Expect players to opt-out of playing in Orlando restart up to July 1

Avery Bradley ring
John McCoy/Getty Images

Tuesday was the deadline for players to inform teams they did not want to play in the Orlando restart… if they’re going to get paid.

It wasn’t reported as such, but a reading of the league’s health and safety protocols shows the June 24 deadline for players to inform teams they were not headed to Orlando was only for players who wanted to qualify as an “excused player” — one with a medical condition or reason not to attend. Those players (after a medial approval process) will still get paid as would a player who went to Orlando.

July 1 turns out to be the real deadline, that’s when teams need to submit their rosters for the restart to the league.

Up to now, a couple of players — the Trail Blazers’ Trevor Ariza and the Lakers’ Avery Bradley — have opted out of the restart, choosing spending time with family over playing basketball inside the bubble away from them. No rational person can blame them for that choice. Another player, Davis Bertans of the Wizards, is a pending free agent and made his decision for financial reasons. While Bertans got some flack from Evan Fournier, the Wizards big man made the smart financial decision for himself (and the Wizards backed it).

Expect there to be more players opting out for the next week, until we get to July 1 and teams submit rosters. As the number of coronavirus cases spikes in Florida in general, and Orange County around the Walt Disney World property in particular, other players may come to the same conclusion that for them, it’s not worth it.