The NBA has approved the restart plan, the NBPA has approved the restart plan. All set to go, right? Well, given the unprecedented time we’re in, there’s bound to be some complications involved with returning to the old life, even in a modified version like a bubble tournament.
Sabreena wrote up Thursday’s report that players will be allowed to opt out of playing in the Orlando tournament if they so choose, with no apparent risk of punishment, only their proportional salary forfeited, just like the players on teams not going to Florida to wrap up the season.
That write-up includes the tidbit, per Matt Barnes, that some Los Angeles Clippers are pondering whether or not to play in Orlando. Depending on who and if they do sit out the remainder of the season, it could play a huge role in the Clippers’ title prospects. At the same time, coronavirus is dangerous! And this moment of protests for racial justice could be the most seminal such moment since the 1960s in the United States. You can understand people possibly making unconventional choices in an unconventional time.
Still, there’s also persuasion to try and get as many players to play as possible. For example, former Clipper Garrett Temple, now with the Brooklyn Nets, is vice president of the NBPA and he is publicly lobbying for his fellow players to come back to work so they can get paid.
“The difference in the economic gap between white America and black America is astronomical,” Temple said to ESPN. “I can’t in good conscience tell my brethren to throw away millions of dollars in order to create change that I don’t see the direct impact of — if there was a direct impact of laws changing, that would be a different story.”
It’s a pretty provocative quote. But this is a time for thinking, talking, listening and acting. And it will be fascinating to see how it shakes out in an NBA context in the coming weeks.
More news for Friday:
- (Some) teams may not stay awhile: As part of the pitch to get individual players on board, the NBA is touting the fact that most teams will be in Orlando for as little as 53 days, per ESPN. That might convince some, especially those who don’t want to be away from home for long but aren’t as concerned about coronavirus risk. But on the coronavirus risk front, that doesn’t mean much! Also, can’t imagine many players hope to dog it so they can go home early.
- Mike Breen is ready to work: The lead ESPN play-by-play announcer is gearing up to be back at work and talks to The Athletic about the possibilities (nothing seems to be decided yet) and the benefits and challenges of calling games in an empty arena, or possibly from a remote location.
- Get to know Clippers Jr. NBA Coach of the Year nominee: The Clippers shared a video of their youth coach finalist, Oscar Pelt. As a parent, I’ve learned it turns out youth coaches are in short supply, never mind good coaches. Best of luck to Coach O.
- Andre Drummond is a Kawhi fan: Add the Cavaliers big man to the admirers of the Clippers star, as he regaled a high school team of Leonard’s gifts, among other players.
- Disney + Clippers = Pirates of the Caribbean? Our friends at SB Nation shared these Disney/NBA logo crossover mock-ups, and the Clippers have a, you guessed it, nautical theme. Not sure why there’s a big red line running through each of the ships, but with some tweaking it could be really good! What do you think of it?