There have been a lot of questions and some pushback from a faction of NBA players about the league’s restart plan in Orlando. Some players question if starting now slows the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement (a league with many Black players gathering to entertain the masses at a place the team owners will not be). Numerous players just want more details about the league’s health and safety protocols.
“As far as actually playing and going back down into Orlando, 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%.”
Sources have told NBC Sports that is the sentiment most widely heard among players hesitant to go into the NBA’s bubble — they want to know details before they say they’re in.
Players want to know how long they would be in the bubble — anywhere from 35 days to three months — and they want details on the protocols once inside the bubble. That has not been released by the league yet. Players understandably want to know what they can and can’t do once on the Walt Disney World property, they want to know what life will be like on the campus/in the bubble. The league is preparing a reportedly 100-page outline to the restart that answers those questions, but it has yet to be sent to teams or players.
The league and players’ union have said players who do not want to go to Orlando can sit this one out without punishment — but they don’t get paid, either. That paycheck, ultimately, will likely bring all but a handful of players to Orlando.
Carmelo Anthony isn’t sure about playing in Orlando, but if he goes he may also find his role is smaller. Anthony started 50 games for the Trail Blazers this season, averaging 15.3 points a night and playing solid ball, but with Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins both healthy, there is depth along the Portland front line now — and guys who will play better defense. Anthony will still be part of the rotation, but his role likely shifts. If he’s willing to accept it.
First, however, he wants his questions answered before Anthony commits to playing in Orlando.