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COVID-19 Threatens Resumption of NBA Season

By Caleb Probst

Multiple NBA Players to sit out when season resumes in Orlando, with more likely to come

With the NBA season set to resume July 31 in Orlando, FL, most of the league’s players are looking forward to competing for a championship and playing nationally-televised basketball games for the first time in over four months.

However, not every player is planning on suiting up for their team in July. In the past four days, three NBA players from three different teams publicly announced they won’t be playing for their teams when the season resumes, despite each of these players being in good health.

“I ultimately play basketball for my family,” said Avery Bradley, a starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. “And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.”

Bradley isn’t the only player who plans on sitting out the season’s reboot to be with family, as Portland Trail Blazers starting forward Trevor Ariza said he is committing to a one-month visitation window with his 12-year-old son as opposed to playing basketball.

“I’d love to compete for a championship, and understand [that in] normal circumstances, I would be,” Ariza said. “But these aren’t normal circumstances, and I haven’t had the chance to spend prolonged time with my son in years.”

Bradley and Ariza are key contributors to their respective teams, as Bradley has helped lead the Lakers to the top of the NBA’s western conference and Ariza is one of the Trail Blazers top five scorers.

However, neither of these players have as high of an impact on their teams as Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans does. Arturs Kalnitis, Bertans’ agent, announced on Monday that Bertans will be sitting out due to the risk of getting injured.

“Davis is about to sign the biggest contract of his life in the offseason, and he’s had two ACL injuries in the past two years,” Kalnitis said. “He initially planned on playing, but after we sat down and talked, he understood the risks, and his teammates have been supportive of his decision.”

Bertans’ decision to sit out the rest of the season received backlash from other players, as Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier said Bertans should be playing since he isn’t injured.

“If you think it’s okay to sit and watch your teammates play while you’re perfectly healthy, that says a lot about you,” Fournier said. “This is what’s wrong with the NBA nowadays.”

Despite Fournier’s remarks, Bertans has a point. When the season resumes in July, not only will players be at risk of injuring themselves, but they’ll also be at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“I love basketball, and if you’re in the NBA, you love it too. But we all need to consider putting our families and their health first,” Bradley said. “I’m just the first of many with the guts to say I’m not playing.”

While Bradley, Bertans, and Ariza are important pieces for each of their teams, none of these three players were selected as all-stars this season.

With that being said, unless an all-star or superstar player such as LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo decides to sit out, the league will likely stick to their plan of restarting the season July 31 at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, FL.

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