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Royal Reading: The Class of 2017 is hedging its bets

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De’Aaron Fox is among several third-year players hoping for some insurance from the NBA in Orlando.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

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.