Obviously the global health crisis is causing a lot of problems in the world of sports. Almost every major sporting league in the world went on hiatus after the globe plunged into a state of emergency. Now things are restarting, but not everyone is happy about it. Many athletes are choosing to opt out of returning this year.
Both the MLB and NBA are close to coming back. However, not every player will be coming back. Many of their teammates have already tested positive. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the players set to miss out on the NBA playoffs and the new MLB season. It’s controversial, but it’s their choice. Check out the list of NBA and MLB players choosing to opt out of the 2020 returns via Insider below.
20. Mike Leake
Leake was the first MLB player to opt out of the 2020-21 season. The Arizona Diamondbacks planned to include him in their 30-man roster. However, he made himself unavailable after concerns relating to the current health crisis. His contract includes an $18 million club option for 2021 with a $5 million buyout.
The player’s agent, Danny Horwitz, said that this was not an easy decision for Leake. He explained Leake and his family took countless factors into consideration. With cases spiking across the United States, it’s clear many other players could follow his example.
Ariza has one of the toughest reasons for missing the NBA restart. He is currently pursuing a custody case with the mother of his son. In short, she allowed him custody of the boy for one month during the NBA bubble in Orlando. Finally, he decided that he would take the opportunity to see his son.
The 34-year-old Portland Trail Blazers forward will lose almost $2 million in salary because of his decision. But he made the right choice for him and his family. He started every one of his 21 games for Portland since February and averaged 11 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1 steal a game.
Bertans emerged as a key player for the Wizards this season. That’s exactly why he isn’t going to feature in Florida. ‘The Latvian Laser” is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He doesn’t want to risk injury. It’s all about the money, but can you blame him?
Furthermore, the Wizards gave Bertans their blessing. They’re desperate to keep him and want to stay on his good side. With only a tiny chance of making the playoffs, it won’t make much difference to their season anyway. However, they will have John Wall back for the first time since December.
Hernandez’s decision to opt out of the new season is definitely a blow for the Atlanta Braves. He was almost certain to make their 30-man roster to play a part in their quest for a third straight NL East title. Unfortunately for the Braves, they’ll have to do without the veteran.
After several players tested positive for the illness, Hernandez decided not to risk it. The pitcher is a loss for the Braves because they’ll have to bring in another younger player before they were ready. A few months ago, Hernandez was fighting for his job. Now he’s walked away.
Bradley is one of the most high-profile players to opt-out of the NBA restart. He also plays for the most high-profile team. The LA Lakers are definitely in contention for the championship this year but Bradley won’t be there with them in the playoffs. He played in 49 of their 63 games this season.
However, Bradley says that his family is more important. He says that he will do what he has to. The Lakers will give him a ring if they win the championship. However, Bradley says he may not accept it.
Markakis decided to opt out after a phone call with close friend and teammate Freddie Freeman. Freeman tested positive and explained the intensity of the symptoms to Markakis. In the end, the 36-year-old Atlanta Braves veteran decided it wasn’t worth playing.
The outfielder says that Freeman’s description of his illness was eye-opening. Furthermore, Markakis doesn’t like the idea of playing without fans in attendance. Manager Brian Snitker says that he respects Markakis’s decision but it is a blow to their hopes of winning a third straight NL East title.
The Dallas Mavericks will be without their seven-foot giant in Disney World. Cauley-Stein chose to opt-out because his wife is pregnant with the couple’s first child. He doesn’t want to risk putting her health in danger. You’ve got to say that is a good enough reason.
Furthermore, with the NBA operating in a bubble, it would be weeks until he could see his newborn child. In sum, that’s why he just can’t take the time away. The Mavericks used him sparingly this season but he would definitely be a useful option in the postseason. Now they must plan to be without him.
Desmond was the fourth MLB player to opt out of the new season. The Colorado Rockies star hit .255/.310/.479 with 20 home runs and 65 RBI across 482 plate appearances last year. He also has one more guaranteed year on his contract worth eight million dollars.
However, he decided not to risk playing this year. With a pregnant wife and several young children, he wants to be there for his family. Furthermore, Desmond is biracial and wants to teach his children about civil rights and identity in the modern USA.
Chandler has had an awful season. First of all, the NBA suspended him for the first 25 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. In short, that’s why he has only played 35 games so far this season. But he won’t add to that total because he chose to opt out of the return.
Chandler says it is because of his family. He doesn’t want to put them at risk by playing in a congested bubble at Disney World. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old averaged just 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season. Will they really miss him?
LA Dodgers pitcher Price chose to opt out of the 2020 season after he cited health concerns. The former Cy Young Award winner arrived in LA from the Boston Red Sox in a five-player trade. The fathe of two will miss out on a $12 million salary this year because of his choice.
