Welcome to the June 2020 Edition of the Blazersland Mailbag!

 

Since the NBA is finishing the season at Disney World, will the Disney Characters fill in as mascots?If so, which Disney character should the Blazers get? Will the players get to go on the rides? – Crazy Larry

Well Larry, first off wouldn’t that be so appropriate. That said it is not going to happen, not with the NBA trying to minimize risk of exposure to Covid-19. It makes some sense though with the NBA and Disney partnering to finish the season, and it would be a cool a move. I am sure the regular team mascots would not be in attendance anyway, so why Disney mascots? If for some crazy reason it did happen, the Blazers should of course get Mickey Mouse because he is trailblazer of the Disney Characters. Donald Duck might also work with the Oregon Ducks and all that, but no it has to be Mickey.

No the players will not be allowed to go on the rides or mingle with guest/fans at Disney World.

 

Did they need a no spitting rule? Have you seen NBA players spitting? I thought that was a baseball thing? – UkraineFan

I am not aware they made that rule for the NBA, but it makes perfect sense. While I haven’t really seen players spit, unless they are angry at another player or a call, you can’t have players spitting with Covid-19 going around. It is a easy precaution to take. Players might spit their guard out or spit for some reason while sitting on the bench, no to mention while yelling during play. Even if the NBA doesn’t have tobacco chewers like the MLB, it is a good rule to have around right now.

 

Could they allow a few Blazer dancers if they maintained social distancing?? – UrkaineFan

LOL. You and me both wish. Not gonna happen.

 

With uncertainty from COVID-19 and likely shrinking revenues, do you think the NBA is headed for a difficult labor negotation when the CBA ends in a few years? Does the uncertainty for the road ahead change your views of what the Blazers should do with their roster over the next two years? – Sedatedfork

The NBA’s current Collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2023-2024 season, but with the loss of revenues and player incomes could drive it open before it ends, especially if players opt out of Orlando and the NBA is forced to scrap the season. In that case we could see the CBA being renegotiated before next season. Either way it is going to be a tough negotiation.

The NBA has already lost $1 billion including ticket revenues, games not being televised in China, and TV revenue in the United States. If the season is lost that number could jump to $2 billion. It is likely that the next CBA will see player contracts drop in value. Players won’t be getting as big a pay day as they have. They won’t like that.

If they don’t finish this season, the NBA owners will use the force majeure clause in the CBA to open renegotiation and the players will have little leverage. We could the salary cap and the luxury tax levels drop. There might very be a lockout more bitter than the last.

My views remain the same. At least for this next season try and resign everyone as long as it is reasonable and go for it. This team hasn’t had a chance completely healthy. As far as Jody Allen is concerned, the Blazers have one of the NBA highest team salaries. With everything happening, that has to be a factor all the more in what the Blazers do with their roster. It might be likely if Portland doesn’t win soon, they will strip the team bare and rebuild to bring the Blazers down the list. If the season doesn’t resume that could be more likely.

 

Do the Blazers have a chance to make the playoffs? – Dennis K

Yes, Dennis they do and a good one at that. The Blazers are 3.5 games back from Memphis and have the advantage of being ahead of New Orleans a game. They will have to win games and a rested Blazers team that is nearly healthy (Nurkic and Collins will be back) without only Rodney Hood (Achilles) right now, can win.

With San Antonio and Phoenix pretty much out and Sacramento living on a borrowed prayer, the Blazers just have to stay ahead of New Orleans and hope Memphis has a dreadful return. Even if the Blazers fall short of 8th they are almost guaranteed a 9th place finish close enough to the four game window that would trigger a play in with the 8th seed. The Blazers have a more than decent chance to make the playoffs and many NBA analysts are picking them for the 8th seed.

 

Who has the best chance of making the 8th seed?Who has the worst? – James

The Grizzlies have a 3.5 game lead over the closet team (the Blazers) so they definitely have the best chance. The Blazers also have one of the best chances to make it with their winning percentage advantage. New Orleans could move up too and it could be them in 9th or 8th with the Blazers battling for the play in.

As for the worst, that is easy. The Phoenix Suns shouldn’t be there. They don’t stand a chance, especially looking at their schedule. The San Antonio Spurs with Aldridge out are done too.

 

What chance do the Wizards have of making the 8th seed in the east? – Jake

None. They are too far behind Orlando and have too tough of a schedule.

 

How much of a difference will Nurkic and Collins make? – Greg

Huge. The Blazers from overplaying Carmelo Anthony and using Caleb Swanigan as their backup center to a solid front court of White-side, Anthony, Nurkic and Collins. That is a whole different team. A dominate one too.

 

How rusty will the teams be? – Kate

Rusty. They haven’t played in months. some are out of shape. But, players are hitting the gym to get back to game level physically. Soon they will be able to practice together and scrimmage. Still, even with 2-3 preseason games, there will be a lot of clanking and a lot of out of breath players fouling to stop play so they can catch their breaths. By the playoffs though, the rust should be gone or at least mostly sanded out.

 

Will Scott Foster be invited to Orlando? – Crazy Larry

I hope not.

 

Does Kyrie Irving have enough support to stop the season from restarting? – Tom

Not yet. Irving’s support is growing though. He has led two phone calls with 50 and 80 players present. That is well short of the over 500 players in the NBA. Today he and Avery Bradley signed a mission statement to form a coalition for players who are against returning and playing. So who knows how far that will go. The majority players want to play and I think it will happen. its just a matter of how are the players going to use their platforms while they do, making sure they are going to be heard and all that.

 

What if a lot of star level players decided not to play and are replaced with lesser level players? The teams would be very different. How would that affect how the season is seen? Asterisk level? – James

First, off if a large number of start players opted out the NBA would probably have to look at scraping the season. If it isn’t going to be competitive and draw viewers it might not make sense to do. That said, with what is at stake in the loss of revenue, the NBA could just have teams replace them and continue with a season/playoffs that just won’t be as exciting.

There are already many saying there should be an asterisk on the season should it continue. Though if the Blazers won it all, I will take an asterisk. Hell print it on a T-shirt for me.

 

Have you heard of any Blazers who are in Opposition to restarting the season? – Astrid

CJ McCollum has made it clear he does not agree with the safety risks of restarting the season, but he will play in Orlando. Carmelo Anthony was on both phone calls with Kyrie Irving, but remains undecided about how he feels.

That is the June 2020 edition of Blazersland Mailbag. If you want to see your questions answered in the next edition, submit them via the mailbag form at Blazersland.com/submit-questions/ -OR- by emailing them directly to mailbag@blazersland.com

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