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Davis Bertans, forward for the Washington Wizards, will reportedly sit out the NBA’s Orlando restart. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps reported on Monday that Bertans will sit out as “a preventative measure.” He would be the first healthy NBA player to voluntarily sit out the season’s restart.
Bertans, 27, just had his best season in the NBA. He was traded to the Wizards last summer and the change has more than agreed with him. He put up career highs in minutes per game (29.3), points per game (15.9), and made more 3-pointers and 2-pointers per game than any of his previous three seasons. Because he’s about to become an unrestricted free agent, his surge couldn’t have happened at a better time.
All that stands between Bertans and a lucrative new contract is those last eight regular-season games — and his personal injury history. Bertans tore his ACL twice before making his NBA debut in 2016, an injury that can keep NBA players off the court for a year or more. With Bertans (and every other NBA athlete) not playing for the last three-plus months, the lack of conditioning could increase his chances of getting injured.
Additionally, the Wizards are a long shot to make the playoffs. They’re currently 5.5 games behind the eighth-place Orlando Magic, and they have just eight games to get within four games of eighth place. Even if they do, they’ll have to beat that eighth-place team twice in the play-in round, and then they’d face the Milwaukee Bucks, the team with the league’s best record.
With the Wizards facing long playoff odds and a big contract on the horizon, Bertans would be risking a lot to come back for just eight games. If he does sit out the final eight regular-season games, which will be played in the NBA’s “bubble” at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World, ESPN reported that he’ll lose $604,752 in salary — more if the Wizards manage to make the playoffs. Considering that an ill-timed injury could wipe out his chance for a big payday, it may be a sacrifice worth making.
According to Wojnarowski and Bontemps, the Wizards are fully supportive of Bertans’ decision to sit out, and are still committed to pursuing him in free agency.
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