ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski looked at the debate between players who want to get back on the court and those who are more hesitant about a return. This controversy is the latest in Irving’s attempt to butt heads with seemingly consensus thinking.
“Irving’s stance has pitted himself against the league’s establishment one more time, including his former Cavaliers teammate LeBron James,” Wojnarowski wrote.
In addition to the issues regarding safety, Irving has also indicated that playing during the current racial turmoil may not be wise.
Under ordinary circumstances, Irving’s season would have been over because of injury. However, with additional time for rehabilitation, Irving could conceivably return and help his current team, the Brooklyn Nets.
Last week, there was no indication that Irving had any concerns about NBA action being resumed, a stance that’s obviously changed.
“In recent days, Irving has been one of the prominent player voices tapping into the hearts, minds and ambitions of his peers in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Players are discussing everything now — from the limitations of freedom in the proposed bubble, the value of the remaining season for many teams and players, the risk of sickness and injury, and yes, the pain, anguish and determination of communities throughout the country on the issues of police brutality and racial equality.”
Given the unique circumstances of the NBA’s possible resumption of play, the two teams that eventually reach the NBA Finals will be in Orlando into October. The safety protocols in place will likely mean that players will have little or no opportunities to see family members.
Those issues and more will be discussed during a Friday night phone call that will include a huge number of NBA players. As one of the vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association, Irving is expected to have a prominent voice in the conversation.
Cavaliers fans are familiar with some of Irving’s past remarks, having followed them during his six seasons with the team. Not being afraid to challenge conventional thinking in the past, Irving may be prepared to offer his boldest comments yet.