In a conference call with players on Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver laid out the realities facing the league in its efforts to formulate a plan to restart the season. And on Tuesday, according to an ESPN report, the National Basketball Players Association began to poll its membership on how committed the players are to a resumption of the season suspended by the coronavirus.
The NBPA issued this statement: “The NBPA is not engaging in and has not authorized any formal poll of its players.” But the ESPN report pointed out that texts to players described this poll as confidential.
When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the news, it took just minutes for players to begin responding publicly.
“Safety obviously 1st!” Lakers forward Jared Dudley tweeted. “No where will be as safe as the NBA compound site they determine but, I Don’t think players know the effects of NOT playing does too next year. This is bigger then My team isn't in the playoffs so who cares! No playoffs, no TV money, NEW CBA next year!”
Rookie Ja Morant simply tweeted, “I wanna play.”
While they may want to play, there are logistical hoops for the players and teams to jump through. A one- or two-city location has been discussed, allowing teams in states that have not eased stay-at-home restrictions to participate.
Some teams have begun to open their practice facilities under tight guidelines, and issues remain over the availability of testing for players and staff. The NBA loosened the restrictions, instructing teams to obtain private facilities testing as long as front-line responders have access in those areas.
According to the ESPN report, the poll was a simple yes or no response to the question, “Do you want to try and play again this season?” So if the other players are as quick as Morant and Dudley to push for a return to action, that gives the league and Silver the impetus to keep pushing for a solution to the shutdown.
Yahoo reported that NBPA president Chris Paul arranged a call that included LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook to discuss plans to resume the season.