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The devil remains in the details of the NBA’s return-to-play plan

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Memphis Grizzlies vs Brooklyn Nets Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

It appears that many of the details of the NBA’s return-to-play plan are still uncertain, including how many players will be permitted in the “bubble” planned for Walt Disney World outside Orlando.

The roster situation will have an effect on the Nets ultimate roster. According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks, the Nets won’t be able to add roster players beyond their two-way players, Chris Chiozza and Jeremiah Martin. Woj and Marks write...

Teams are allowed to bring as many as 17 players to Orlando, including 14 or 15 players on a standard NBA contract and additional two-way spots. For instance, Brooklyn can designate two-way players Chris Chiozza and Jeremiah Martin as roster spots 14 and 15 to replace injured stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, the Nets wouldn’t be allowed to sign two replacements for Durant and Irving.

While nothing is settled, this would appear to end speculation on who the Nets will sign as replacements for KD and Kyrie. The Nets had no open roster spots when play stopped on March 11. If they had, they apparently could have converted Chiozza’s two-way to a standard deal which would have given them the option of adding another player. The Thunder, who had an open roster spot, will likely convert Lugentz Dort’s two-way contract and be able to add another player.

Keith Smith tweeted that the Nets could still convert Chiozza to a standard deal, even add an additional year to his deal. That would prevent the 5’11” point guard from becoming a restricted free agent this fall.

However, Smith later noted that nothing is settled...

Woj and Marks also disclosed other new wrinkles in rules governing “bubble” rosters.

  • Free-agent players such as DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas — who were on NBA rosters this season — and those who weren’t — JR Smith and Jamal Crawford, for example — are eligible to sign into open roster spots.
  • Teams won’t be allowed to sign international players, such as Nikola Mirotic, who weren’t on NBA rosters this season. Players who were playing internationally and did not have FIBA clearance at the time the season was postponed would be ruled ineligible.

Meanwhile, there are rumblings that some NBA players are thinking about opting out of the “bubble.” Among them is Carmelo Anthony of the Blazers who said he’s “up in the air” because of health concerns.

Players will be forced to spend between 53 and 67 games at Walt Disney World, Woj and Marks wrote. All but 14 of the teams will be eliminated within 53 days of arriving — and only four teams will remain after 67 days, sources said told them.

If a player declines to play, neither he will not face sanctions, other than lost pay, and his team will be able to replace him.

Other players are concerned about playing basketball in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Would it be appropriate?

One union official, the Nets Garrett Temple, told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that he’s working to ensure that as many players as possible come to Orlando, making and taking calls. Temple argued that playing games —and earning a paycheck— is actually one of the best ways players can advance the cause of black people.

“The difference in the economic gap between white America and black America is astronomical,” Temple said. “I can’t in good conscience tell my brethren to throw away millions of dollars in order to create change that I don’t see the direct impact of — if there was a direct impact of laws changing, that would be a different story.”

The NBA, he said, has helped black men earn “generational wealth,” that is, wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation.

“So, when people bring up not playing — we are a few black men that can make a little bit of money,” Temple said. “It is not a lot of money when [you] think about it in the grand scheme of America. But we can start having a little bit of money, create a little bit of generational wealth.

“But the fact that us not playing will hurt our pockets, I don’t think that is the right way to go about it.”