The Washington Wizards sit 5 1/2 games out of the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, which gives them a puncher's chance to at least force a play-in game against the Orlando Magic when the NBA resumes its season on July 30. Bradley Beal has kept the Wizards floating above water all season long without John Wall, who has missed the entire season due to a torn Achilles tendon he suffered in 2018. However, the Wizards' chances of making the playoffs just took a significant hit as they'll be without their best shooter in Orlando.
Davis Bertans, coming off a career season, is expected to sit out the NBA's plan to resume the season in Orlando, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps. In his first season with Washington, the 6-10 forward is second on the team in scoring, averaging a career-high 15.4 points a night, while shooting 42.4 percent from 3, which ranks seventh in the league this season. Bertans' decision to not return this season is a "preventative measure" per Wojnarowski, as the Latvian-born shooter is expected to receive a sizable payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The decision to sit out is also due to the fact that Bertans has already dealt with two ACL injuries in the past, and he doesn't want to risk anything after having the most productive season of his career. While he won't travel with the team to Orlando, Bertans will take part in the team's training camp prior to heading to Florida.
Re-signing Bertans is at the top of the Wizards' list this upcoming offseason, as he established himself as one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league. He ranks in the 88th percentile in spot-up jumpers this season, generating 1.214 points per possession, and is an even bigger threat in transition if left open.
Since being traded from San Antonio last summer, Bertans has proven that the Spurs made a costly mistake in parting ways with the sharpshooter. While Bertans will be sorely missed on the Wizards when they head to Orlando, this decision is made with an eye toward the future, not just for him but for the franchise. If the Wizards are able to secure Bertans to a long-term contract this offseason, and with John Wall expected to be back healthy for the 2020-21 season, Washington could be in the running to make the playoffs next season. In the immediate future, though, it appears as though the Wizards' trip to Orlando might be short-lived without Bertans knocking down 3s.
The deadline to opt out of the Orlando restart is June 24, and while Bertans may be the first to do so, he might not be the last. In recent weeks, players have raised concerns about the safety of resuming play as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida, and there's been a contingent of players who don't feel the NBA returning is a great idea in light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests happening across the country. Bertans sitting out certainly isn't groundbreaking, considering the Wizards aren't a contending team. However, if a high-profile player decides to opt out of the NBA's plan, it could set off a chain reaction across the league.