So far, two players have formally withdrawn themselves from the NBA’s plan to resume play in Orlando, Fla. Both Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards and Trevor Ariza of the Portland Trail Blazers have informed their respective teams of their decisions to sit out the remainder of the season.
Wednesday marks the final day for players to notify their teams regarding their participation in the league’s restart plan in late July.
Bertrans’ Injury Concern
Bertans, a sharpshooting forward who is currently seventh in the NBA in three-point percentage, is in line for big money this offseason. A soon-to-be free agent, Bertans is worried about potential injury risk, as he’s suffered two torn ACLs throughout his career.
Rightfully so, Bertans doesn’t want to jeopardize his future for a one-off stretch with a Wizards team that has no business being in Orlando in the first place. The Wizards are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference at 24-40 and sit 5.5 games behind the eighth-place Nets.
The only way Washington would have an actual shot at the playoffs is if they finish within four games of Brooklyn upon season’s end, where a play-in tournament would be in effect to determine who gets the honor of being swept by Milwaukee in the first round.
Although Bertans’ announcement appeared to be non-coronavirus related, it still likely played a part in his decision, as cases in Florida continue to rise.
Ariza Opting For Family Time
Ariza, the 16-year veteran, opted out for a vastly different reason.
Involved in a complex custody case, Ariza was permitted a one-month visitation period with his 12-year-old son starting next month, ultimately leading to his decision to sit out the rest of the season.
Ariza has a $12.8 million fully guaranteed contract but may lose out on an additional $1.8 million if the Blazers sneak into the playoffs. Portland currently sits 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed at 29-37 and was the only team to vote against the NBA’s return-to-action proposal.
The 34-year-old Ariza is on his ninth NBA team, yet has still produced solid numbers after being traded to Portland back in February. He averaged 11 points as their starting forward, and shot 40% from three-point range — well above his career average.
This may be the nail in the coffin for Portland’s championship hopes, as Ariza was their primary on-ball wing defender.
Expect more players from non-championship caliber teams to opt out in the coming days, as the risk-reward for many of these athletes simply isn’t worth it given the current uncertainty surrounding our country.