The five-time All-Star was not the first baseball player to make this decision. Only time will tell if more join their ranks because the likes of Mike Trout have audible concerns about the rapidly increasing number of cases in the United States.
Cousins is currently recovering from an ACL injury. He doesn’t want to aggravate it by playing in Orlando. Even though the Lakers are chasing the NBA Championship, he doesn’t want to risk it and departs as a free agent. He sees this as the perfect time to get back to his physical peak.
Cousins knows that he can’t come back too quickly from an ACL tear. That’s why he won’t play before a proper offseason when he can get his body up to speed. This may not be for the Lakers, however, it doesn’t matter in his eyes. It’s all about the money at this point in his career.
Jordan is one of the most impactful players to opt out of the NBA restart. The Brooklyn Nets center helped his team win their last two games when he came in as a starter. Losing him is a blow because of the number of Nets stars already out.
Jordan tested positive for the disease so medical staff doesn’t want him near the rest of the roster. This also means that Jarrett Allen will play more games. With big names like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Spencer Dinwiddie all absent for Florida, Brooklyn will have a tough time.
One of the three Washington Nationals to opt out of playing, Ross made the same decision as his brother Tyson. A right-handed pitcher with a chance of making the Nationals’ starting rotation, Ross would have made $550,000 if he chose to represent his team in Florida.
Ross is a five-season MLB veteran. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017. Last season he played over 20 times for the Nationals but may not appear for them again. The Nationals won’t miss him that much after he decided to put his family over the chance of playing time.
After testing positive for a second time, Dinwiddle will not play for the Brooklyn Nets in Florida next month. It’s a blow for the Nets because they are also Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan. However, the medical staff and Dinwiddie agreed he should isolate from the squad.
This leaves a big hole in the Nets’ offense because Dinwiddie is their second-highest scorer this season. He averaged over 20 points a game before the hiatus but won’t be adding to those numbers. Furthermore, Dinwiddie thought that he was clear to play so it’s even more disappointing.
Zimmerman is one of a trio of Washington Nationals’ stars who chose to opt out. The 35-year-old is a 15-year Nationals’ veteran. However, despite the longevity of his time in Washington, he still chose to put his family first. But he had a very good reason for that decision.
First of all, his mother suffers from multiple sclerosis and is in the high-risk category. In short, Zimmerman does not want to endanger her life. He also has a three-month-old baby who he would not be able to see for weeks. Last season, he batted .257 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 171 at-bats, including a dramatic home run in Game One of the World Series.
Sefolosha played in 41 games this season for Houston, averaging 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.6 minutes. However, he chose to opt-out after several Rockets’ teammates fell ill during the current health crisis. The veteran says that he needs to think of his family, which is why he will not play in Orlando.
He was a reserve player for the team this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game in 41 appearances. Sefolosha had seen more game time since January because of injuries but still only played in two of the Rockets’ past nine games. He may have played his last game in Texas.
Veteran right-hander Ross chose to opt-out of the restart after the Giants surprisingly chose to release him. He arrived on a minor league deal with a view to stepping up to MLB. As Ross wasn’t going to play, the Giants had no reason to hold onto him.
Ross’s decision mirrors that of his younger brother who will also sit out of the new season. His career deteriorated after a spate of injuries. In short, Ross looked like a worldbeater during his days with the Padres, but would still be a great depth arm for many teams.
It was a very frustrating season for Oladipo. First, injury kept him out for a major chunk of the season. This also disrupted him when he came back and prevented him from showing his full potential in the games that he did play. Now the Indiana Pacers confirmed that he won’t be at Disney World.
This is a massive blow for the Pacers as they hope to make a run into the playoffs. Some people feel that Oladipo is missing an opportunity from reminding the league of his talents. But the two-time All-Star says he’s not mentally or physically ready. He’s arguably the most influential loss for the restart.
‘Beef’ was the third Washington Nationals’ player to opt out of their 60-man roster. He has a wife and two children in the Dominican Republic which is why he doesn’t want to spend his summer playing baseball away from them. However, his coaches understand.
He was competing to be the Nationals’ third option at catcher behind Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes. With the expanded roster format, there was a good chance that he would play on opening day as part of the active roster. But family comes first and Castillo decided he had to prioritize.
Washington Wizards star Beal lit up their season. And that’s exactly why he chose to opt out of the bubble. After a career year, Beal and the Wizards recognize the need for him to stay healthy. Fans expect Beal to stay in Washington in 2020 after he signed a two-year extension last year.
However, the Wizards aren’t exactly competitive, so Beal will keep his options open. He averaged 30.5 points per game this season, a new career-high by nearly five points. He’s in the top form of his NBA career and will be a vital cog for the Wizards next season.