NBA players' worries about the league's 2019-20 season restart plan are starting to surface.
The league announced its 22-team return plan/format earlier this month. All games played will take place at Walt Disney World Resort in the Orlando, Fla., area.
Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks reported that a video conference call with 150-plus players to discuss concerns about the plan is scheduled for Friday night. Howard Beck, also of Bleacher Report, added that Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been an integral part of these talks.
Adding to Taylor's report: I'm told today's conf call could involve up to 200 players. Also hearing that Kyrie Irving has been a driving force in organizing these calls, and in raising concerns over NBA's bubble plan. https://t.co/0voQafmveO— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 12, 2020
There's growing concern re NBA's bubble plan. Players want more freedom of movement while in Orlando. One agent estimates that 2/3 of the top 40 would refuse to play under the proposed restrictions. https://t.co/IrM5MHPu5e— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 12, 2020
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Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports followed up on those reports Friday and tweeted Irving "has organized a call tonight for players to discuss what position they should take. He’s of mindset that during racial tension, not returning to play should be considered, sources say."
Earlier on Friday, Haynes published a story outlining some of the concerns held by players:
The unease about relocating to a quarantined campus during the COVID-19 pandemic was already viewed as hazardous and unnecessary to many players. But because of the George Floyd tragedy and the powerful movement for racial justice that’s sweeping the nation, some players believe it’s bad optics for a league comprised predominantly of black men to be sequestered in one location for up to three months merely to entertain the masses and ease the league’s economic burden, sources said.
The Nets are one of 22 teams (nine from the Eastern Conference) that will resume their season as part of the league's reboot, but Irving is unlikely to play for Brooklyn after undergoing shoulder surgery in early March. Irving is one of the NBA Players Association vice presidents, so even if he doesn't plan on playing when the season resumes, he still has a leadership role among the players.
The league reportedly expects training camps to begin July 9, with the first seeding games taking place July 30.
There are still plenty of hurdles to overcome before games can start again, and addressing the concerns of the players should be a top priority for the league.