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. [TC: Bradley Beal has since announced his indecision.] That’s an entirely reasonable excuse, and more and more players are finding them…
These players will still be paid, but they are lowering their future market value by expressing less than a full commitment to the team. And it is hard to imagine that many other workplace environments can be made much safer than the planned NBA bubble.
One has to wonder how many other players are planning to drop out, or perhaps hoping that the decision will be made for them: Maybe they will get an injury during training camp, say, or worsening conditions in Florida will require cancellation of the season, or it will become more socially acceptable not to play. In the meantime, the dominant strategy may simply be to wait and root against the resumption of play.
Here is the rest of my Bloomberg column on this topic. The broader point of course is this: if players being paid millions, and put into a highly regulated bubble, and tested regularly, feel this way, what about the broader work force?