The NBA season is on the brink of ending early after a meeting Wednesday involving players, coaches, and referees that David Aldridge of The Athletic described as ending « ugly. »
The remaining teams in the Disney World bubble held a meeting after all six NBA teams scheduled to play on Wednesday boycotted games to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The boycotts began when the Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor for Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic.
Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported — and it has since been reported by other NBA insiders — that both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers voted to boycott the remainder of the season. According to Charania, LeBron James left the meeting early and was followed by the remainder of the Lakers and the Clippers.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described the vote as « more of a polling » than a final vote and said there hadn’t been a final decision.
During the meeting, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported that players felt sitting out one game was « meaningless. » Additionally, players — including James — demanded to see action from owners, according to Mannix, who added that some believed the season might be over if action couldn’t be agreed on.
According to Marc Spears of ESPN, Jaylen Brown, of the Boston Celtics, challenged players on what they would do if they left the bubble.
« If you leave, are you going to leave and hang out with your families? » Brown said, according to Spears on ESPN. « Are you going to be in the trenches? Are you going to be in the streets? »
The NBA reporter Jeff Goodman tweeted that one NBA player called the meeting « emotional » and « heated » but hoped cooler heads would prevail Thursday.
The players are expected to meet again on Thursday. According to Wojnarowski, players continued to discuss the situation well into the night and there’s some « optimism » of finishing the season.
« Several key members of Lakers — and some peers around league — stayed up until early AM hours talking through issues in The Bubble, » Wojnarowski wrote on Twitter. « Among key players in league heading into 11 AM meeting, there’s optimism about a majority of players wanting to continue playoffs. »
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