Washington Wizards marksman Davis Bertans became the first NBA player to formally opt-out of the restart of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, setting the way for a few others that are likely to do so in the coming days.
Bertans cited his decision was made as a preventative measure, which the franchise has been fully supportive of. Yet this decision could directly impact his market price in the upcoming offseason as well as the team’s chances to crack a playoff spot.
The Wizards are still a long shot to crack the playoffs
Washington was the lone non-playoff team from the Eastern Conference to get an invitation to Walt Disney World, sitting 5.5 games behind the Orlando Magic. Behind the Phoenix Suns, who trail the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies by six games, the Wizards have the second-lowest odds to crack the playoffs.
News of John Wall not taking part in the restart will put the ball in the hands of a capable Bradley Beal, but the second-leading scorer in the league will be without his best sharpshooter — making his duties as main distributor all the more tough.
Yet in the grand context of things, the Wizards might need to win six of their eight playoff games and hope for a complete letdown from the Magic to catch up.
Losing Bertans for the rest of the season isn’t ideal, but the Wizards might just be better off keeping him healthy and unworried than getting a frantic marksman on the court.
The Latvian Laser will cash in no matter what
The Wizards are expected to double what Bertans was making under his contract structure with the San Antonio Spurs. The marksman signed a two-year, $14.5 million deal with San Antonio in 2018, one that paid him $7 million per year as his base salary and $250,000 in annual bonuses, per Spotrac.
Washington could carve out as much as $15 million per year for a sharpshooter of his caliber and they can do so while still holding onto his Bird rights. That means they can go above the cap to re-sign him to any amount up to his max salary.
There will be teams in the mix for Bertans, but none will be able to offer him as much money as the Wizards can at the end of this season.
Sitting out for eight games (let’s call it for what it is, folks) will not deter his market — even with all the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately that will go on in Orlando.
The salary cap, however, will take a hit this upcoming season, reflecting the losses from the coronavirus pandemic and a five-month halt that skewed the expected revenue — even more so after a debacle with China earlier this season — the NBA’s biggest overseas partner.
Realistically speaking, Bertans’ market could be anywhere between $10-12 million per year after the salary cap reduction, still a hefty raise from the money he’d be looking at by staying as a substitute player in San Antonio.