- NBA’s plan to resume season on July 31 has been approved
- Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley among those questioning restart
- Read below for our advice on how to bet on the NBA restart
It’s the flat earth edition of As the NBA World Turns.
Starring in the saga is Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who has gone counter-culture to the league’s plan to return to play on July 31 in the bio dome-like confines of Disney World in Orlando.
Even though the NBA and the Players’ Association have both agreed to the return, Irving’s outspoken views on those plans has turned heads — most notably of fellow colleagues — enough that there is a question whether basketball does launch on the planned date.
Date of Next NBA Regular Season Game
|On or Before August 1||-400|
|After August 1||+250|
*Odds from June 18
Let’s track the happenings that got us to this point, and if those factors should have you rethinking this bet.
Irving Speaks His Mind
The teams have been picked, the format set, the date announced, and most recently, the NBA released its 100-page health and safety protocol plan for life in the bubble for the basketball season to resume.
Kyrie Irving originally voted in favour of the season resuming but changed his mind when he found out he wouldn’t be allowed into the bubble, according to Matt Barnes and Kendrick Perkins. pic.twitter.com/JfcoJ2OL4G
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) June 17, 2020
Enter Irving: who should be known best for otherworldly skills, drilling the most important shot in Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise history and helping deliver the 2016 NBA Championship. Instead, his career since has been marred with questionable conduct both on and off the court.
Kyrie Irving's conferece call last week was a vehicle for players to voice concerns about going to Orlando.
Irving feels attacked because what went from being a conversation amongst players has become personal and the Nets PG feels skapegoated. pic.twitter.com/ZsDxgABWHj
— ??Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A. (@ScoopB) June 17, 2020
On his third team in three seasons, Irving is under the microscope for making a plea to players to sit out the season during a conference call last week. As an executive on the NBPA, he spoke to over 100 players on topics like social issues, league economics and calling for unity, as per a report from ESPN.
Concerns Have Validity
The 28-year-old Irving has had other discussions as well: with players on his own Nets team about disbanding from the NBA and creating their own league, as well as individual calls with players. Depending on where you read, Kyrie could have as many as 200 players in his corner questioning the return to play. Players have until June 24 to announce their intention to play or pass.
Sources tell me that Kyrie Irving never stated that the Nets should begin their own league in response to the bubble.
I'm told that after that report came out, he left the group chat.
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 17, 2020
Unlike his outlandish statement and belief the world was flat a couple of years back (which he had to walk back), these have to be topics that have crossed other players’ minds. It just has to.
The United States and most of the world are just starting to climb out of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police has sparked an uprising across the world for equality and justice against police brutality towards black and indigenous people.
A coalition of NBA players including Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley and more are pursuing further examination of the NBA's plan to restart the season in Orlando.
— ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2020
Part of Irving’s concern is basketball returning can curb momentum towards real change. He’s easily the biggest star in the league to speak out. LA Lakers’ teammates Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley are both also in lock step with Kyrie.
Dwight Howard says basketball "isn't needed at this moment." pic.twitter.com/Mh4GnH4j04
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2020
Irving Opposing LeBron?
Howard and Bradley may make things awkward in their own locker room, because although he hasn’t spoken out about returning to play, LeBron James is reportedly welcoming the return to the season — and also of the belief that he can effect change while doing his day job.
— ESPN (@espn) June 14, 2020
Irving and LeBron have a weird relationship, at best, since Irving demanded a trade from Cleveland before the start of the 2018-19 season. While the two are portrayed as opposing each other, in the court of public opinion and in power dynamic, there’s a belief that all-important decisions must have King approval — including the return to basketball.
What’s the Best Bet?
Health and safety is obviously the top concern in the NBA bubble, with specific protocols for everything from testing, infection, eating meals, leaving and returning the bubble, to rules for no doubles in ping pong in the games room.
Irving and the players aside, this season still could be derailed as the United States battles COVID-19, which already includes a devastating 110,000+ death count. If the recent surges in cases in Florida don’t calm, expect more conversations and discussions from both the league and the players.
Stephen A Smith compares what Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard are doing to rioting and destroying their own community
Max Kellerman "Rioting in their own communities? Black people don't own those communities" pic.twitter.com/YQXquGkDXm
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 15, 2020
And that’s where taking the longshot is probably a worthy bet, and the only one that I’d make. Even with plans in place and everything set, there are still lots of questions on how this is going to be executed.
It’s no surprise that even in the NBA’s guide, it is mandatory to have a specialist available for each team to handle the mental health of players, who have never been forced to stay on campus for three straight months under these types of conditions.
There are plenty of red flags. If they were raised by someone other than Kyrie, I think we’d all be less dismissive.
The pick: After August 1 (+250)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.