Report: Lakers believe Dwight Howard plans to play in Orlando
Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard never intended to stop the NBA restart by addressing concerns in a call organized by Kyrie Irving last week, he said in a statement on Wednesday. He helped players make their own decisions about playing, and although he didn't say what he was going to decide, the Lakers believed he wanted to play, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Avery Bradley has also raised public concerns about the Orlando restart, which is scheduled to start on July 30, and the organization is "less clear" about its plans, according to Times.
Howard, Irving, think basketball is "a distraction."
Howard released a statement over the weekend in which he agreed with Irving that "basketball or entertainment is currently not needed and will only be a distraction." Irving is said to be against a trip to Orlando and wants to work on the front for racial justice. The Brooklyn Nets star is said to have proposed teammates to start their own league.
Howard never intended to prevent the season from restarting
Dwight Howard, the center of the Los Angeles Lakers, released a statement clarifying his thoughts about the NBA's return to the game. (Brian Rothmüller / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Howard released another statement on Stadium on Wednesday, clarifying what he meant by joining Irving's call. He said the group hadn't tried to "stop" the league's plan, and it was "silly" to suggest that they could anyway.
Lakers Center Dwight Howard: "Executives sometimes become selfish and forget the people they are supposed to represent ... We support the NBA, but in order to do it right, we have to support each and every one of us who represents that name."
status / 1273372676132941825
Dwakers Howard of Lakers in a statement to @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: "Our main goal is to raise awareness and increase transparency ... Many of our teammates are afraid to express their concerns and will continue to do what they need to do hold . "
1:16 - June 18, 2020
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Howard's statement is partially:
“Our main goal is to raise awareness and gain transparency about things that affect us together. Many of our teammates are afraid to express their concerns and continue to follow what they think they are doing.
“Some of these players may have leaders who could speak for them, but unfortunately, as history shows, the leaders sometimes become selfish and forget about the people they are supposed to represent. Some leaders even use fear and intimidation to ensure that they serve their own ideas while forgetting the feelings of their people.
“At a time like this when we're fighting for equality, it would be contradictory if we told our own players not to play and do what we say. We are not here to dictate, nor do we have the power to do so. We want to ensure that communication takes place openly and without fear.
"As radical as Kyrie may sound, he's 100% right. We are no longer slaves, so every man has the right to be transparent in order to make informed decisions.
“And as Avery said, when making decisions, make sure we think of everyone together and don't move for selfish reasons.
"If one of us chooses to sit, it has nothing to do with another player's right to play." None of us told any of our brothers to go to the Orlando Bubble Experiment, and we emphasized that in our meetings.
“We spoke about our individual points of view, which we are entitled to as men and women with freedom of speech. We emphasized the importance of unity among us, even if we have different opinions. "
The call was made with more than 80 NBA and WNBA players to address concerns about returning to basketball during a national period of unrest following the death of George Floyd and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The WNBA and its players union agreed on a bubble plan at IMG Academy in Florida that was scheduled to start in late July.
A gap in the Lakers?
Howard and Avery's stance has raised questions of an organizational divide, although an unnamed player ESPN said that this was not the case.
LeBron James is reportedly still on board to continue the season. He believes that he can win a title as well as work for a racial justice reform.
About the Los Angeles Times:
"I think there is no question among the players what LeBron is up to," said a person familiar with James' thinking.
The Lakers are leading the Western Conference with 5.5 games and have a solid chance of winning the NBA title.
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