NBA, NBPA have given players all the information to make their personal decision

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has had to thread a tough needle to get the league back. But they are closer than ever now. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has had to thread a tough needle to get the league back. But they are closer than ever now. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The choice to return to play is truly in each players’ court now. The NBA sent its full plan to restart the season, giving the players the info they need.

The NBA’s plan to return to play has been upended in the last few days.

Kyrie Irving expressed the feeling of several players on a phone call last Friday that this is not the right time for basketball to return. There is growing concern that the return of sports could divert attention away from the protests against racism and racial injustice that have overtaken the streets.

Players also still have plenty of concern about how they will stay healthy when they arrive at Disney World to complete the season. A lot of these details are not clear even after the NBA announced its return to play plan and set a date for games to begin again.

For the first time since the league went on hiatus and things started looking better for the league to return, there was doubt about whether the NBA would return. Or perhaps doubt the NBA would return in full force.

There are a lot of details to fill in. But now those details are starting to get filled in.

The league is starting to make clear what still seemed unresolved when it announced the return to play plan. And the league is closer to restarting its season and moving forward as planned.

The league and players association have reportedly agreed to a testing and living protocol within the campus setting. The NBA is a step closer to the reality of finishing the season.

The question that remains is whether every player will be on board — whether that concern comes from continuing to put pressure for social justice or concerns over health and safety on the Disney campus.

Regardless of what concerns players or what decision each individual makes, the NBA is doing its best to work with the players association to give everyone the information they need to make a decision on whether to play.

From there, it is up to each player to make that call. And there are no wrong answers for them. Nobody should be blamed if they are uncomfortable with these circumstances.

This is truly a personal decision.

NBA never had a perfect solution

Commissioner Adam Silver was on an ESPN special featuring interviews with the commissioners on Monday to comment on the league’s return plan and where sports stand in this current climate.

For the first time since the pandemic struck and the league took the necessary step to suspend its operations, Silver seemed a bit unsure of himself.

A group of players had poked holes in the facade of the unity the union and the league had shown in crafting the return to play plan. It was the first signal of public dissatisfaction among players with the league’s return.

Really it might have been an airing of concerns — especially considering the growing protests and activism the players have helped lead and the spike in positive tests in Central Florida and throughout the country. All of those concerns are valid in an unprecedented world.

More from Orlando Magic Daily

These doubts were expected and the NBA had to continue crafting its plan. The details of how players would get tested and what they would be allowed to do within the campus setting were vitally important.

If players were uncomfortable with the scenario, these answers may help calm those nerves.

But there was never a perfect solution. Part of the problem of this unprecedented pandemic and the suspended season is that every answer brings up several questions. It is a challenge the NBA has acknowledged.

The NBA is simply doing its best to answer as many of those questions as they can. From there they can let the players decide whether to play again.

NBA sets the protocols for the campus

Tuesday then will prove to be a vital day in the process of the league returning.

The league and players association reportedly agreed to a testing and monitoring protocol for players at Disney, including the amenities and entertainment options the league will provide to players.

Among the details of note:

  • Testing will be conducted regularly beginning with phase two and will involve multiple testing forms to reduce the chances for a false positive
  • Team personnel and players will be required to wear one of Disney’s MagicBands to access certain parts of the campus site and it will be used to track player health
  • Teams will stay at three separate hotels, based on their place in the standings, with the Orlando Magic staying at the Grand Floridian
  • Each team will have a dedicated chef on campus that will be able to provide food 24 hours a day. Players on separate teams would be able to eat together after a little while but only after some time has passed and only outside
  • Some outside team personnel, media, executives, sponsors and even players from other teams will be allowed to attend games with social distancing and masks
  • The league will provide a players lounge that will include NBA 2K/video game stations, ping pong tables, card games and among other things
  • The league will make barbers, manicurists, pedicurists and other personal services available by appointment or request
  • At a certain point, team-sponsored excursions will take place to restaurants, bars and, yes, the theme parks (Animal Kingdom was specifically mentioned by The Athletic)

It is a lot to take in. And certainly, people can poke holes in the plan. There are still outside forces that could come into the campus site and expose players to foreign contaminants.

As much as the league has tried to reduce them — hotel staff will not be allowed in rooms while players are in there — there is no absolute zero here. Things are not perfect, but they are the best the league could devise.

The NBA surely will be willing to adjust and change as conditions require.

Knowledge is power

The question now goes to the players. While the league and players association partnered to come up with this plan and protocol, they ultimately still have to approve and agree to the plan.

More from Orlando Magic News

That is a question for union leadership and for each individual player to answer. And the league seems willing to let each individual player answer it on their own terms.

It seems the league is not going to require players to make the sacrifice and head to the campus site. As Adam Silver said Monday night, the campus site plan is not for everyone. The league seems willing to work with those players to keep them safe and comfortable.

Players who are not otherwise excused because of medical risk or conditions would have their salary reduced for up to 14 games on the campus site. It would not be a complete pay decrease, but it would be somewhat significant.

The league appears ready to expand rosters to make up this potential deficit.

It is not yet clear how serious those players are about sitting out. They will have until June 25 to make their decision on whether to play or not as the league moves into Phase 2 of its reopening, allowing head coaches to work with players.

Among the things the NBA still has to answer (perhaps more privately toward the players) is how it plans to address racial justice movements while players are sequestered at the campus site. That appears to be something the league is going to work on and make a big part of the league’s return.

But all this information is going to allow players to make a final and firm decision. Before everything was merely theoretical. Nobody really knew what life was going to be like in the campus setting.

Their concerns were very real. And so were their doubts.

Now that this information is out there, the players can make a more informed decision on whether to play again. They can decide whether this risk is acceptable to them and whether to play.

Next. Jonathan Isaac plans to join Orlando Magic in bubble. dark

And this is all they can ask for now. The decision is truly up to them.