With the NBA set to resume play, several players will not be joining their teams in Orlando
With the NBA set to return at the end of July, there will be some faces we won’t see in the bubble when the season resumes, as the coronavirus numbers continue to rise in Florida.
Florida added 4,049 new cases Saturday, which broke the previous single-day record of 3,822 set Friday. In all, the state has set records for single-day cases in seven of the past 10 days and is approaching 94,000 infections.
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— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) June 21, 2020
In addition to the resurgence of the coronavirus, between upcoming free agency, injury risk after a four-month hiatus, and the desire to focus on racial injustice, players are weighing their options in regards to entering the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World Resort.
The deadline for athletes to alert their team if they decide to sit is June 24, and a few have already determined they will not be playing.
There is no penalty for players that decide to sit out the rest of the season, beyond losing a fraction of their salary.
The NBA and NBPA are expected to agree on a provision that wouldn't require players to restart the season, nor subject them to discipline for staying home, sources tell ESPN. The players would lose a portion of salary for those games missed. https://t.co/WkV5qqEmE5
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2020
Keep track of whose season will end before their teams travel to Orlando:
Lakers’ Avery Bradley opts out over family health concerns
Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley has decided to forgo the remainder of the season.
The guard will stay with his family instead of traveling to Orlando, mainly due to the health concerns revolving around his 6-year-old son, Liam.
At forefront of Bradley’s decision to remain w/ his family is the well-being of the oldest of his 3 children. His 6-year old son has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses and would’ve been unlikely to be medically cleared to enter bubble with his family. https://t.co/yputDg2VJp
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2020
Bradley has also been at the forefront of the movement to potentially forgo the remainder of the season in order to fight for social justice and racial equality, acting as a co-leader with Brooklyn Net’s Kyrie Irving of a players coalition.
The 44-game starter has been a crucial 2-way player for the Lakers, and has averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game this season.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 9, 2020
The Lakers are allowed to sign a replacement player to the roster in order to make up for Bradley’s absence, and according to reports, free-agent JR Smith is a likely candidate.
Free agent guard JR Smith has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Lakers roster, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2020
Denver’s Nikola Jokic tests positive for coronavirus in Serbia
Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, delaying his return to the United States.
Reporting with @WindhorstESPN: Nuggets star Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia and his return to the U.S. is temporarily delayed. He’s been asymptomatic since testing positive last week. Jokic is expected to be cleared to travel to Denver within a week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
Mandatory individual workouts for the Nuggets begin on July 1. However, after Jokic returns to the team, he must complete a cardiac screening and test negative for coronavirus before he can return to practice.
The Joker lost 40 pounds and focused on his fitness during the NBA’s pause in play.
THIN JOKIC ALERT
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) June 11, 2020
Jokic is averaging 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists this season.
Former Laker DeMarcus Cousins out until next season
One of the hottest free agents on the market will reportedly sit out the remainder of the season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins will not participate in the rest of the season, instead choosing to continue rehabbing his torn ACL.
Sources: Multiple teams have expressed interest in DeMarcus Cousins but have been told the four-time All-Star will sit out the resumed season and continue rehab for full return in 2020-21.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2020
The playmaking center made two All-NBA teams with the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans before his career became plagued with injury.
Cousins missed the second half of the 2017-18 season with a torn left Achilles, and didn’t resume play until January of the 2018-19 season. He then tore his left quad in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs, although he did return in time for last year’s NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors.
This past offseason, Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, but suffered a torn left ACL during the preseason and was waived by the team in February.
Steve Kerr is "devastated" by Boogie Cousins latest injury. pic.twitter.com/1MCvjAFuRL
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 16, 2019
Turning 30 in August, the veteran center opted to sit in order to be fully healthy for a return next season.
While he was limited to a career-low 25.7 minutes per game with the Warriors in just 30 regular-season games, Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game during the 2018-19 season.
Boogie had an immediate impact on the Warriors 😤 pic.twitter.com/5gBhQ6IMwz
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 2, 2019
Dallas’ Courtney Lee out with calf injury
Dallas guard Courtney Lee injured his left calf during the break in play and will be unable to return to the court for the NBA restart.
The Mavericks will be among the teams looking for roster reinforcements Tuesday when the NBA's one-week transaction window opens after veteran swingman Courtney Lee suffered a calf injury during the shutdown that required surgery, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 22, 2020
Lee became a part-time starter for the Dallas Maverics after Jalen Brunson injured his right shoulder. The veteran played in 14 of the team’s last 17 games, and started in five of the past six, including a 113-97 win over Denver on March 11 before the league-wide shutdown. He averaged 6.6 points in 22.8 minutes per game during March.
Dallas will look to bolster their roster before heading to Orlando, and waive Lee in order to sign a replacement player.
Portland’s Trevor Ariza will skip Orlando, visit with son
Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza has decided not to return to the league for the remainder of the season, and instead, will commit to a one-month visitation window with his son.
Ariza, a starter, has been involved in a custody case over his 12-year old son, and the mother’s choice of granting a court-ordered one month visitation period during the league’s quarantine of teams in Orlando left Ariza to choose those parenting responsibilities over competing with the Blazers in the 22-team re-start, sources said.
