Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter believes that teammates will be understanding if any NBA player elects not to enter the Disney bubble next month due to health concerns, particularly those related to the coronavirus.
Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans, with a history of ACL injuries and a looming payday in offseason free agency, will reportedly not enter the bubble for the NBA restart.
His decision could open the floodgates for other players on the 22 bubble teams to elect to skip the restart.
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While all indications are that all members of the Boston Celtics plans to take part in the Orlando restart, Kanter said he hoped teammates would show support if a player elected to sit out, especially if concerned about the wellbeing of themselves or their family.
"I think we would respect that,” Kanter said on this week’s “The Enes Kanter Show” podcast. "Right now, you look at like Gordon Hayward’s wife is pregnant, Vincent [Poirier’s] girlfriend is pregnant,” said Kanter. "I understand, man. If they are concerned about something, or if they are scared of something, we have to respect it. Especially if you’re having a kid.
"That’s your first child for Vincent or, for Gordon Hayward, that's your first son. Of course you’re going to respect that, wish them well, and wish them health.”
Both Poirier and Hayward have been working out at the Auerbach Center in preparation for the restart. The Haywards are expecting child No. 4 in September and the NBA’s safety memo noted that players would be required to quarantine for four days upon returning to the bubble following an excused absence.
After Kyrie Irving’s coalition suggested players should consider skipping the bubble to keep a focus on social justice, Kanter pushed back while noting that Orlando could provide an ideal stage for players to promote all their positive messages. But Kanter knows that some players will choose to sit out due to health concerns and hopes that everyone from fellow players to fans will understand if they make that decision.
“You look at [the bubble], it’s a huge sacrifice for players,” said Kanter. “Because they’re literally putting their lives on the line to try to compete.”
The NBA has said players with underlying health concerns can still be paid if they are excused from the restart by a medical panel.