Report: Two Players Plan To Skip NBA’s Return
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans won’t join his team when it returns to finish the NBA season in Orlando. According to ESPN, the move is a “preventative measure,” rather than a rehabilitation stint. Soon after, Wojnarowski reported that Portland Trailblazers forward Trevor Ariza also planned to skip the NBA’s return.
Unlike Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic who underwent surgery during the NBA’s hiatus, Bertans and Ariza are both considered a healthy scratch.
The NBA will resume play on July 30 at The Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando. 22 teams will return to action to finish the regular season, and crown a playoff champion. As of Monday, the league required to return to their team’s home cities. By Wednesday, any player that opts to skip the remainder of the season must inform their team.
Teams will travel to Orlando July 7-9 where they will begin training camp to prepare for the season’s return. Players who skip the remainder of the NBA season won’t be fined. However, they will lose roughly 1.8% of their annual salary per game missed.
Reasons to Skip NBA’s Return
Though others may follow, Bertans’ and Ariza’s decisions to sit likely won’t spur a large of players to skip the season. Both players have unique reasons to skip the league’s return.
First, Bertans will be a free agent this offseason and is due to earn a significant new contract. The forward made $7 million this season but nearly doubled his points per game average with the Wizards. The sharpshooter could receive a deal for three years and upwards of $50 million.
Second, Bertans has a dangerous medical history. The forward tore the ACL in his right knee in both 2013 and 2015. A third ACL tear would have a major impact on his earning potential.
Third, Bertans’ Wizards team faces long odds of making the playoffs. The NBA invited all teams within six games of the final playoff spot to return to Orlando. Washington is 6.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic and will have just eight games to make up the difference.
Equally unique, Ariza is skipping the remainder of the season to spend time with his son. According to Wojnarowski, the Trail Blazers return coincides with Ariza’s custody of his child.
Will Jazz Players Sit Out?
While Bogdanovic won’t return to the floor, it’s unclear if any other Jazz players will follow suit. Unlike the Wizards, the Jazz have guaranteed themselves a playoff berth. Currently, the Jazz own the fourth-best record in the Western Conference.
Despite the team’s seeding, some Jazz players could have reasons to sit.
Jordan Clarkson, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Juwan Morgan will all be free-agents this offseason. Both Clarkson and Mudiay are expected to sign multi-year deals. Morgan is just a rookie and will be looking for any opportunity to continue his career. An injury for any of the three players would be a major hurdle in front of their next contract.
Meanwhile, guard Donovan Mitchell, forward Georges Niang, and center Rudy Gobert are all eligible to sign early contract extensions this offseason. Mitchell has spoken privately about the financial risk for players returning to action.
Last week, Mitchell, Clarkson, and Jazz teammates Royce O’Neale, Miye Oni, and Rayjon Tucker were seen practicing together in California. Clarkson hinted on Instagram that both he and Mitchell planned to travel to Orlando to finish the season.
“It will be only one reasons [sic] we going to Disney for…one goal, one reason… 🏆,” Clarkson’s caption read. The photo showed both Clarkson and Mitchell together on the court.
The Jazz will be able to fill Bogdanovic’s roster spot with an eligible free-agent before returning to Orlando. Teams are allowed to sign former NBA and G-League players to fill the vacant roster spots. Teams can bring a total of 17 players to the Disney Resorts.
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