Some NBA Players Raise Concerns About Resuming Action at Disney World

Posted on: June 17, 2020, 12:30h. 

Last updated on: June 17, 2020, 11:36h.

The NBA is moving closer to resuming play later this year, although the plan to play out the season under quarantine at Walt Disney World in Orlando is drawing questions from some players.

NBA Resumes Play Kyrie
Kyrie Irving and other players have expressed reservations about the NBA resuming play in Orlando next month. (Image: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

News broke last Friday of a players’ call where Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and others discussed whether it’s appropriate to resume play. Now, more reports have surfaced about whether some players will go down to Disney World and prepare to restart games on July 30.

While there are concerns about the coronavirus and its recent spread in Florida, Irving and others talked Friday about the optics of resuming play while protests against police brutality and racism continue across the country.

We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being, the group of NBA and WNBA players, led by Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, said in a statement sent to ESPN on Monday.

We will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions,” the statement continued.

The National Basketball Players Association, the union representing NBA players, notified members whose teams will be playing in Orlando on Tuesday that they have until June 24 to notify their teams and the union if they will go to Florida, ESPN reported. Players that choose not to go down there may lose up to 15 percent of their salary by declining to play, although some exceptions may be made for players deemed a higher risk to contract the virus.

Irving, who underwent shoulder surgery earlier this year, is almost certainly not available to play for the Nets in Orlando.

Players May Be Quarantined for Months

The NBA served as a flashpoint for the country’s response to COVID-19. A Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game was abruptly canceled just before tip-off after Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. Shortly after that, the NBA suspended its season, followed by the remaining US major professional and college leagues either playing or preparing for their upcoming season.

Many state governments followed in the ensuing days with stay-home orders that forced non-essential businesses, including casinos, to close indefinitely.

As PGA Tour golf, UFC, and NASCAR have resumed play, NBA teams have started holding voluntary workouts in their home cities. On June 30, those players who have committed must report and begin individual workouts. On July 7, teams will head to Orlando for camps.

Players will be quarantined on the Disney campus for as long as their season lasts. Once the league gets into the second round of the playoffs, players remaining may bring guests in for the duration.

The league expects to conclude the NBA Finals by Oct. 13.

Oddsmakers Favor Three Teams for NBA Title

While 22 teams will head to Orlando to restart play next month, oddsmakers agree there are three teams that are heavy favorites to win the title – the Lakers, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Those three teams have been considered the likeliest contenders all season.

William Hill lists the Lakers at +240, with the Bucks at +260, and the Clippers at +320. The next two teams, the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, have odds of +1600.

DraftKings has the Lakers and Bucks co-favorites at +250, with the Clippers at +333. The Rockets are next at +1300, with the Celtics at +2000.

FanDuel offers the Bucks at +240, the Lakers at +260, and the Clippers at +340. The Rockets and Celtics odds are the same as they are at DraftKings.