Monday, closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin — the Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd last year — are expected to begin. After that, the case will go to the jury for a verdict.
When that verdict comes down, the NBA wants its teams to be ready for the impacts — including the potential postponement of games — and has told the franchise as much, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The looming specter of possible protests, civil unrest and team reactions in the aftermath of a verdict has the league office preparing for the prospect that a night or two of league games could be postponed this week, sources said.
This is sound planning and thinking by the league. The NBA has already shown this kind of flexibility when it postponed the Nets game at the Timberwolves recently in the wake of the shooting by police of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
The NBA has encouraged players to speak out and be at the forefront of social justice issues. Whatever the verdict in the Chauvin trial, it feels like a watershed moment in that social justice discussion of the last year. Players will have their voices heard, but the cities and communities they live and play in will be even louder. The league needs to be flexible with whatever happens.