LeBron James has emphatically rejected reports that executives and agents are calling for the remainder of the NBA season to be cancelled.
According to CNBC’s Jabari Young, executives and agents are calling on the league office to cancel the season, citing health risks, uncertainty and dwindling financial incentives amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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However LeBron has since smacked down the report.
“Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true.” the Los Angeles Lakers superstar wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season.
“I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.”
Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. 👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 30, 2020
NBA commissioner Adam Silver informed teams on Monday of plans to re-open practice facilities under strict guidelines where permitted as soon as May 8.
Ongoing discussion of the potential single-site venue for the remainder of the season turned this week from Las Vegas to Disney World.
The NBA has reportedly considered a rollout plan to resume basketball activity, starting with individual workouts, and Silver has said the league will be “ready to go” when given “the all clear”.
But Young says some team executives and agents have serious reservations about the mixed messages the league is sending both privately and publicly by even considering a return to the 2019-20 season amid the COVID-19 crisis, much less the safety risks for players and team personnel.
The cancellation of the current season would allow everyone to concentrate on a safe return to 2020-21.
NBA owners worried about costs
According to CNBC, NBA owners are weighing the cost benefit of returning, since it would surely take place with no fans, and players have already agreed to a 25 per cent pay cut starting May 15.
The window to resume in time to complete a regular season is growing shorter by the day, and non-playoff teams are reportedly already resigned to losing local television revenue.
There are also liability issues to consider by putting non-essential employees back to work during a health crisis.
“What [owners] are saying is, ‘If we return, where is the revenue that is going to justify the additional cost of returning?’” one team executive told Young.
“They are looking at the cost side versus the revenue side. What revenue comes in now?”
Meanwhile, the NBA is eager to recoup lost revenue from national TV and sponsorship deals.
“It is the responsibility of the league office to explore all options for a return to play this season,” an NBA spokesperson told CNBC in a statement.
“We owe that to our fans, teams, players, partners and all who love the game. While our top priority remains everyone’s health and well-being, we continue to evaluate all options to finish this season.
“At the same time, we are intensely focused on addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 on the 2020-21 season.”
with Ben Rohrbach - Yahoo Sports