Risk vs. reward. Everything about a return to play for the NBA is weighing the risks of players’ and staffs’ health against the rewards of crowning a champion and, through television contracts, money.
That calculation is different for every player and every team — and every owner, who are not taking the same physical risks as the players. When polled, the majority of players said they wanted to return if it is safe. It’s a matter of degree because there is no 100% safe option.
Former Knicks and Grizzlies coach David Fizdale questioned if the risk is worth the reward for teams well out of the playoffs. The former University of San Deigo player and assistant coach was asked about an NBA return on NBC San Diego.
More from David Fizdale.
Should the NBA season continue without teams outside of the playoff picture?
He thinks it'd be worth excluding those dozen or so teams, as a means of limiting number of people involved. pic.twitter.com/4utDEwEw3X
— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) May 19, 2020
Here’s the money quote:
“Is it worth risking the employees that you need to show up to the games to make a game function? Is it worth the players’ health? The coaches’ health? The trainers’ health?”
There is a push from the league office to bring all 30 teams to the bubble to play a handful of regular season games, getting teams over the magic mark of 70 games (which for some teams is the minimum number of games they are supposed to supply their regional sports network). However, people around the league say some teams have privately questioned whether that is worth it for non-playoff teams — and the Golden State Warriors have questioned it publicly.
It is possible that only some teams — through seeds 12 is the most discussed idea in some NBA circles — would be brought back for a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot. That would leave the teams with the three worst records in each conference home, and other teams would only be in the bubble for a short window until they were knocked out of the play-in tournament.
Adam Silver has the trust of the league — whatever he asks, teams will do. If he lays out a plan for all 30 teams to come to the bubble city or cities for some regular season games, those teams will host training camps and come. Silver will sell it as being for the good of the game.
But is that good of the game — and a little bit of extra money — worth the risk for teams out of the playoff chase?