The NBA’s return is headed to the Magical Kingdom with a slated start date of July 30th. Time will tell if the date is written in pen or pencil.
The resurgence of COVID-19 has placed a tentative cloud over most major events these days.
The second stage of the NBA’s reboot consists of voluntary individual player workouts, and the start of mandatory corona-virus testing for every player and staff member expected to enter the 22-team bubble in Orlando. The NBA and its players are moving forward to make this a bubble reality.
Recently the NBPA sent a memo to all players outlining their ability to opt-out and how they will be impacted. Sham Charania of The Athletic shared this piece of the memo on the 16th of June.
“It is critical that every player understand that he has the right to choose not to return to play. Any player who exercises this right will not be disciplined. To respect the decision of those who do return to play, it has been agreed that any player who chooses not to participate will have his compensation reduced by 1/92.6 for each game missed up to a cap of 14 games even his team plays more than 14 games in Orlando. There will be no other reductions of pay assessed (e.g., fines for missed practices) for a player’s decision not to return to play. Any player that wishes to exercise this right should notify his team of this election by June 24.”
According to multiple social media posts, the Mavericks one-two punch of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are back in Dallas. A sight for sore eyes considering both were previously overseas.
He’s back pic.twitter.com/l5ZxOVPBGi
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 22, 2020
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 21, 2020
The Mavs trip to NBA Disney could include some new faces. They’re forced to complete the season without the services of Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson, and Courtney Lee. Lee is the team’s latest scratch after he was diagnosed with a calf injury obtained during the league’s hiatus. This obviously leaves an open roster spot. Speculation has been wild and far-reaching on who will fill the void but Josh Reaves, Antonius Cleveland, and Ryan Broekhoff are familiar faces. Its only whispers but the addition of Demarcus Cousins sounds a lot more fun.
Either way, the Mavericks are in a favorable spot when games begin. How will this impact the teams odds? When the schedule is released we’ll find out but according to SportsBettingDime the impact is definitely noticeable.
On July 7th teams are expected to make their way to Orlando. The clubs will stay at hotels adding an authentic AAU vibe most players find familiar. The Mavericks will be stationed at the Grand Floridian in Bay Lake Florida for the remainder of the season. Their roomies are shown below:
Prior to the season’s kickoff teams are expected to have three scrimmages versus their hotel-mates.
Here are more key dates for the 2020 NBA season.
- June 30: Training camps begin
- July 7: Teams travel to Orlando
- July 31-Aug. 14: The “seeding games” begin, eight games per team
- Aug 15-16: Play-in tournaments (if needed, maximum two games back-to-back)
- Aug 17: First round of playoffs begins
- Aug 31-Sept. 13: Second round of playoffs
- Sept 15-28: Conference Finals
- Sept 30: NBA Finals begin
- Oct 13: Game 7 (if necessary)
There are major caveats to this ambitious return. As the country prematurely reopens COVID-19 cases show no sign of dwindling and in fact continue rising at alarming rates. Especially in Florida where recently they topped 100,000 cases of the virus. Couple this with the justified civil unrest stemming from police brutality and the systematic oppression of Black Americans and it’s clear the country is in crisis. These paramount societal issues must be addressed NOW. To think these once in a lifetime events won’t impact the potential reincarnation of the league is down-right naive.
As a society, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We all have been programmed to believe our differences outnumber our similarities. However, the quantity of the latter is always overshadowed by the singular difference this country was built upon, race. This fact is still being debated today 155 years after slavery abolishment. Race will continue to be the elephant in the room until real change occurs. When we are no longer afraid to have difficult conversations.
Sports, not just basketball, have been deployed as distractions since their inception. The examples of Americans using sports as a band-aid to heal open wounds are countless. It would seem the anticipated NBA season is perfectly suited for this role, but at what cost? The push for real change appears to be authentically expanding. Citizens of all races are taking a stand and demanding change on behalf of the African American community and the country.
While some welcome the distraction of games others suggest the move is in direct contrast to the movement. Giving credence to the growing voices who suggest a restart is counter-productive and harmful to the more important cause. If genuine both stances could serve as beneficial to American society. In 2020 the ability to multitask is a rite of passage. We all do it to some degree.
For the NBA a significant push to complete this season was guaranteed. The league and its owners have a monetary obligation regardless of circumstance. Their momentum won’t be halted easily however using the NBA’s platform to bring attention to a greater cause could be a true game-changer.
American society has no choice but to mature.
A significant segment of the population has been under attack for too long and its time we all spend more time listening and less time talking.
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