Just before the NBA season restarts, the league has already seen two of their players say no to Orlando.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that Washington Wizards’ Davis Bertans and Portland Trail Blazers’ Trevor Ariza opted out of playing the restarted 2020 season.
Both players are skipping out for different reasons. Bertans is sitting out to prepare for free agency where he’s expected to get a big payday. He’s also suffered two ACL injuries in his NBA career and wants to protect himself. The Wizards have already publicly stated their support of Bertans sitting out.
Ariza is stepping away from Orlando to spend time with his son. He has a one month gap during the quarantine to see his son due to a custody case he’s involved in. This made him pick between playing or seeing his son.
NBA Players Have Some Divide Over Playing
It’s no surprise some players are already planning on not coming out to Orlando due to COVID-19 or protecting their bodies for next season. Even personal concerns over racial equality has been a subject brought up often.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been reportedly wanting players to not finish the season. Avery Bradley has also be hesitant in returning as both players don’t want to focus to move away from recent police brutality and racial issues. Bradley has asked to see what the league plans to do about racial issues before moving forward.
Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has been on the other side thinking players should return. He suggested NBA players using their remaining salaries for the season to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Players do have the option to either play or not play in Orlando for the restarted season. Teams can “protect” players if they are considered a high risk for COVID-19. Those players will be excused from play and won’t lose their salary.
If players don’t fall under those categories and still choose to not play, they don’t get their remaining game checks. Players have until Wednesday, June 24 to decide if they want to play or not.
How Many Could We See Drop Before Wednesday
NBA players have been working through their tough decisions on whether to play or not. Teams that are in contention for an NBA title like the Lakers or the Bucks are more likely to play to win it all. The lower teams like the Suns and Wizards will see more players drop out.
Health issues like injuries and COVID-19 will be at the top of players’ minds. Players like Bertans who doesn’t feel like the risk of getting hurt is worth it for a team that doesn’t have John Wall. Ariza wanted to see his son and found that more important than playing as he put family first.
With the deadline to decide coming up, players have to move quickly to decide. NBA teams will have a shorter time to find replacements for them to stay in the running for an NBA title.