The NBA will resume playing on July 30 with 22 teams fighting for the championship. The first round of the playoffs will begin on Augustin 17 after eight seeds in each conference are decided. The top seven seeds in each conference automatically make the playoffs while the eighth seed may have to play a win-and-in game (or two) for their slot.
The Coronavirus pandemic has the world in chaos, forcing the NBA to play in a bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The dangers of the pandemic along with being away from their families have kept some players from opting to join the restart of the season, though. Here is a list of players that have opted out of playing the remainder of the season:
Davis Bertans, F, Washington Wizards
Bertans has a history of ACL injuries, making his return to the court in this situation risky. He’s going to be one of the best free agents on the market after this season and Washington has a slim chance of making any real noise in this restart. Bertans was the first player to opt-out, selecting his safety and future over the small chance of even making playoffs with the Wizards in 2020.
Bertans was one of the top scoring options for Washington, averaging 15.4 points in 29.3 minutes per game. He shot a team-high 42.4% from beyond the arc to go along with a 59.8% eFG%. Bertans had his defensive inefficiencies but was still one of the best options in the Washington rotation throughout the season.
Jerian Grant is expected to replace Bertans on the Wizards roster.
Trevor Ariza, F, Portland Blazers
Ariza opted out of the NBA restart to spend time with his family. If he played this summer, he’d have lost a one-month visitation period with his son.
Ariza only played 21 games for Portland, but he ranked third on the team with 33.4 minutes per game. He was a jack-of-all-trades, averaging 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Ariza ranked third for Portland in offensive rating while being an average player in terms of defensive rating. His veteran leadership also would’ve been crucial as Portland tries to make their way into the playoffs.
Jaylen Adams will replace Ariza on the Blazers roster.
Avery Bradley, G, Los Angeles Lakers
Bradley has been vocal about the restart of the NBA season moving attention away from social justice reform to the sport. He said that wasn’t the biggest factor in him opting out, though, as he did so for his family, specifically his children.
Bradley’s numbers aren’t going to stick out, as he isn’t a focal point on a team with two of the best players in the NBA. He’s an efficient scorer who can play defense during his 20+ minutes per game. Bradley isn’t necessarily a game-changing player, but it may be difficult for a championship contender to simply replace him.
J.R. Smith will replace Bradley on the Lakers roster.
DeAndre Jordan, C, Brooklyn Nets
Jordan recently tested positive, along with Spencer Dinwiddie. The latter hasn’t announced whether he will be able to play when the NBA or resumes, but Jordan has announced that he will be skipping the restart in Orlando.
Jordan split time with Jarrett Allen at center, averaging 8.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 22.0 minutes per game. Jordan wasn’t the focal point of the offense but found easy baskets, allowing him to score with efficiency. He ranks fourth on Brooklyn in VORP this season, and it’ll be impossible to replace his 23.4% rebounding rate with only one player.
There hasn’t been an announcement on who will replace Jordan yet.
Wilson Chandler, F, Brooklyn Nets
Chandler opted out of playing in the restart because he wanted to spend time during the summer with his family, specifically his grandmother and children.
Chandler only averaged 21.0 minutes per game for Brooklyn. He isn’t a major part of the offense but can contribute solid defense when asked. Chandler is depth and a veteran presence on a team that is suffering from the injury bug.
Justin Anderson will replace Chandler on the Nets roster.
Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Dallas Mavericks
Cauley-Stein is expecting a baby in July. This made it a relatively easy decision for him to sit out of the NBA restart.
Cauley-Stein only played 13 games for Dallas, averaging only 12.1 minutes per game. He was a big man that could eat up a few minutes, as they are also suffering from the loss of Dwight Powell. Cauley-Stein isn’t going to be a major hole in their rotation to fill, but Dallas will be forced into quite a bit of small ball once play resumes.
Trey Burke will replace Cauley-Stein on the Mavs roster.
Thabo Sefolosha, F, Houston Rockets
Sefolosha opted out of the NBA restart because of the current state of the country. He didn’t want to spend an extended period of time away from his family during a pandemic, opting not to rejoin Houston.
Sefolosha averaged roughly 10 minutes per game for Houston this season and had a string of DNPs a few games before the season was suspended. He was a veteran presence with playoff experience that Houston shouldn’t be too worried about losing for the restart.
Luc Mbah a Moute will replace Sefolosha on the Rockets roster.
Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana Pacers
Oladipo is actually traveling with Indiana to Orlando for rehab, but he won’t be taking part in the restart. He has dealt with issues throughout the season and is worried about reinjuring himself without the proper 5-on-5 activities to get him ready. Oladipo felt he’s more susceptible to injury than others and he wants to be 100% when he returns.
He only averaged 25.9 minutes per game through 13 contests because of his injuries. Still, Oladipo is a leader of the rotation, although Indiana has proven that they can play without him. He boasted a team-high 27% usage rating while on the floor, but Oladipo was having one of the worst statistical seasons of his career with his injuries. In the long run, it will benefit Indiana to allow Oladipo to get healthy rather than risk serious injury.
Taurean Prince, F, Brooklyn Nets
Prince recently tested positive for Covid-19. He isn’t making the trip to Orlando and will be sitting out the restart of the season in an effort to keep everyone playing and his teammates as safe as possible.
Prince was a versatile option for Brooklyn this season, averaging 12.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 29.0 minutes per game. He’s one of the top defensive options for the Nets, although he struggled to consistently produce offensively. Overall, this will be a major hit to the Brooklyn rotation.
Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Brooklyn Nets
Dinwiddie struggled with Covid-19, openly posting about how sick he was on Twitter. When he was gearing up for his recovery and return, he tested positive for the virus once again. Dinwiddie and the team doctors decided that he should sit out the restart.
With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out, Dinwiddie took over the offense this season, posting a 29.2% usage rating. He averaged 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in 31.2 minutes per game. Without their two stars, Dinwiddie was arguably the most important part of the Brooklyn rotation, although there could be a case made for Caris LeVert. Regardless, the Nets are down a number of key players that will be impossible to replace in the restart.
Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
Beal was set to travel to Orlando for the restart but opted out of the season at the last minute. He has dealt with a rotator cuff injury and felt that it would be wise to recover from the injury rather than participate in the restart. Washington’s medical staff came to the same conclusion, as well.
Beal was a start for Washington this season, averaging a team-high 30.5 points with 4.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 36.0 minutes per game. He posted a ridiculous 34.4% usage rating while on the court, and Washington will need to rely on a number of players to fill his shoes. Without their top two scorers, Washington likely won’t find a way to sneak into the playoffs, but anything can happen in a restart, right?