WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans will skip the Disney-based resumption of the NBA season, making him the first known example of a healthy, eligible player sitting out.

Bertans can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is expected to command a big contract as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters.

Bertans’ decision was first reported Monday by ESPN and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with his plans, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither the player nor team had made an announcement.

In his first season with Washington after being acquired from the San Antonio Spurs as part of a three-team deal in July 2019, the 6-foot-10, 225-pound forward from Latvia was averaging 3.7 made 3s per game, tied for fourth in the NBA when play was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. He was shooting 42.4% from beyond the arc.

His 200 total 3s in 2019-20 rank seventh in the NBA and — in just 54 games — put him 23 from tying Bradley Beal’s franchise record for makes in a season.

The 27-year-old from Latvia averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists as a reserve for Washington when the season was halted in March.

The league intends to resume its season in late July with 22 of 30 teams playing eight games apiece in a “bubble” set up at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida, before the playoffs begin there in mid-August.

Bertans is in the second season of a $14.5 million, two-year contract he signed when he was with the Spurs, and based on his $7 million salary this season he would be forfeiting around $600,000 in gross salary for the eight games that he definitely would be missing.

If the Wizards were to reach the playoffs, the total lost salary could rise to as much as approximately $900,000, depending on how many games Washington plays.

The Wizards, according to a rules memo distributed to teams and obtained by the AP, will be allowed to sign a replacement player for Bertans as early as Tuesday. Bertans would be classified as an “excused player,” which means he forfeits salary but is not subject to any disciplinary action from the league for choosing not to play.

The National Basketball Players Association and the NBA have been in agreement for some time that any player who does not feel safe being part of the restart would not have to participate.

The Wizards are 24-40 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. That puts them 5½ games behind the Orlando Magic, who currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

But the NBA’s format for the restart of the season gives Washington some more playoff hope, because it only will need to shave 1½ games off that gap to reach a play-in series that will determine the No. 8 seed in the East.

Can't get enough High School sports? Get the latest scores, game highlights and analysis delivered to your inbox each week

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments