The NBA season is set to resume at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on July 30 after a four month hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there are a number of players concerned over resuming the season in a bubble.
Earlier in the week, a report indicated that a number of NBA players are against the idea of resuming the season amid a pandemic that’s now on an upward trajectory in a number of states, including Florida.
Now comes this report on Thursday from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicating this number could grow and create a domino effect. The respected NBA insider notes that players on teams without much of a chance of earning a playoff spot might not want to head to Walt Disney’s “bubble city.”
"There are players— and a growing number of players— who have more than a hesitation about going in to that bubble."@wojespn on the growing unrest amongst NBA players about re-starting the season. pic.twitter.com/UWHJrkagly— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 11, 2020
This makes sense. There are a number of teams that have no realistic chance of playing postseason basketball.
A total of 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams will return to the season in Orlando on July 30 after the campaign was suspended March 11. This means a total of six teams will likely only play eight games before leaving the campus.
The plan is for a potential play-in tournament in each conference should the ninth seed be within four games of the No. 8 spot. This isn’t great news for a number of teams.
The Washington Wizards are 5 1/2 games out of the eighth spot in the East. Out West, the Phoenix Suns are six games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. Why would players on these teams want to risk their health and that of their families to play what might be meaningless games during a global pandemic?
But there’s some good news on this front. The NBA is nearing a deal with the Players’ Association that would allow players to opt out of heading to Orlando. While that might create some competitive imbalance, it’s probably the best option right now for players.
It’s highly unlikely these latest hiccups are going to derail a return to the NBA season. There’s too much on the line for both sides.