Report: Donovan Mitchell Was On Kyrie Irving’s League Call
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to see the NBA season return. According to reports throughout the day, Irving, a Vice President of the NBA Players Association has been vocal about ending the season before it returns in Orlando. Irving led a conference call with more than 80 players Friday night to discuss the issue according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Utah Jazz guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley were also reportedly on the call.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Sources told Charania of Irving’s message, “I’m not with the systematic racism and the b*******. Something smells a little fishy.”
Irving has expressed concerns over the league’s return in light of the social injustice protests across the country. Early Friday, Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes reported some players are concerned about the optics of returning while the country is in a state of unrest.
In May, a call between NBA superstars attempted to form a united message about the league’s return. However, George Floyd’s death, which sparked protests across the country may have changed the priorities for some players around the league.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Irving is attempting to create a greater platform for players to discuss important social and safety issues.
Irving underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in March and wouldn’t be traveling with the Nets to Orlando. Furthermore, Irving’s speaking history has complicated the matter. The guard once claimed the Earth was flat, a message he later apologized for. Then, Irving said he wanted to retire as a member of the Boston Celtics. However, chemistry issues quickly submarined the Celtics championship hopes. The guard signed with the Nets soon after.
Now, the NBA and the NBAPA must figure out how to weigh Irving’s opinion among the league’s future.
Donovan Mitchell on Kyrie Irving’s Call
The Jazz were reportedly represented by two players Friday night. The starting backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley were both members of the conference call.
Charania’s first was unclear on which players in addition to Irving were pushing to end the NBA’s season.
“Sources: Kyrie Irving led a call of 80-plus NBA players, including Chris Paul/Kevin Durant/Carmelo Anthony/Donovan Mitchell, and Irving and several players spoke up about not supporting resumed season due to nationwide unrest from social injustice/racism,” The tweet read.
However, Mitchell seemed to dismiss the report on Twitter. Bleacher Report summarized Charania’s tweet which drew the reaction from the Jazz All-Star guard.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks elaborated on Charania’s tweets which clarified that Mitchell’s concerns were health-related.
“Regarding Donovan Mitchell,” Rooks tweeted. “Sources say that Donovan expressed his concerns about coronavirus (which he has already had) and the very high risk of injury. That was the context of his comments on playing/not playing.”
Mitchell was the second NBA player to publically test positive for the virus. Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus on March 11.
The league faces tough long term implications regardless of its decision this season. Should the league opt to play out its season as planned, it may fracture t’s relationship with some players who have expressed concern about returning to play. However, canceling the remainder of the season would likely lead to a restructuring of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which could lead to a lockout in the next NBA season.
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