Reports have begun to circulate that team executives and agents are angling for the NBA to bite the bullet and cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 season. However, L.A. Lakers star LeBron James is having none of it, strongly denouncing the cancellation rumors in a social media post on Thursday.
James — the four-time NBA MVP and three-time world champion — took to Twitter in response to the reports and maintained that any talk of execs or agents trying to shut things down is false and that he hasn’t heard anything of the like from people he knows.
“Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.”
Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. ????
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 30, 2020
Rumors that the NBA could keep its doors closed amid the coronavirus pandemic and wait to reopen until next season have been circulating since the shut-down began in the wake of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test back in March. The league quickly moved to suspend play following those test results and uncertainty about when or if the ’19-20 campaign would be concluded has loomed ever since.
On Thursday, CNBC‘s Jabari Young tipped off a firestorm by reporting that execs are feeling the pressure and frustrated with a lack of information from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office. Young says they are now pushing for cancellation of the season in favor of ensuring a safe return to play next season.
While James’ tweet may echo the desires of a majority of NBA players and fans, the 35-year-old definitely has a vested interest in seeing play resume from a competitive standpoint. At 49-14, the Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference and were challenging the Milwaukee Bucks for the best mark in the league before the suspension of play. With All-Star big man Anthony Davis helping to lead the charge, the Lakers may have been the favorites to win the NBA championship this summer.
If the season is cancelled, that is no longer a possibility. And with Davis owning a player option on his contract for next season and the Golden State Warriors likely re-entering the title picture with a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson next season, getting to the NBA Finals and winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy could prove even more difficult to accomplish in 2020-21.
With the NBA currently on hiatus, the big discussion among league pundits has been the age-old GOAT debate between James and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, which has been reignited by the airing of ESPN’s The Last Dance docu-series, which chronicles Jordan’s final year in Chicago. Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who spent time with James during his days as an assistant, has chimed in saying that MJ had something that James doesn’t: a “killer mentality.”