Danny Green, a member of the Lakers championship team, believes LeBron James will decline to play the start of the season if the NBA goes ahead with discussions regarding a Dec. 22 season opener.
The Lakers conquered Miami for the NBA title in a six-game series in the Orlando bubble on Oct. 12.
“Dec. 22 is not on my mind,’’ Green said on The Ringer’s basketball podcast. “I think most guys, if you say they’re starting in December, I think they’re like, ‘I’m not going to be there.’ Because we have a lot of vets on our team. It’s not like we have young guys and rookies. We have three or four young guys and rookies if we’re fortunate to bring the same team back.”
James won his fourth title in his 10th NBA Finals appearance at age 35.
“Bron’s been in the Finals 10 years out of his 17 years, which is unbelievable mentally,’’ said Green, who hails from Long Island. “It’s draining to do that. To have that quick a restart, I wouldn’t expect to see him there. I wouldn’t expect to see him probably the first month of the season. He’d probably work out with us but I don’t expect guys to want to be there or show up willingly.”
Commissioner Adam Silver had said earlier this month he expected the season opener in January at the earliest. However, at last week’s Board of Governors meeting, serious talks centered on a Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 campaign.
Green said he realizes some other teams who haven’t played in a while would want to play sooner than later, but not the Lakers.
“It’s a possibility because the league really wants those Christmas games,’’ Green said. “But in my mind it’s highly unlikely.”
One scenario is for games to be played in home arenas without spectators at the season’s outset because of the COVID-19 spike. But Green said he has heard other ideas floated such as “multiple bubble situations or four bubbles.’’
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