The NBA plans to resume the 2019-20 season on July 30, with 22 teams slated to return to action.
But what if some players don’t want to play? What if they’re worried about the coronavirus and don’t want to risk it? Are any players feeling trepidation about this?
“Among the big names, I would say very few,” NBA analyst Chris Broussard said on Tiki & Tierney. “Melo came out, he’s one of them. He’s a big name but obviously no longer a superstar. The best players – Kawhi, Paul George, LeBron, Harden, Russell Westbrook – these guys want to play. They want to play badly. And you get it from a human level. These are guys that can not only win championships, but their legacies will be incredibly solidified or heightened if they win championships.”
Role players on contending teams also want to play. Among non-contending teams, however, the sentiment might be different.
“From what I’m told, the majority of the players that are hesitant are guys that are on teams that aren’t likely to win a championship or go that deep in the playoffs,” Broussard said. “If there are any guys on really good teams, championship contenders – which I haven’t heard of any – then it’s the guys that are towards the end of the bench and it really isn’t going to impact their legacies. But from everything I’m hearing, the superstars want to play. The guys on teams that can win it want to play.”
If a chance at a title doesn’t motivate some players, well, money might.
“This is what the other players have to recognize,” Broussard said. “This is about money. If they were not to play this season, this truncated tournament, then the money that they would lose, it would tremendously affect the salary cap going forward and obviously player salaries going forward. So that is something that players need to understand. You’re doing yourself a favor by going ahead and playing.”