/To Play or Not to Play in Orlando

To Play or Not to Play in Orlando

The NBA restart is a go and teams will begin traveling to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in early July. The first games are set to be played on July 31, but will all NBA players be there?

There are reports of a number of players that do not want to report to Orlando and play. There are some who would holdout until the NBA does something more about social and racial injustice. Another group is simply concerned about health issues related to COVID-19 as well as injury.

Players have until June 24 to notify the league of their intentions not to play the remainder of the 2019-20 season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said players can choose whether or not they wish to continue with the season. There will be no discipline for any player choosing not to go to Orlando, but the player will not be paid. 

Those who choose not to play this season will have their salaries reduced by 1/92.6th for each game missed up to 14 games. A player who misses eight games would see a salary reduction of 8.6 percent. Players who miss 14 games would lose 15.1 percent of their salary. 

The biggest name players most closely associated with not playing the remainder of the season are Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard of the Lakers, and Portland’s C.J. McCollum.

For Irving, the matter is moot. The Nets guard underwent season-ending shoulder surgery before the coronavirus put a halt to the season. Whether or not Irvin shows up in Orlando, he will be paid. 

The latest player to voice his concerns about playing the rest of the 2019-20 season is Boston’s Jayson Tatum. The 22-year-old Tatum was having his best season averaging 23.6 points a game. Tatum is on his way to a supermax deal in the near future and doesn’t want to jeopardize that because of injury. 

Tatum, who won the Skills Challenge at the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, has looked into the NBA Players Association’s player insurance. Policies are designed for players like Tatum who are likely to sign contracts worth over $100 million. 

A number of players that would be more susceptible to the coronavirus are also considering their options. They have until next Wednesday to make their final decision. 

Rick Bouch