The NBA regular season is heading toward its halfway point and a bunch of stars remains in limbo. John Wall agreed with the Houston Rockets that he would not play while a trade was being negotiated that remains unfeasible, and he does not play. Ben Simmons did something similar for the Sixers, although his case got complicated. Doc Rivers, his coach, kicked him out of one of the first training sessions in October. At the beginning of November, he claimed that he was in no mood to play. This campaign continues unpublished.
Kyrie Irving remains at thirteen from not getting vaccinated. Although what has changed has been the criteria of the Brooklyn Nets leaders, who have reconsidered their decision to remove from the team a player who cannot play home games because the New York authorities require vaccination in the enclosures closed. The Nets now want to line up Irving again, even if it could only be on the road. To add insult to injury, reinstatement is delayed, not only because of the NBA’s demands on unvaccinated players, but because the first day Irving rejoined he tested positive for covid.
The paradoxes of the NBA are accentuated these days when a battalion of players enters and leaves those protocols of the covid, the teams count the numbers day by day and there have been so many absences that nine games have been postponed, for now. Meanwhile, a collection of figures wanders far from the courts. Some have injuries, others allege motives as vague as Wall, Simmons or Irving. They could form a fancy team, a dream team invisible. Among those players who remain unreleased this season are six of the top 20 paid: John Wall, second, behind Stephen Curry, with 39.1 million euros; Kawhi Leonard, eighth, with 34.6; Klay Thompson, 11th, with 33.4; Kyrie Irving, 16th, with 30.9; Kemba Walker, 17th, with 30.8; and Ben Simmons, 20th, with 29.1.
The competition awaits with open arms Klay Thompson’s comeback, possibly in January. The Golden State forward underwent surgery on his left knee in July 2019 and his Achilles tendon in November 2020. The Warriors have managed to return to the top positions – they dispute the leadership of the West with the Phoenix Suns – despite the loss of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, number two of the draft 2020, absent since he had surgery on his right knee in April.
Zion Williamson’s situation is already desperate for the New Orleans Pelicans. The rocky power forward of 21 years, 1.98 meters and 128 kilos, number one in the draft of 2019, destined to mark an era in the NBA, has not been able to debut this season. He had secret surgery on his right foot, appeared overweight before the start of the season and relapsed from the injury in December. It is not expected to reappear before the end of January or February. Charles Barkley’s warning plans on his career. Fat Barkley, as the former member of the dream team In 1992, drawing on his personal experience, he warned early in Zion’s career: “He weighs almost 130 kilos. He can’t play like that, with that weight. It’s a lot of pressure on the knees. He is very big and strong, but everyone in the NBA is strong and great.
Another number one of the draft, that of 2017, Markelle Fultz, accumulates more absences than games played. He began his career in Philadelphia with a mysterious and inexplicable gambling crisis. January 6 will mark one year since he tore the ligaments in one knee. The Orlando Magic point guard continues with no comeback date.
Kawhi Leonard is as good a player as he is enigmatic. The Clippers forward underwent surgery on July 14 on the cruciate ligament in his right knee, which had been injured a month earlier in the Western semi-finals against Utah, and it is not known when he will return to activity. Other players who have not been able to play this season are Victor Oladipo (Miami), Jamal Murray (Denver) and Brook Lopez (Milwaukee), who had back surgery after the first game.
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