The NBA return is set for July 30, with 22 teams making the trip to Orlando, FL. However, not all teams will be at full strength.
Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, among other factors, a number of players have voluntarily announced their desire to sit out the remainder of the season, with more players possibly to follow. Here’s who’s part of that group.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
After not playing in the NBA for over a year due to a quadriceps injury, former All-Star Victor Oladipo returned to action in January — and assumedly for the rest of the season.
However, Oladipo’s season is over after playing just 13 games. He noted that rushing to get back into 5v5 shape could be problematic and result in another injury.
When healthy, Oladipo is a huge asset for Indiana, and him opting out of playing is likely a tough pill for Pacer fans to swallow. Nonetheless, Oladipo knows what’s best for his body, and rightfully acknowledges the unpredictable variables associated with making an early return.
He’ll have more time to fully recover for next season, where a return to the All-Star game won’t be far from reach.
Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Lakers
Avery Bradley initially spoke out against an NBA return due to it potentially taking attention away from real-life social issues, but will be sitting out for another reason: his son’s health.
Bradley’s son has struggled with respiratory problems which could potentially pose a major health risk if he made the trip to Orlando. This was simply taking too big of a chance.
Bradley had a considerable role in the Lakers’ stellar season, averaging 8.6 points per game with 44 starts. His impact goes beyond the stat sheet as well, particularly on defense.
Bradley served as an elite on-ball perimeter defender for LA, and was starting to find his stride as a two-way contributor near the season’s postponement. For that reason, coupled with the Lakers’ obvious title chances, Bradley’s absence will likely be one of the more noteworthy ones.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters, and new acquisition JR Smith will compete for extra minutes in Bradley’s stead.
Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics), Mike Conley (Utah Jazz), Garrett Temple (Brooklyn Nets), Willie Cauley-Stein (Dallas Mavericks)
These four players and their wives are all expecting a child in the near future. Understandably, this would be incredibly tough to manage once the season resumes.
Out of this group, Hayward & Conley are the most notable. Hayward was having a solid resurgence this season after a devastating injury in 2017. Luckily for his Celtics, they’ll have the bright young duo of Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown at the wing to partially make up for Hayward’s absence.
Conley’s production has been pretty underwhelming this year, but he’s still a very solid piece that the Jazz will be missing out on. Just last year he was a near All-Star as Memphis’ best player.
Garrett Temple & Willie Cauley-Stein aren’t much more than role players. However, Temple’s departure means the Nets are down yet another player when they head to Orlando.
DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets
One of the several players to test positive for the coronavirus, DeAndre Jordan won’t be making the trip to Orlando. Jordan announced this on his Twitter.
Jordan isn’t the All-Star caliber player that he once was with the Clippers, but he has been a solid contributor in his first season with the Nets this year, averaging 8.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game as the backup center.
Wilson Chandler, Brooklyn Nets
Veteran forward Wilson Chandler won’t return to play this season. He said to ESPN, “As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first,”
Chandler wasn’t a huge piece for Brooklyn this year, but any Nets player not playing is a tough blow for the team.
Trevor Ariza, Portland Trail Blazers
Instead of joining the NBA return, Trevor Ariza will be spending time with his son in a one month window as the NBA resumes. This comes after an ongoing custody case.
Ariza was having one of the most efficient stretches of his career as a member of the Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, Portland will be without his impact as they push for a playoff spot.
Thabo Sefolosha, Houston Rockets
Known for his defensive skills, Sefolosha won’t be a huge loss for Houston, as he played sparingly this season. Newly signed Luc Mbah a Moute will serve as his replacement.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards
Bertans has a unique, but valid reason for sitting out. He’ll enter free agency this offseason as a potential candidate to land a decent-sized contract. Has already proven himself worthy of a payday. He posted 15.4 points per game on 42% shooting from deep.
With a championship run highly unlikely with Washington, coupled with his increased injury risk (he previously tore 2 ACL’s), Bertans has little to gain and plenty to lose in Orlando. Sitting out is the safest choice.
Some players have even contracted the virus but are not ruling out a return. Landry Shamet, Malcolm Brogdon, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Nikola Jokic have all had the Coronavirus. Yet, they are still considering joining their teammates in Orlando.
The NBA return is still scheduled for July 30.