Yet even when the first teams arrived, two more high-profile players were excluded for the rest of the season on Tuesday: Bradley Beal of Washington and Spencer Dinwiddie of the nets.
Beal’s decision was no surprise, as he had voiced numerous security concerns and restrictions on players once inside the NBA bubble. He was officially ruled out due to the persistent effects of a shoulder injury, leaving Washington without his top three players: Beal, the former All-Star John Wall injured and Davis Bertans, the Washington striker who recently announced that he would not he would play guard against injury as he enters a potentially profitable off-season as a free agent.
Dinwiddie, who tested positive for coronavirus last week and again on Monday, had headaches and dizziness. He announced on Twitter that he and the networks had made a joint decision to end his breakout season while remaining symptomatic. With an average of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game, Dinwiddie is one of at least five network veterans who will not be available to restart, joining Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler.
On Tuesday, the nets were in talks to sign veteran Amir Johnson to replace Jordan, according to two people who were not allowed to publicly discuss the team’s plans. Jordan also tested positive for coronavirus last week and immediately excluded itself from restarting. Chandler cited familiar reasons for not playing; Durant (Achilles tendon) and Irving (shoulder) are recovering from injury.
The uncomfortable reality for the league at the start of such an important week is that an increasing number of players have expressed concern about the restart, raising concerns that go beyond the coronavirus and the risk of injury, although the fact that at least seven of the 22 Disney-related teams in the past two weeks have closed their practice facilities at some point due to positive tests that have certainly raised concerns.
Nets Garrett Temple, a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, acknowledged in an interview Sunday that there is considerable anxiety on the part of players about the challenges of life and play on the Disney campus for at least six weeks and potentially up to three months for teams reaching the final.
“I guess more than half of the league, of the players who are going, have had second thoughts,” Temple said on Sunday, describing his condition as “nervous anxiety.”