With a looming free agency, Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans, a Most Improved Player candidate for the 2019-2020 season, will sit out the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida, as a preventive measure, sources told ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network).
Bertans is on the cusp of a lucrative, long-term contract and has had two previous ACL injuries. As Wojnarowski notes, Bertans has suffered a pair of ACL injuries in the past and will be entering free agency this offseason on the heels of a career year. It’s not clear whether Bertans has any additional safety concerns related to COVID-19, but if he suffers an injury this summer, it could diminish his value as he seeks a new contract in the coming months.
According to Wojnarowski, the Wizards “fully support” Bertans’ decision, which is viewed as a preventative measure. The veteran sharpshooter is still expected to participate in pre-Orlando training with the team, Wojnarowski adds.
With the short term, the Wizards will be eligible to sign a substitute player to replace Bertans in Orlando, without needing to open up a roster spot for that replacement. Once the franchise signs a substitute, Bertans would become ineligible to return this season.
If the Wizards don’t advance past the seeding games in Orlando, he stands to lose $520,000, according to ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks. The Force Majeure clause would be applied to his salary, post 10% escrow and money already taken out of his salary as a result of deductions that started on May 15.
He made a significant career leap this season after being traded to the Wizards in a three-team deal last summer that was done to clear room for San Antonio to sign forward Marcus Morris to a two-year, $20 million contract — only for Morris to reverse course at the last minute and sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Knicks instead.
The Wizards hope to retain Bertans as an unrestricted free agent this summer, especially in what should be a depressed financial market because of the ongoing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Davis Bertans, born on 12 November 1992 , is a Latvian professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards of NBA. He also represents the Latvian national team. He was selected with the 42nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. On July 6, 2019, Bertāns was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Washington Wizards in a three-team deal that also included the Brooklyn Nets, in which the Spurs received DeMarre Carroll via sign-and-trade. In Washington this season, Bertans posted career highs across the board, including points (15.9) and minutes (29.3) while shooting 42.4% from 3-point range on over eight attempts per game, making himself one of the best sixth men in the NBA. Bertans will also forfeit 1/92.6th of his salary for each game he misses this summer — based on his $7MM salary for 2019/20, that would normally work out to about $605K for eight games. However, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that the actual figure will likely be close to $520K, since it will take into account previous reductions.