De’Aaron Fox is headed for a big payday from the Sacramento Kings this offseason. As the cornerstone of the franchise’s future, Fox is in line for a five-year max extension, or something close to that, one which could set him and his family up for generations to come.
That’s why Fox and other members of his draft class, including former Kentucky teammate Bam Adebayo, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, and Kyle Kuzma, are seeking assurance from the NBA that any potential injuries in Orlando won’t compromise their earning potential going forward. Adrian Wojnarowksi of ESPN reports that the league is taking their viewpoint into consideration:
Five players with significant star and earning power — talked with executive director Michele Roberts and senior counsel Ron Klempner about the NBPA facilitating talks with the league on possible insurance allowances for players, sources said.
As members of the 2017 NBA Draft Class, these five players are eligible for rookie extensions beginning with the start of the free agency period in mid-October. The increased risk of injury, based on a three month-plus league shutdown and a shortened training camp, has intensified concerns that the players are taking on heightened personal risk with the season’s resumption.
The NBPA and NBA have engaged on the possibility of protections for players in the event of serious COVID-19 illnesses or career-threatening injuries suffered in Orlando, sources told ESPN.
The Class of 2017 already faces potentially diminishing returns on their extensions given the league’s revenue shortage; it makes perfect sense to ensure further security from the NBA to hedge against long-term injuries. Mitchell has already expressed that he is against the Orlando proposal out of fear of injury, so this is a way for the league to get players back on board.
- In other league news, Kyrie Irving led a league-wide meeting Friday for players who have concerns with the NBA restart plan, and Harrison Barnes was reportedly on the call. Barnes is the team representative to the NBPA for the Kings and voted to approve the league’s restart proposal; however, it remains good due diligence for Barnes to keep abreast of players’ feelings regarding the Orlando plan. It may or may not be noteworthy that Barnes and Irving are also very good friends.
- Despite the significant turnout on Irving’s call, Wojnarowksi and Ramona Shelburne reported that there is “no indication that the NBA’s return is in jeopardy”. The ESPN release also noted players can opt out of the Orlando restart, but will forfeit their salary for those games provided they do not have a legitimate medical excuse.
- The league also decided to exclude Orlando games from consideration for salary bonuses. That means Buddy Hield met one of his four reachable incentives and will presumably have a cap hit of $24.9 million for the 2020-21 season.