SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is part of a group that is looking into the possibility of an insurance policy that would protect a player who suffers serious injury in Orlando, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The group of players is highlighted by some of the leagues most notable young talent, many of whom are the standouts from the 2017 draft class. It’s no coincidence that these players are concerned about being injured this summer, as they are eligible for rookie extensions during the upcoming free-agency period.
Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum – members of the 2017 draft class soon eligible rookie extensions -- are talking with NBPA about facilitating with league on insurance allowances for players. https://t.co/lRskauNjSK— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 13, 2020
Once play is set to begin in Orlando in late July after a short training camp, the players will have been away from NBA action for more than four months, with most of that time spent having been unable to play competitively. Then, after eight regular season games, they’ll go straight into playing the most competitive basketball of the year, so fear of injury is a valid concern.
Mitchell, who could sign a max extension with the Jazz this offseason worth 25 percent of the team’s salary cap, has obvious reasons for being worried about injury that could jeopardize his future earning potential.
According to Wojnarowski, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and Boston’s Jayson Tatum, all members of the 2017 draft class, joined Mitchell in talking with National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts about the possibility of speaking to the league about “insurance allowances for players.”
Proving future earning power could be a difficult task, and the league might have to get creative to try to ease the minds of players who fear injury in Orlando. If an insurance policy cannot be agreed upon, the league could discuss allowing players to sign their extensions during a transaction window in June in which the NBA plans to allow the signing and waiving of players in preparation for play in Orlando.
That sort of discussion would need wider support around the league beyond just the young players mentioned above since it would alter parts of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
The concerns over injury that Mitchell and the other players brought to light were part of a larger call on Friday in which many other things were reportedly discussed, including health and safety risks in Orlando as well as unrest over racial inequality.
Discussions regarding all of these things is expected to continue over the next weeks and days as the NBA tries to finalize a plan to return to play.