Best NBA Title Long Shot
As a return to basketball draws nearer and nearer, some NBA players have expressed hesitance on returning to the court. Those players, reportedly concerned with a combination of COVID-19, separation from their families and racial injustice, have largely gone unnamed to this point. But on Wednesday, Carmelo Anthony spoke to Ernie Johnson on #NBATogether and revealed that he is uncertain about playing at Disney World.
“As far as actually playing and going back down into Orlando, I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details.” Anthony said. “We don’t know a lot of information, so until we have that, it’s hard to just commit to that 100 percent.”
Anthony had previously expressed excitement on the prospect of returning to play. “With Nurk and Zach (Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins) and guys being healthy — that’s what we’ve been looking for,” Anthony told CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger in a recent interview. “I feel like if we have a healthy team then, yes, we want to go in. We want to go in and compete because I know we would be able to compete at a high level if we have all of those pieces back.”
Anthony’s Portland Trail Blazers are currently locked in a three-way tie for the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference. Should the team that ultimately finishes No. 9 be within four games in the standings of the team that finishes No. 8 (currently the Memphis Grizzlies), they would force a play-in situation between those two teams. If No. 9 manages to beat No. 8 twice in a row, No. 9 would earn the final playoff seed in that conference.
Anthony did not elaborate on what details he is waiting for specifically in regards to a return. The plan for families joining players, at least for the moment, would allow up to three family members to enter the bubble after the first round of the postseason. Specifics on the NBA’s plan to keep players safe from COVID-19 within the Disney bubble and any ideas they might have on the social justice front are still being developed. The NBA hopes to send safety guidelines to teams by the end of the week, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Anthony may be the first player to come forward with his skepticism on returning, but he likely won’t be the last. Given everything happening in the world right now, players would be more than justified in deciding that playing basketball just isn’t worthwhile right now.