Los Angeles, 13 May 2020 (tca/dpa/MIA) – In a group text sent to NBA players Tuesday, they were asked by the National Basketball Players Association how they felt about completing the season that has been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several players who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that they were asked to respond with a yes or no answer to a question about how interested they were in playing the rest of the 2019-20 season.
The players, who saw their season suspended March 11, were told their answers would be confidential.
One player said he thinks the percentage is “70-30” of players who want to finish the season.
“But 30 per cent is a big number,” the player said. “And what do you say to somebody who says, ‘You know what, I just don’t feel safe?’ It’s hard to argue that. But there are reasons to argue that because I know the NBA would be one of the safest places to be at. That thing would be tight, clean, protocol, all that.”
Some of the league’s biggest stars gathered via phone Monday to discuss the league’s potential return to play, a person familiar with the call confirmed. The group reached a consensus that they wanted the season to resume with safety precautions.
The call included Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, who organized the call. Paul is the president of the players union.
During a conference call with players Friday, Commissioner Adam Silver had talked about the league’s position on issues concerning a return to play, reminding the players that the situation remains fluid.
The NBA has heard from several places about coming to their cities when/if it decides to starting playing again, with the latest coming from MGM Resorts International on Tuesday.
MGM came up with a seven-point plan in which its casino can reopen with strict safety protocols in place.
The plan called for screening employees and guests, that all employees would be required to wear masks and to practice physical distancing while at work.
The seven-part plan was broken down this way: screening, temperature checks and training, personal protective equipment, physical distancing, hand washing and sanitization, HVAC control and air quality, incident response protocols and digital innovations.
A few NBA team executives have tossed around the idea that the Western Conference teams could play in Las Vegas and the Eastern Conference teams could play at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
“We have been approached by multiple properties regarding potential options for hosting NBA games, including MGM,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “We have not engaged in any substantive discussions.”