The 2019-20 NBA season is on track to resume in late July, but that doesn’t mean every player will be heading to the campus in Orlando, Fla.
With the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) looming large in the state, some players may be hesitant about leaving their families and friends behind to take the court once again. The NBA has created a detailed health and safety document, but it’s impossible to completely eliminate the presence of the novel coronavirus.
And that’s without mentioning additional concerns, including the continuing fight against racial injustice and risk of injury after an unusual break. Don’t be surprised if players back out, especially if they feel their teams have little to gain.
Here is a running list of players who won’t be participating in the NBA restart.
Ariza, who is currently involved in a custody case over his son, is committing to a one-month visitation window with his child rather than rejoining his Trail Blazers teammates, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The veteran forward averaged 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game with Portland prior to the suspension of play.
Despite being in the luxury tax, the Trail Blazers will be able to replace Ariza with a substitute player. They are currently 3 1/2 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Bertans simply has too much on the line to play this summer. The 27-year-old is set to become one of the most highly coveted unrestricted free agents on the market, so he will sit out as a preventative measure, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Wojnarowski. He has suffered two previous ACL injuries, and Washington’s playoff chances are close to zero.
In his first season with the Wizards, Bertans averaged a career-high 15.4 points while shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range on nearly nine attempts per game. Washington has reportedly been supportive of Bertans’ decision and hopes to re-sign him in the offseason.
This is a significant loss for Los Angeles, but Bradley is understandably worried about his family and will not play the rest of the season. Bradley’s son, Liam, has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses.
“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family,” Bradley told Wojnarowski. “And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.”
Bradley, a prominent voice in pushing the league office to address player concerns about racial injustice and inequality, has also pledged to use his time to focus on “the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities.”
The former Kentucky star will not play for Dallas when the season resumes, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Cauley-Stein and his partner are expecting a baby in July.
Cauley-Stein’s absence opened up a roster spot for free agent guard Trey Burke, who has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Mavs.
Chandler told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that “the health and well-being of my family has to come first.” The forward was used mostly off the bench after serving a 25-game drug suspension, but he did start Brooklyn’s last three games before the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Nets already have someone lined up to fill Chandler’s roster spot. They will re-sign Justin Anderson, who played in three games for the team this season after signing a 10-day contract in January.
While he hasn’t officially been a member of the Lakers since they waived him in February, Cousins has been using the team facility for rehabilitation after tearing his ACL in August. There are now conflicting reports as to whether he is considering signing with a team prior to the restart.
Charania reported Cousins would pass on the chance to play in Orlando and instead prepare for the 2020-21 season. Then Cousins’ agent Jeff Schwartz told the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli that Cousins hasn’t ruled out signing and playing with a team.
His decision could ultimately come down to how comfortable he feels jumping back into NBA action following such a long layoff.
Jordan announced on Twitter that he will sit out after testing positive for COVID-19. Jordan made his announcement shortly after Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie told Charania that he, too, had tested positive. Dinwiddie is under quarantine and unsure whether he will rejoin his teammates in Orlando.
Brooklyn added Jordan this season as a backup to center Jarrett Allen. He averaged 8.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 22.0 minutes per game.
Oladipo will not be part of Indiana’s playoff run.
The two-time All-Star suffered a ruptured quad tendon in January 2019 and didn’t return to the court until more than a year later, playing in 13 games before the season was brought to an abrupt halt. Oladipo and his medical staff determined it would be better for him to focus on working his way back to 100 percent ahead of the 2020-21 season.
“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told Charania. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact setup of the bubble I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing.
“I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”
Sefolosha is opting out of the restart, according to Wojnarowski, but his decision shouldn’t greatly impact Houston’s title chances. The 36-year-old averaged only 2.2 points in 10.6 minutes per game this season.
The Rockets are planning to sign Luc Mbah a Moute, per Charania. He previously played in Houston during the 2017-18 season.
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