season in Orlando.  

Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony was reportedly one of the leaders on Friday’s call in regards to the topic of should they return to play. He stressed unity in whatever they decide moving forward. 

While Irving had this to say, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:

“I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls***. Something smells a little fishy.”

Melo voiced his concerns earlier in the week when he told Ernie Johnson of TNT on the weekly episode of ‘NBA Together’ on Twitter:

I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details. We don’t know a lot of information, so until we have that, it’s hard to just commit to that 100%. — Carmelo Anthony on ‘NBA Together’ 

While Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard shared his concerns with Michael Pina in a recent GQ interview.

Pina asked Lillard: “I don’t mean to spring a hypothetical on you, but if the NBA season starts up at the end of July and there are country-wide protests while you’re in Orlando, how do you think you would feel playing in games while all these important issues that you obviously care so much about are being fought over?” 

“I think about it everyday,” Lillard said. “I can’t speak for everybody but for me personally, I’m able to do my job more effectively when I’m in a good place personally. You know what I’m saying? And this is something that affects me personally. I’m one man. I make a lot of money as one man and I do things for a lot of people and my family. But I got a lot of people that live in Oakland and a lot of friends that are still in the neighborhood.”

Lillard continued:  

I’m just connected to so many people that it’s like, how can I be consumed with a basketball game? Look at the lengths that we’re going to play a basketball game when there’s something so much greater going on. Something so much more meaningful going on, that really needs us. So I mean it’s a battle every day for me, man. – Damian Lillard in a recent interview with GQ 

Amid the concerns of impacting Black Live Matter and the social justice movements across the country, there have also been talks about players’ salaries. 

Yes, there’s also a lot of money on the line, which can impact not only the rest of this season, but also beyond this year.

NBA players were set to lose $645 million in salary if the rest of the regular season was canceled.

With the current proposed 22-team format in Orlando games can be broadcast on local networks which could bring $300 million in salary back to players, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

NBA players are tentatively set to begin training camp on June 30, but right now it sounds like too many things and too many players are up in the air about everything.

“I think it’s about split,” Lillard said when asked about the players he’s talked to about restarting the season. “A lot of my teammates are like, ‘Whatever, let’s play. Let’s hoop. If that’s what we’re gonna do and they’re saying it’s safe, then let’s do it.’ And then on the other hand, people be like, ‘Are we just doing this because we don’t want to miss out on this money?’ People just don’t know.”

A handful of NBA players share concerns on restarting 2019-20 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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