We are 35 days away from the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida, and teams are now in the middle of preparing for training camp, the season’s last stretch, and everything in between.
Among the things that are squeezed in there, particularly for certain teams, is the need to fill out the roster. That, of course, came after the June 25 soft deadline, wherein players were required to inform their respective teams about their decision on the restart plan.
As the deadline hit, the list of guys who elected to sit out totalled five. Four of the five has its own varying effect on their team’s rotation, while the one key free agent should provide a shift in others’ free agent signing plans. Let’s discuss one-by-one:
Davis Bertans – Washington Wizards
Davis Bertans was the first player to announce that he’ll be sitting out the remainder of the season. It appears to be the right decision for the four-year veteran as he is entering free agency coming off a breakout season while also being clouded by two previous ACL injuries.
He was the team’s second-leading scorer behind Bradley Beal at 15.4 points per game. His 200 threes made is seventh in the league, while his 3.7 three point field goals per contest is fourth.
Bertans and the Wizards also are facing an insurmountable chase to make the postseason. They need to overcome a 5.5 game deficit in just eight games.
Trevor Ariza – Portland Trail Blazers
Trevor Ariza’s announcement came soon after Bertans’s, where he cited that he’ll instead be alongside his son.
Aside from being a quintessential ‘3 and D’ guy, Ariza is bringing in championship experience. He’s been to four Conference Finals series and was also part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2009 championship. All that would’ve been big for the Blazers, who are just a couple of games back from the eight spot in the West.
Ariza joined the Blazers in late January via trade with the Sacramento Kings. He averaged 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game across 21 games, topped off with a solid shooting split of 49.1/40.0/87.2.
Avery Bradley – Los Angeles Lakers
Avery Bradley’s decision to sit out was probably the most unsurprising in the list. He was in full support of Kyrie Irving’s stance right from the start, and he also needs to attend to his son, who’s nursing respiratory issues.
The absence could be huge for the Lakers as they are in need of such defensive presence. Bradley has always been one of the peskiest on-ball defenders in the league and he also disrupts the passing lanes well. When called upon, he can be a reliable shooter as well.
Bradley started in 44 of his 49 games for the Lakers this season and averaged 8.6 points in 24.2 minutes of play. He had a season-high 24 points and six three-pointers in the team’s marquee win over the LA Clippers last March 9th.
Willie Cauley-Stein – Dallas Mavericks
Willie Cauley-Stein is the latest active player to opt out. According to reports, he chose to stay with his partner as they are expecting this July.
The athletic big man came over to Dallas last January following a trade with the Golden State Warriors. He’s had a quiet season so far – the Warriors stint didn’t really workout as the team was riddled by injuries, while his playing with the Mavs has been mostly limited.
The Mavs may not look as though they’ll miss WCS, but make no mistake about it: his classic rabid energy is still present in the stat sheet. He put up 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in just 12.1 minutes, which translates to 15.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins (free agent)
The injury-plagued DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly informed inquiring teams that he’ll sit the season out to continue rehabbing his knee. He signed with the Lakers last off-season but tore his ACL just weeks after. They kept him but was eventually cut last February to make way for other signings.
This came as a bit of a surprise as there were strong rumors about him returning to the Lakers or signing with the Wizards to reunite with college teammate, John Wall.
Take the reports with a pinch of salt, though, because Boogie recently said that he hasn’t ruled out a return to the season just yet.
WILL THERE BE MORE?
The key word in the deadline we mentioned earlier is the “soft” that preceded it. The June 25 ‘soft’ deadline is not fully official yet as teams will not be submitting their final roster until July 2nd, which means that players can still change their minds, and that teams can still persuade all of their guys to play.
But, of course, it goes both ways, so we can either hear about players choosing to come back or suddenly electing to sit out.