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Irving against Orlando plan
as NBA players eye return


Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was among NBA players on a conference call who raised doubts about resuming the season as planned in a Florida quarantine, according to multiple reports.

ESPN and The Athletic, citing unnamed sources, reported that racial justice issues and the chance to impact the ongoing discussion were among the topics touched upon in the Friday night session of nearly 100 players.

Others were concerned with issues regarding the Orlando "bubble" and coronavirus safety measures in the wake of the pandemic that forced a shutdown to the campaign in March.

"I don't support going into Orlando," Irving said, according to The Athletic. "Something smells a little fishy."

Joel Embiid, Carmelo Anthony, Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard were also among those reportedly on the call.

Irving is out for the completion of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery three months ago.

Reports said the players agreed they needed to present a united front in any decision and there was concern about economic impacts upon players.

Agents reportedly have warned players they could lose $1.2 billion in salary if the season is not completed and prompt the NBA to opt out of its collective bargaining agreement with the union, which could lead to worse salary terms in future seasons with the pandemic likely to reduce previously expected revenue levels.

Meanwhile, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says some NBA players are considering skipping the planned 22-team restart in Orlando next month.

Speaking on a podcast by New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick, union executive Brogdon cited several reasons why some players are having second thoughts, including coronavirus safety issues and concerns over isolation for weeks in the Florida "bubble" environment.

"I've talked to a few guys that are super interested in sitting out possibly," Brogdon said. "I was actually talking to (Oklahoma City guard) Chris Paul the other day, and he said, 'Man, this is an individual decision that every man has to make for himself.'

"And I think that's exactly what it is. It depends on your perspective."

Brogdon said that some players are concerned about going into quarantine for weeks as major changes in the black community are underway across the United States.

Playing basketball when racism and police brutality concerns are high might not be a comfortable mix for some players, Brogdon said.

"It's a matter of perspective. I think guys are gathering to really talk about and dive deep into the idea of not playing, " he said.

Brogdon also says players should note the focus they will draw as the playoffs continue.

"The attention on you and your platform actually grows the farther you stay in Orlando," he said. "That's a perspective I want guys to think about and understand before they make a decision."*AFP


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