The NBA’s reopening is a warning sign for the U.S. economy

Portland Trail Blazer veteran Trevor Ariza is not showing up so he can spend time with his son, as part of a custody arrangement. On the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the favorites to win the championship, starting point guard Avery Bradley will not appear for fear of endangering the health of his son, who has respiratory issues.

These players will still be paid, but they are lowering their future market value by expressing less than a full commitment to the team. And it is hard to imagine that many other workplace environments can be made much safer than the planned NBA bubble.

One has to wonder how many other players are planning to drop out, or perhaps hoping that the decision will be made for them: Maybe they will get an injury during training camp, say, or worsening conditions in Florida will require cancellation of the season, or it will become more socially acceptable not to play. In the meantime, the dominant strategy may simply be to wait and root against the resumption of play.

It is also striking who is not complaining — namely, the marginal teams not invited to join the competition in the first place. They’ve simply written the season off.