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Indiana’s Brogdon says some NBA players might skip return

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says some NBA players are considering skipping the planned 22-team restart to the coronavirus-halted 2019-20 campaign in Orlando next month.

The NBA shut down in March due to the deadly virus outbreak but is expected to return in late July once final details are worked out between the league and the National Basketball Players Association.

Speaking on a podcast by New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick, union executive Brogdon cited several reasons why some players are having second thoughts, including coronavirus safety issues and concerns over isolation for weeks in the Florida “bubble” environment.

“I’ve talked to a few guys that are super interested in sitting out possibly,” Brogdon said. “I was actually talking to (Oklahoma City guard) Chris Paul the other day, and he said, ‘Man, this is an individual decision that every man has to make for himself.’

“And I think that’s exactly what it is. It depends on your perspective.”

Brogdon said that some players are concerned about going into quarantine for weeks as major changes in the black community are underway across the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody and the worldwide protests and social movements that followed.

Playing basketball when racism and police brutality concerns are high might not be a comfortable mix for some players, Brogdon said.

“Some guys are going to say, ‘For health reasons, and COVID, and the long-term effects that we don’t understand about COVID, I want to sit out,'” Brogdon said.

“Other guys are going to say, ‘The black community and my people are going through too much for me to basically be distracted with basketball. I’m not going to prioritize this over the black community. I’m going to sit out.’

“Then there’s another group of guys… who are going to say, ‘This is the most amount of money I’m going to make in my lifetime. It doesn’t make sense to hand this money back. I can do so much good in my community if I have this money.’

“It’s a matter of perspective. I think guys are gathering to really talk about and dive deep into the idea of not playing.”

Brogdon also says players should note the focus they will draw as the playoffs continue.

“The attention on you and your platform actually grows the farther you stay in Orlando,” he said. “That’s a perspective I want guys to think about and understand before they make a decision.”

Another issue for some could be the lack of visits by family and friends at the Disney World complex until after the first playoff round — nearly seven weeks after the anticipated start of mid-July training camps — and the lockdown status of the bubble.

Reports say hotel workers could enter and exit the bubble area, which could add to safety concerns about possible contraction of the deadly virus.

Brogdon averaged 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists for the Pacers when the shutdown came with Indiana at 39-26 and fifth in the Eastern Conference.

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