Full ESPN story on Portland's Trevor Ariza opting-out of the NBA's restart in Orlando. https://t.co/rwabKVyVMU
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2020
The forward averaged 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21 games for the Trail Blazers this season before play was suspended. He began the year with the Sacramento Kings, but was traded to Portland in January.
Washington’s Davis Bertans chooses to sit before free agency
Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans is the first non-injured player to pull out from the restart.
Davis Bertans of the Wizards has announced he will sit out the NBA restart in Orlando.
He made 12-of-23 shots from 30+ feet this season according to Second Spectrum.
In the last 7 seasons, he is the only player to shoot at least 50 % on such shots (min. 10 attempts in season). pic.twitter.com/bExlckqRTR
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 22, 2020
Scheduled to be a free agent, coming off his best professional season yet, Bertans has opted to sit out the remainder of the season, mainly due to his history of injury.
The 28-year old tore his right ACL twice – once in June 2013 with Partizan Belgrade, and later in March 2015 with Baskonia in the Spanish League – before joining the NBA in 2016.
In his first season with Washington, Bertans posted career highs in points (15.9) and minutes (29.3) while shooting 42.4% from three on over eight attempts per game.
Washington Monday offered its support to Bertans.
“As an organization, the Wizards are fully supportive of his decision to stay back from the league’s 22-team restart and remain determined to sign him in free agency, sources said.”
ESPN story on Washington's Davis Bertans — a top unrestricted free agent — deciding to sit out the NBA's restart in Orlando. https://t.co/hY5yRJR3M9
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2020
Indiana All-Star Victor Oladipo mulls restart
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is also weighing a return and currently remains undecided.
After recovering from a torn quad tendon for nearly a year, the All-Star guard resumed play in January, but only saw the court for 13 games before the league shut down.
Victor Oladipo will increase activity with the Pacers next week to evaluate his repaired torn quad tendon before deciding whether to play in NBA’s restart in Orlando, per @wojespn pic.twitter.com/GGuvUx6gt6
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 20, 2020
Oladipo is set to practice with the Pacers and assess how his body feels before making a decision on playing the remainder of the season. While he told ESPN he feels strong, he wants to limit the risk of re-injury.
“I feel a whole lot better,” Oladipo told ESPN on Saturday. “I know there’s risk going into it with the unique situation that I’m in — being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I’ve just got to be smart, that’s all.”
ESPN story on @VicOladipo's plan with knee before committing to Orlando restart: “I know there’s risk going into it with the unique situation that I’m in – being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I’ve just got to be smart, that’s all." https://t.co/H5oAyRA3DQ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2020
Oladipo averaged 13.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13 games this season, but he had his best game of the season on March 10, dropping 27 points against the Boston Celtics, prior to the stop in play the next day.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the players that could have possibly returned from injury for the resumption of the season, but will instead focus on preparing for next season.
Washington’s John Wall out until next season
Washington Wizards John Wall ruptured his Achilles tendon in December of 2018 and hasn’t played since. Despite news that he is fully healthy, the five-time All-Star will not return until next season.
In a recent interview, Wall was asked if he’d consider returning in the NBA bubble.
“I won’t play at all. I will wait until next season. The decision has been already made.”
Yes, the NBA has a plan to return that involves the Wizards. No, John Wall will not be playing.https://t.co/lyPJUg0dyf
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) June 4, 2020
Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant will sit out “bubble” return
NBA superstar Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles tear in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and was expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season.
And despite the extra time to recover and positive progress in his healing process, the 2-time Finals MVP will not see the floor in Orlando with the Brooklyn Nets.
“My season is over,” Durant told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “I don’t plan on playing at all. We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season.”
Kevin Durant will not return to Nets for 2019-20 season at Disney World, per reporthttps://t.co/UbkfeVhxsM
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) June 5, 2020
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving out due to injury, social justice issues
Duran’ts teammate, Kyrie Irving, will also miss the remainder of the season while he recovers from a March shoulder surgery to repair a shoulder impingement.
Irving has also made it known he is against resuming the season amid the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd on May 25.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 12, 2020
Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic out after wrist surgery
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic underwent season-ending wrist surgery in May to repair a ruptured scapholunate ligament, and will not be eligible for the restart.
Bogdanovic injured his wrist during the 2018-19 season, and the surgery will allow him to fully recover before the start of next season.
The team’s second-leading scorer averaged 20.2 points this season and shot 41.4% on 3-pointers. The Jazz made significant changes to their roster last season, and signed Bogdanovic to a four-year, $73 million free agent deal.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) February 11, 2020
Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge recovering from shoulder surgery
San Antonio Spur’s 7-time All-star LaMarcus Aldridge suffered a season-ending shoulder injury earlier this year, and underwent shoulder surgery in April.
He will miss the remainder of the season.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a surgical procedure on his right shoulder, which will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/virECc2hlt
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 8, 2020
Phoenix without Kelly Oubre Jr. after knee surgery
Oubre was the Suns’ third-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game, and he was second on the team in rebounding, averaging 6.4 rebounds a night.
Reports: Phoenix’s Kelly Oubre Jr. is expected to miss the remainder of the season. pic.twitter.com/CWrcJqVmCY
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 17, 2020
Stay tuned for more updates.