Celtics forward Jaylen Brown says the consensus among NBA players is that they want the league to resume, just not at the expense of the public.
“We don’t want to come back too early and make people feel like things are OK and that things are not potentially dangerous,” Brown said Wednesday afternoon during an appearance on CNN. “All of us want to play.”
Brown was among those on a recent players-only conference call organized by Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, who is also president of the National Basketball Players Association. Brown, one of the NBPA vice presidents, said the purpose of the call was for Paul to “do his due diligence” and “get a feel for what players want” amid the league’s shutdown as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Others on the call included Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and Russell Westbrook.
“The most influential players that were on that call that we speak of, a lot of those guys want to continue the season and that’s very important to us,” said Brown.
Brown called testing a determining factor in the return of the NBA, which has halted games since March 11 after its first player tested positive for coronavirus. Both the number of tests available and the speed in which the results come back “need to pick up,” he said.
Should a player test positive after action resumes, the course of action is still unclear. Brown said the league will likely require a quarantine period and could “potentially stop things.”
One thing that is clear is the interest in making the playoffs happen. Like many, Brown is hopeful that the postseason can generate revenue, which will, in turn, bolster basketball-related income and next season’s salary cap.
“The playoffs is what’s important,” Brown said. “I think that’s the big moneymaker for everybody.”
With 18 regular-season games remaining, the Celtics held the third seed in the Eastern Conference prior to the NBA’s hiatus. As much as players want the league to return, however, Brown emphasized the importance of safety.
“We just want to make sure it’s safe,” he said. “As the NBA and as a brand, we want to make sure we’re on par with the science and research that’s being done.”