The NBA’s Reopening Is a Warning Sign for the U.S. Economy
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As a fan of professional basketball and a student of economic game theory, I am becoming increasingly concerned. I fear that the NBA, in particular, may be reflecting a still-hidden trend in the broader economy: People may not actually be so keen to return to work.
The NBA is planning to resume a fragment of its regular season, and then the playoffs, in a custom-tailored “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, on July 30. The games will be played only among the top teams in a single complex, with regular testing and tight regulations governing the entry of outsiders. The league is going to the maximum lengths possible to ensure a safe reopening.
There’s only one problem: An increasing number of players do not seem very interested in being guinea pigs in this experiment. At first the secessions were a trickle. Now they are picking up steam.
Davis Bertrans, arguably the second-best active player on my home team the Washington Wizards, will not play because he doesn’t want to risk injury and endanger his prospects as a free agent next season. That’s an entirely reasonable excuse, and more and more players are finding them.
The Brooklyn Nets may be going into the bubble without the services of DeAndre Jordan and possibly Spencer Dinwiddie, one of their most important players. Both tested positive for Covid-19, and again that seems like a reasonable excuse for not playing. But of course — assuming they stay fine — they should be safe to play by the start of the resumed season. Or at least as safe as any player can be known to be. The net result may be that the Nets are simply a shell of a team.
Portland Trail Blazer veteran Trevor Ariza is not showing up so he can spend time with his son, as part of a custody arrangement. On the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the favorites to win the championship, starting point guard Avery Bradley will not appear for fear of endangering the health of his son, who has respiratory issues....
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