While the NBA is on the verge of returning, there still are a lot of details that need to be sorted out before players can take the court.
In addition to health and safety concerns over the “bubble” at Walt Disney world in Orlando, Florida, players also raised questions over about social and racial injustice. Led by Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, some feel that finishing the 2019-20 NBA season will only cause a distraction.
Several NBA players have shared messages or participated in protests in the wake of George Floyd dying while in custody of Minnesota police. Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was believed to be one of the most vocal players during a players’ coalition meeting about not finishing the season, while Avery Bradley also spoke as well.
It appears that led to some doubt in the Lakers organization that Howard would play the rest of the season, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Lakers were initially concerned that Howard planned to sit out the rest of the season to focus on the social injustices facing black people in the United States based on the sentiments he shared on the call and the subsequent statement he issued, sources told ESPN.
Howard’s agent quickly stepped in and clarified his client has not yet made any decisions. Nevertheless, Howard then said himself that focus needs to be on social matters, not basketball or other entertainment.
While all of the players are united that the focus right now needs to be ridding the world of racial injustice, it seems that they are split on how that should be done.
Lakers All-Star LeBron James is reportedly in favor of finishing the season while at the same time continuing to use his platform to inspire change.
There does not appear to be any sort of player strike on the horizon, so the season will resume and a champion will be crowned in the coming months. The NBA is allowing players to sit out if they don’t feel comfortable playing though, which gives Howard and others the option to decide what is best for themselves, their families and the country as a whole.
If Howard or any other Lakers players choose to sit out then they would have the ability to sign someone to replace them, with bringing DeMarcus Cousins back as an option if they need a center.