Welp. The Washington Wizards will be without Davis Bertans in Orlando.
The NBA restart just got a whole lot less exciting for Washington Wizards fans. After sneaking in and just making in 22-team cut, Wizards fans were flying high with news that their squad’s season wasn’t over yet. But now, it might as well be.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Washington Wizards will be without sharpshooter Davis Bertans for the final eight games (and possibly the playoffs) when action resumes in Orlando in late July.
Bertans is the first player that has officially announced he will not be playing. The news comes just days after John Wall publicly claimed he would not be comfortable playing in Orlando, either.
The announcement certainly comes as a surprise, but when you consider Bertans’ logic, his decision makes sense. This season, he exploded onto the scene and established himself as one of the NBA’s most lethal shooters, well deserving of his Latvian Laser nickname.
With free agency coming up, Bertans has a legitimate chance to sign a contract worth around $15 million per year, more than twice the $7 million he is making this season. Although the Wizards’ playoff hopes are currently still alive, they are barely breathing. Bertans obviously doesn’t think chasing that playoff birth is worth possibly forfeiting future earnings. An injury now could be catastrophic, especially with the current plan of an abbreviated offseason.
The added COVID risks certainly don’t make it more attractive to play in the bubble, either.
What does this mean for the Washington Wizards and Davis Bertans?
For one, it means Bradley Beal’s single-season three-point record is safe. Bertans was 24 threes away from breaking the record when the season was suspended.
It also means the Wizards almost certainly are not making the playoffs now. They were going to need a miracle, and a few secret weapons, in order to make it happen before. Now they’re down their second-leading scorer and best shooter.
But beyond this season, this could be a good thing for the Wizards. For one, the Wizards are aware and on-board with this decision. On one hand, they have no choice. If they refuse, Bertans almost certainly isn’t re-signing here this offseason.
But the break from play also gives the Wizards front office a head start on figuring things out for next season. Bertans has his eyes towards next year already and the Wizards have made it clear all season that they want to keep him around. Why not start finalizing things now? The Wizards already have his bird rights and this extra negotiating period could be an extra leg up on the competition.
Now, if Bertans was already sold on the Wizards, this might not be happening. There’s no need to stay healthy for free agency suitors if you already have something worked out. But the price would still drop, even if the Wizards were the ones paying, if Bertans were to suffer an injury in Orlando.
So Bertans is ultimately looking out for himself. With the state of everything, you can’t really blame him. It’s a bummer that we won’t see him setting the nets on fire in Disney World but it will be worth it if it means we can see Bertans do it in a Wizards jersey for years to come.
In the meantime, it’s Garrison Mathews time.
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