The NBA’s biggest stars stand united: They want the NBA to restart, have a playoffs and crown a champion — so long as it is safe.
However, there are questions about whether the rank-and-file players feel the same way. That question seemed to be behind a yes/no poll of players Tuesday by their team reps to the National Basketball Players Association, although the union itself disavowed that poll.
Per source, there was some miscommunication internally and any player poll taken by Player Association reps on whether they want to resume season was done so unauthorized.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) May 12, 2020
Still, there were poll results.
One player told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times about 70% of the players want the league to start this season up again.
One player estimated about seven out of 10 players want to finish the season.
“But 30% is a big number,” the player added. “And what do you say to somebody who says, ‘You know what, I just don’t feel safe’? It’s hard to argue that. But there are reasons to argue that because I know the NBA would be one of the safest places to be at. That thing would be tight, clean, protocol, all that.”
The results of the poll leaguewide showed “overwhelming” support for a play to restart the season — and play some regular season games — according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
The poll conducted by the National Basketball Players Association was informal but gave a clear sense that players would like to not only get to the playoffs but also resume at least some of the regular season, according to the person who shared details with The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because it was not to be detailed publicly.
By any measure, that is a vast majority of the players who want to return to play.
The caveat is all the players say they only want to return if it is “safe” — but what feels safe to one player may not to another.
Any return this season will be done without fans and likely in a “bubble” — Adam Silver called it a “campus setting” to team owners Tuesday — in Las Vegas and/or Orlando (the Walt Disney World property). Teams would gather in those venues for around three weeks of training camps, possibly followed by some regular season games (how many depends on how long the NBA is willing to extend the season) and then the playoffs. Players would live, eat, and play in the same place (with their families also in the bubble).
There is a long list of questions about protocols, testing (Silver wants daily tests), and more the league needs to answer to convince everyone these bubbles will be “safe.” Silver also said the league and players need to come to grips with the idea games would keep going even if a player or players tested positive. It’s a question of what is an acceptable risk, something both the players and league need to find common ground on.
There remains a lot of optimism around the league that the NBA will return and finish out this season. We should find out if that is going to happen within the next month.