Over the weekend, NBA players met over a Zoom call to discuss their feelings about restarting the season amidst the social movements that have taken over the country in support of Black Lives Matter. Kyrie Irving, a VP of the Players’ Association, helped lead the call and said that he was not in support of playing and taking attention away from the issue of systemic racism.
Several players felt their voices had not been heard in the vote to approve the NBA’s proposal to restart the season. Reportedly, younger players felt intimidated to speak out against superstars’ support to play, which is why it was important that Irving — a superstar when not injured — was able to solicit the input of a broader set of players.
More than 80 players were reported to be on the call, but no Clippers were confirmed to be in attendance. However, Lou Williams made his feelings clear about what role sports play in the national conversation Saturday; Alicia wrote up how Williams believes basketball would be a distraction.
On Sunday, Patrick Beverley, who had said that basketball was not important on June 3, entered the discussion again with the following tweet:
Hoopers say what y’all want. If @KingJames said he hooping. We all hooping. Not Personal only BUSINESS #StayWoke ✊ ✊ ✊— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) June 14, 2020
There are a couple of ways of interpreting Beverley’s message. One could be that it doesn’t matter what the rank-and-file players feel about restarting the season — if LeBron James thinks the NBA should come back (and he does), then everyone else will have to fall in line behind the King. However, the tweet could also mean that if James believes that players can still have an impact on social issues while playing, then that is good enough for Beverley.
Negotiations will continue regarding the bubble set-up, safety procedures, and presumably the league’s policy regarding kneeling during the national anthem, which is currently forbidden. All that has been decided is that players and teams are in agreement on the format the NBA will use in Orlando. Everything else is still in the air.
On to the links...
- What kind of impact can two-way players be expected to have if the NBA restarts?
- Speaking of two-way players, Andrew Grief connected with Amir Coffey to talk about the George Floyd protests in his home state of Minnesota.
- The L.A. Times also looked into how locker rooms have suddenly changed from team sanctuaries into danger zones.
- Zach Lowe took a deeper look at the safety of the NBA’s restart plan for ESPN. Dr. Anthony Fauci gave his support of the proposal.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told @Stadium he is supportive of the NBA’s restart plan: “It’s quite creative.. I think they might very well be quite successful with it... They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players was paramount.” pic.twitter.com/qwo5bCDrVt— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 13, 2020
- Several players from the 2017 draft class are seeking insurance from the NBA in case they get injured in Orlando and jeopardize their chances are securing long-term extensions this offseason. The Clippers traded away their 2017 first-rounder to dump Jared Dudley’s contract in the summer of 2014, so this isn’t really an issue.
- On the subject of draft what-ifs, JJ Redick told Malcolm Brogdon that he begged the Clippers front office for two months to take Brogdon in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Clippers instead passed on Brogdon twice, selecting Brice Johnson at no. 25 and trading down from no. 33 to take David Michineau and Diamond Stone with picks 39 and 40. When we re-drafted the 2016 class, the Clippers ended up with Derrick Jones Jr., but he’s still no Brogdon. Then again, it’s hard to quibble with any past decision-making given how the Clippers roster looks today.