Analyzing the Fallout of the NBA Boycotts

Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the Milwaukee Bucks shocked the world by boycotting their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The NBA Boycotts continued, as players boycotted the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers game. Following a player meeting tonight in Orlando that was meant to establish a course of action moving forward, it has now been reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers have voted to boycott the season. All other teams in attendance voted to continue playing.

Analysis of the NBA Boycotts

Immediate Reaction

How will the season continue without the heavyweight Los Angeles teams? This is the biggest immediate question, and it was voiced by Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem during the meeting following the exit of. both Los Angeles teams. Nearly all analysts predicted that one of the Los Angeles franchises would win the West, so it’s clear that the bubble’s competitiveness could be diminished.

Esteemed ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith tweeted that, if the Lakers and Clippers do end up boycotting the bubble, the NBA Season would come to an end. This may not be true in a literal sense, but there will certainly be questions about the validity of this year’s champion. Furthermore, the wording of Smith is quite important, as he directly attributes the “unofficial end of the season” to LeBron James. This move will have a monumental effect not only on his legacy as a player but also as an ambassador and representative for the game of basketball.

Season Outlook

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported the season could be done without adequate action from management. Additionally, Charania reported that James implored owners to become more involved and to take action in response to such injustices. However, the Lakers and Clippers could still conceivably play in the playoffs. As James alluded to, owners could truly take meaningful action towards injustices such as the Blake shooting. If this occurs, there is definitely a path to both franchises playing.

All in all, the resumption of the playoffs is still a mystery. Adrian Wojnarowski reported the vote was more of a poll. It was not necessarily a final vote. According to the report, it’s unlikely any games will occur on Thursday amid the boycotts. However, discussions about the fate of the bubble playoff will continue going forward.

Potential Consequences of the Boycotts

As mentioned previously, the biggest consequence of these NBA boycotts would be the state of the bubble itself. The playoff would be considerably less competitive, and teams such as the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks would have greatly increased chances of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in the fall. The Bucks and Toronto Raptors would become the overwhelming title favorites, while the West would fall into mayhem.

However, another issue to be mindful of is the economics of ending the season. According to Wojnarowski, the NBPA did lay out the financial implications of ending the season. One scary possibility is a future player lockout. However, players like Chris Paul and CJ McCollum reiterated the importance of unity and taking action. Regardless of how the NBA season ends, it’s clear that the players have each other’s backs.

Last Word on Pro Basketball will continue to provide updates as this story unfolds.

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