These have been heavy times for Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha, who was a victim of police brutality in 2015. Though he expressed excitement about the opportunity to play in the NBA’s resumption at Disney World, Sefolosha also expressed reservations about distracting from current movement for racial justice and spending so much time away from his family.
It’s a lot to evaluate.
Weighing it all, Sefolosha has decided to sit out the rest of the season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Houston Rockets F Thabo Sefolosha is opting-out of Orlando restart, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2020
Assuming he doesn’t qualify for an exemption or face discipline for deciding past the original deadline (which was seemingly soft), Sefolosha will lose $224,978 in base salary plus $28,122 for each playoff game Houston plays (up to $393,712 in total lost base salary).*
*With league-wide revenue way down, no players will receive their full base salary.
The Rockets probably would’ve relied on Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker as much at possible at forward, anyway. Sefolosha probably wouldn’t have cracked Houston’s playoff rotation, but he could have played effective defense while spacing the floor in spurts. Now, the Rockets will turn to Jeff Green, DeMarre Carroll and Danuel House to handle forward minutes behind Covington and Tucker.
Houston previously waived Isaiah Hartenstein to sign David Nwaba. If they knew Sefolosha’s decision sooner, the Rockets could have kept Hartenstein. But Houston can also sign a replacement for Sefolosha, so maybe Hartenstein would’ve been dropped regardless.
The 36-year-old Sefolosha will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If he wants to continue playing, he can still help in a limited role and should draw minimum-salary offers.