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Jazz's Ed Davis: Easy for Kyrie, Dwight to Sit Due to Their Previous Contracts

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2020

Utah Jazz center Ed Davis (17) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Denver. The Nuggets 106-100. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

There have been a lot of perspectives from NBA players on how, or if, they should resume playing this season. Players like Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard have led the charge against playing. 

But Utah Jazz veteran Ed Davis believes players like Irving and Howard would be sacrificing less if the players decided against returning this season, per Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com:

"It's easy for a guy like Kyrie [Irving] to say that he'll give everything back [for social reform], but would he really give everything back? It's easy for Dwight Howard to say that we don't need to play when he's in Atlanta in his $20 million mansion. But there are other guys on the rosters who need this money to provide for whoever they're taking care of and things like that. It's easy for the superstars in the league to say this and how they feel about this and that. But it means a lot more when it comes from the role players and the guys that [aren't stars]. There are so many different perspectives because there are so many different levels in the NBA."

He added: "This is coming from a 10-year vet; I'm on the back end of my career and I've made enough money, so it's not really about the money. It's more about the future guys—a guy like Donovan Mitchell, who is looking at a $160 million dollar contract but he might only get $90 million if the cap drops."

Davis said he considered that if there wasn't a resumption of this season, there might not be a season next year either. He also said he understood the viewpoint that a return to basketball could serve as a distraction from the protests happening around the nation to address systemic racism and police brutality. 

But he felt the money NBA players made from the return to play could be put back into black communities:

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"For me, I make $5 million a year and I'm taking a 25-percent pay cut [due to COVID-19], so I'm losing around $30,000 every two weeks. That's hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that's what is creating generational wealth and that's what is really going to help the black community. I don't know if guys are looking at it like that. But that's just my perspective and the reason why I think we need to play."

A number of NBA players have offered varying perspectives on why a return to play would either be the right move for the league or detrimental:

And Sam Amick of The Athletic reported last week that LeBron James "believes playing in Orlando won't deter his ability to continue inspiring change."

Both sides make legitimate points. A return to basketball could serve as a distraction from the social change that needs to take place, slowing down the current momentum as protests and marches continue around the United States. But the money NBA players make is also a valuable resource that could be put toward helping communities in need. 

It's an important conversation and it seems likely that NBA players will find a compromise that addresses both points.