Though he’s yet to make a public statement about the controversy surrounding the NBA return, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James could be the deciding factor. As the league’s best player for at least a decade, he has an unprecedented amount of influence. While there appears to be a sizeable group of players who don’t want the season to return, they may not have much of a say if James has made up his mind, according to Mark Medina and Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY:
While the NBA and players have issues to resolve, two people familiar with talks between the two sides told USA TODAY Sports they expect to find common ground and play the season. Another person told USA TODAY Sports that as long as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James still wants to resume the season, he will have the support of most players.
There’s been no indication that James doesn’t want the season to continue and there have been reports that he thinks it’s better for his social activism if he does play.
Adam Silver Weighs In
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has had an incredibly difficult job over the last several months. Not only did he have to pull the trigger on suspending the season, he now has to play a big role in figuring out how to bring basketball back. He finally had a plan in place to reboot things but now that is compromised.
“As we work through these issues, I can understand how some players may feel that’s it’s not for them,” Silver said Monday on ESPN. “Not surprisingly, there’s not a uniform view among those players. My sense is we’re going to be able to work through most of those issues over the next few weeks.”
The NBA was supposed to be the first of the major sports league to return and there’s a lot of eyes on them. Players are concerned they won’t be able to focus on social activism if the season comes back, but Silver doesn’t think that’s the case.
“There will be an enormous amount of media attention focused on the players down there,” Silver said. “For better or worse, they’re going to have a lot of time on their hands. There will be an enormous time to engage in social media. … There will be an opportunity — this is what a lot of players have talked to me about — to meet with each other to talk about what the next steps are.”
Silver finds himself in a very difficult situation as he doesn’t want players to feel like their voices aren’t heard.
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No Drama for Lakers?
Among the players who have been most vocal about being apprehensive of an NBA return are two Lakers. Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard are advocates for not bringing things back. However, Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley have denounced that idea on social media. It also appears James is a big advocate of continuing the season.
Despite the disagreements, there is apparently no tension in the team’s locker room.
“(There’s) no divide,” one player told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
One of the things that have made the Lakers so good this season is their excellent chemistry. It could be compromised by the current differences in opinion but it appears things are staying cordial right now.