Wizards forward Davis Bertans has elected to sit out when the NBA season resumes, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps report, becoming the first player to pull out from the league's planned 22-team restart of the 2019-20 season.
The 27-year-old forward is coming off a career year – posting career highs in points (15.4) and minutes (29.3) per game – in his first season for the Wizards and is slated to become a free agent after the season.
The Wizards already faced long odds of making the playoffs whenever the season does resume, needing to come within four games of the eighth-placed Magic in order to qualify for a play-in game. They currently trail Orlando by 5.5 games and will only have eight regular-season seeding games to close the gap.
Without Bertans, that task becomes even more daunting for Washington.
The Wizards giving their blessing to Bertans could be seen as a show of good faith, which they'd hope will give them an edge toward re-signing him in free agency.
The question is, will Bertans be the start of a trend in the NBA, or simply an outlier?
"I really think this is going to be a trend for a lot of players that are in similar positions, where their team's on the outside of the playoffs looking in," Nick Ashooh of NBC Sports Washington told 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Monday.
"Maybe they could sneak in and maybe they play a first-round series as an eighth seed," he said. "But then they're thinking about the offseason, and their contract, and the risk of playing just a few games, in a really awkward situation where they may not have as many team trainers. Training might be different.
"Like, all of the things that you're used to in your normal routine aren't going to be the same."