If the NBA tips off in December, the league might be missing some of its biggest stars, according to Los Angeles Lakers veteran Danny Green.
Green spoke with The Ringer on the topic of a start date, which is rumored to be Dec. 22. He said that many of the league’s top players — including Lakers superstar LeBron James — would sit out and take additional time off.
“If we start in December, I think most guys [are like] ‘I’m not going to be there,” Green said. “We have a lot of vets on our team, it’s not like we have a lot of young guys and rookies. If we are fortunate enough to bring the same team back, we have [Rajon Rondo] on Year 15, Dwight’s [Howard] Year 16, ’Bron Year 18.
“These guys just played a whole season. And ’Bron has been to the Finals 10 years out of his 17 years. That’s unbelievable mentally — it’s draining. To have that quick of a restart, I wouldn’t expect [LeBron] to be there for the first month of the season. He’ll probably be working out with us, but I don’t expect guys to want to be there or show up willingly.”
Green’s teammate Jared Dudley echoed that sentiment in a Tweet Monday.
The show will go on, just don’t cry a river when stars sit out TV games… esp Top teams that played a longer full season … https://t.co/sCw5NmhBLp
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) October 26, 2020
“The show will go on, just don’t cry a river when stars sit out TV games,” Dudley said. “Especially top teams that played a longer full season.”
LeBron James Has Body on a Strict Schedule
There’s a good chance Green is right, and there’s no reason to think that he wouldn’t have a good read on the room. The owners reportedly are set on the Dec. 22 date to keep the Christmas Day schedule intact and make up for some lost time last season. If that was the case, it would cut the players’ off time nearly in half, going from the usual 140ish days between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of the season to just 73.
James spends millions of dollars on his body to make sure he can maintain the MVP-form he has shown for nearly two decades. He admitted before the NBA restart in the bubble that he was not sure how his body was going to react to the stoppage and playing at a different time of year after the layoff.
“My body was like, ‘Hey man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13, you’re getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?’ And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason,” James told the Road Trippin’ Podcast hosted by his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
December Start Date Adds More Money, Return to Normalcy
Of course, there’s a reason why owners want the early start. The NBA league office informed the Board of Governors that the Dec. 22 tip-off would increase revenue by more than $500 million, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 23, 2020
It would also mean a condensed season of 72 games and players being able to have their summers back, which Blazers star Damian Lillard pointed out on Twitter.
If that gets my summer off season back lol https://t.co/iukbRDdBok
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) October 26, 2020
It would also allow players to participate in the Olympics, which are slated for July if everything goes right.