If basketball returns, it appears unlikely the Los Angeles Lakers will have Dwight Howard as part of their roster after the veteran big man issued a strong statement saying “no basketball till we get things resolved.”
Howard provided a statement to CNN through his agent, explaining his reasoning for not wanting to resume the NBA season in Orlando next month.
“I agree with Kyrie [Irving]. Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure it might not distract us, the players, but we have resources at hand [the] majority of our community don’t have. And the smallest distraction for them can start a trickle down effect that may never stop. Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of my people would be an even bigger championship, that’s just to (sic) beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families. This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should take full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families. This is where our unity starts. At home! With family! European colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African American is not a nation or nationality. It’s time our families became their own nations. No basketball till we get things resolved.”
Dwight Howard statement, provided by his agent, to CNN: pic.twitter.com/sk9uSSHlpp
— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) June 14, 2020
Kyrie Irving Leading Campaign to Stop NBA Restart in Orlando
Howard and teammate Avery Bradley are in the same camp as Irving, who organized a call with more than 80 other NBA players on Friday to discuss the NBA restarting inside the bubble of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving told the players. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bull—-. Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Kyrie Irving told NBA players on call Friday, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: "I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. Something smells a little fishy."
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 13, 2020
Before the NBA season was put on hold, the Lakers were rolling behind James and Anthony Davis, reeling off a 49-14 record — the best in the Western Conference. If the season restarts, they are the favorite to win the title at +200.
Bradley has started 44 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 8.6 points and providing a solid defensive presence.
Howard has had a resurgent season back in Los Angeles, providing a spark at the center position off the bench with 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He’ll be a free agent after this season.
Lakers NBPA Rep Danny Green Expects Season to Go on
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) voted on a conference call to approve the 22-team restart plan earlier this month, as did the owners.
“The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has approved further negotiations with the NBA on a 22-team return to play scenario to restart the 2019-20 NBA season,” the statement from the union said. “Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.”
Danny Green, who is the Lakers union rep, said in a Q&A with USA Today that he expects the season to resume as planned, despite the recent push back.
“Right now they reported that in Orlando everything is set. So I haven’t heard anything differently,” Green said.