The NBA is full-steam ahead in its efforts to resume the 2019-20 season this summer, starting July 30 in a bubble environment in Orlando. Matters were complicated over the weekend when Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving held a conference call with 80 other players to discuss whether it was right to restart the season in the midst of the country's civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd.
Kendrick Perkins has some serious doubts about Irving's motivation to bring this up as a topic of discussion. Appearing on Golic & Wingo this morning, the former center-turned-media-personality made some hefty accusations against Irving. He claims the mercurial superstar had weeks to voice his opinion on this matter, but chose to do it now because the NBA and the NBAPA told him he couldn't travel to Orlando to join his team in a restart because he'll be inactive and won't play.
Perkins pointed out that nothing about the NBA's restart is a new development. Irving could have spoken out two weeks ago, when player reps voted unanimously to approve the league's format for a return. He also noted that it was only 10 days ago Irving said he would go down with his team to the bubble to support them, even if he couldn't play. Perkins wondered out loud what changed in that time frame to make Irving want to speak out against starting up the season.
Here are Perkins' full comments regarding Irving from Hour 3 of the show this morning, starting at 1:00:00 mark:
"You look at this situation at hand right now, and what it's doing is causing conflict and confusion between our players. What it's doing is making us not look as one, not unified, because all of a sudden we was told, everyone came to an agreement that we're going to play. And then all of a sudden one guy is trying to ruffle the feathers and make noise for no reason... But this was the same guy about 10 days ago that came out and said that he wanted to join the team and be in Orlando around his team. The agreement was that inactive players couldn't go because there was only a certain amount of people in the bubble. What changed over the last 9-10 days? What changed was, from what I strongly believe and what I heard, is the NBA and the Players Association told Kyrie that, 'No, you can't go,'" said Perkins. "How can a guy's mindset change in 10 days? George Floyd was murdered on the 25th of May. They started protesting the next day, they started rioting the next two days. Kyrie's mindset just 10 days ago was that he wanted to go to Orlando. What changed since then? What changed was they told him he couldn't go."
Perkins later went on Twitter to add additional thoughts.
It's serious to accuse Irving of using the country-wide movement against police brutality and inequality as a means to his own end, especially when the end in question is so meaningless. While Monday brought numerous reports suggesting the vast majority of players still plan to participate, the point Irving and his colleagues were trying to make landed -- the state of the country is something to be taken into consideration when discussing the restart of the season. Perkins is unsure the motivations to make that point are pure, to say the least.