Even though he serves as the players’ union rep for the Los Angeles Lakers, Danny Green was not among the participants on the call Kyrie Irving held on Friday night about whether the NBA should resume its season as planned at a quarantine site in Orlando. Green was under the impression a call would take place on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Green has stayed dialed in as the Lakers’ representative with the National Basketball Players Association. Ever since the NBA suspended the season on March 11 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Green has consistently kept his teammates informed about what the NBPA has discussed among each other and with the league about resuming a season.
NBA sets timeline:Coaches can begin working with players on June 23
So Green talked with USA TODAY Sports on Friday night to catch up on where things stand. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Where do things stand right now with talks the NBA and NBPA are having?
Green: “It’s very up in the air right now. There are still a lot of moving parts. We’re trying to figure that out. We have 80 percent knowledge of how Orlando is going to be. There are still moving parts to figure out, which teams are going to stay where, how they’re going to do it and how they’re operating in the bubble. Right now, the bubble doesn’t seem as effective as they would like or as lenient as we would like. We’ll have to figure it out.”
What are the main concerns about the bubble?
Green: “The biggest concern is for most teams is hotels, who is staying where, the space, friends and family visiting, seeing how they are going to quarantine them, if we’re going to be quarantined and for how long if we leave the bubble. How often testing is going to be?”
What feedback have you been given?
Green: “Testing is going to be often. There are so many moving parts. There’s nothing that’s set and going to be established, except there is going to be a bubble and there will be 22 teams and allow visitors to come after the first round of the playoffs. That’s all the things you’ve read, heard or seen. It’s out there, and it’s all we know. We’re trying to figure it out.”
So they haven’t indicated how much flexibility there is with leaving the bubble?
Green: “No, not yet. The biggest thing is trying to figure it out the number of family, friends and visitors.”
The players’ union announced last week it reached an agreement with the NBA to resume the season with 22 teams. Some details were still being negotiated. But since that vote was made, have there been anything that have given at least a segment of players any second thoughts?
Green: “No, I haven’t heard anything of being changed. Obviously, the biggest thing that people are discussing and talking about is what’s going on in the world and not basketball. If it wasn’t to do anything, it would be because of the movement with social justice. That’s the only thing that I know about. Outside of that, nothing that I know has changed.”
There are reports suggesting some players have varying opinions on what could help the most with raising awareness on those issues, and if having the season would help or distract from that cause. Where do you stand?
Green: “The biggest thing is to continue to move forward. When we do go to Orlando, the media outlets and playing on that stage, if you use it wisely the right way you can push forward and can continue the movement even in a better forum.”
Were you part of the call with Kyrie?
Green: “No. I tried to get on the call. I couldn’t get in. I didn’t know there was one (Friday). I thought it was (Saturday). So I don’t know about a call (Friday). If there was one (Friday), I was invited to one and couldn’t get on. But somebody told me it was (Saturday). There was a call today?
Apparently. ESPN, Yahoo and the Athletic have tweeted out details that a number of players were on the call, and reported some of the takeaways.
Green: “I thought there was a call (Friday). I tried to get on. But I wasn’t on that call because somebody told me there was a call (Saturday). I don’t know. But I wasn’t on that call (Friday).”
Given your role as the Lakers’ players rep for the NBPA, how often were you in touch with your teammates with updates?
Green: “We had our team group chat. There were no Zoom calls. I just have my podcast. Outside of that, there wasn’t anything mandatory. The coaching staff and organization held some Zoom meetings and calls when there were updates for each team and each city. Outside of that, there wasn’t a scheduled thing. Since the updates in the last month or two with Michele [Roberts] and the Players Association, we had calls about every two weeks. Then it was about a once-a-week call. It was consistent with updates on the league and where they were at.”
What was the feedback on how comfortable players were with with resuming the season?
Green: “I don’t think people were breaking down the circumstances. They were trying to figure out the best way to play. They were trying to get back to hooping. They knew we were losing money and the league was losing money. For us to get it back or at least get back on schedule, we had to figure out a way to play. That way it wouldn’t hurt us in the long run in the future with renegotiating a new CBA deal next year as well. The main focus for the guys was waiting for the call and staying prepared and hoping that the time came.”
So with that said, did you sense most of the guys were in favor of resuming the season as opposed to feeling there’s too much risk involved?
Green: “I think most guys wanted the season to come back. I didn’t think guys were against the season coming back or wanting it to be canceled. We’re all for it and didn’t want to lose out on the season. They didn’t want to lose out on winning a championship. They didn’t want to lose out on maximizing their dollar. If we lost the season, we would’ve lost a good portion of our checks.”
How did the players’ union vote work? Did it involve just the executive committee? Or did the player reps also have a vote?
Green: “Most of the player reps voted for the teams. There was a player rep and a secondary rep. Most teams that voted, I’m pretty sure it was unanimous if I had to remember. I don’t think there was anybody that was opposed to it. I could be wrong. But when I was on the call, it seemed like everybody was in favor of it.”
So to clarify, the player reps voted?
“Yeah I’m sure other people did the voting too. But we all voted as player reps and teams. They talked to us as individuals and as teams. We had different calls and meetings.”
Where do you see things going from here with the players’ union’s talks?
Green: “It’s becoming more and more consistent. It’s becoming more common. It’s going in the right direction. It can only be better if we have the communication and continue it.”
What’s your level of optimism the season will resume as planned?
Green: “Right now they reported that in Orlando everything is set. So I haven’t heard anything differently.”