Milwaukee Bucks: Player opinion will play a factor in potential season resumption

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 20: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 20: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As Milwaukee Bucks fans hope for a resumption of the season, the opinions of players from all around the league could yet be crucial to that prospect.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to cause havoc across the U.S., it’s no real surprise that the path to the NBA returning is proving to be far from simple.

Bucks owner Marc Lasry has remained vocal and confident about a potential resumption, most recently stating his belief that the playoffs would be in either July or August. While The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Wednesday that Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is being considered by the NBA as a potential site to host the league upon a resumption.

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Hypothetically, the idea of a single location to stage the remainder of the season, creating a quarantined, bubble-esque environment seems like as close to a perfect solution as can exist in these strange times.

Such a plan would prioritize the safety of players and league personnel, offer up an opportunity to complete the season and avoid the prospect of any TV deals needing to be renegotiated or refunded, and provide live sports to entertain a public that’s currently starved for such entertainment.

Still, for as many boxes as such a plan might check, it doesn’t solve all potential problems.

A plan of that nature would require players to still put themselves at risk in terms of leaving their homes and coming into incredibly close contact with other individuals. Perhaps even more significantly, it would ask players to leave their families and live in a quarantined environment away from them for a couple of months at least.

With all of that considered, it’s a simple reality that there are going to be differences of opinions among players, and even teammates, about whether such a scenario is workable.

That has been in evidence with comments made by multiple players in recent weeks, but maybe was laid bare most clearly by LeBron James taking to Twitter on Thursday:

In many ways, James remains the voice and the face of the league, but there’s no doubt that he can’t possibly speak for everyone on this issue.

The competitive nature of players will certainly factor into a desire to get back, but family situations and individual perspective will also factor in uniquely on a case by case basis.

An example of this comes in the form of Bucks guard, and former teammate of LeBron’s, George Hill.

Speaking on a call with the media earlier in the week, Hill, whose wife’s grandmother has beaten the coronavirus, outlined how the prospect of safety is the clear No. 1 priority for him:

"“The world is bigger than just NBA fans. To our fans, it will be exciting to get the season back, to get it up and going and get something to watch on TV.But if this is the cost for safety and health, what we have to ask is, ‘Is it worth it? Is it worth putting yourself on the line, putting your family and kids on the line to make a couple more dollars?’ For me, personally, no.I didn’t grow up with money and I don’t define my life by money. I define my life around happiness, being safe, being able to enjoy life and live this life for a long time.”"

From before the virus halted sports across the world to now when hopes of resumption are growing in many countries, players’ associations have had incredible influence on the paths that various leagues have ultimately opted to take. The NBPA has yet to act as the central driver in the NBA’s decisions to date, but that may well change if opinion among players proves to be split in the weeks ahead.

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The logistics of an NBA return are filled with challenges in their own right, but the personal elements and the willing participation of those who would need to be central to the plan as a whole, could prove to be a notable stumbling block down the line too.