The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World on July 30, with 22 teams set to travel to Orlando this week. What’s quite worrisome is the fact that coronavirus cases are starting to surge in Florida once again, while protests against police brutality and systemic racism have led to players opting out of the restart.
The NBA has already stated that no players will be forced to go to Orlando, but if they are not participating due to a reason that is not health-related, they will not be paid for the games they miss.
There are plans in place for the next six weeks or so that will give teams the ability to sign replacement players for any athlete that tests positive for the virus or decides they will not be heading to the bubble. As of Monday, June 29, we have already seen several players announce that they are sitting out for the remainder of the season. A few of these players include Blazers’ Trevor Ariza, Wizards’ Davis Bertans, and Lakers’ Avery Bradley.
Bradley took to Twitter and posted several statements about his decision to not attend the restart:
“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family,” Bradley said. “And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.”
“As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities.”
Trevor Ariza’s reasoning is also family-related, as he would not be able to be with his newborn son during the several month schedule. If the Blazers are able to make the final tournament seeding, that period of time could be extended even longer.
This list is sure to grow more over the next few days, as most teams will be departing for Orlando in the next 24-48 hours.