The deadline for NBA players to opt-out of NBA Disney has passed, let’s see what the changes to each team could mean for the New Orleans Pelicans.
When the NBA re-start kicks off in Orlando, the New Orleans Pelicans will be at full strength.
Wednesday, June 24th was the deadline for players to inform teams whether they would return to their team for the Orlando re-start.
A few higher-profile players, namely Kyrie Irving, stated that returning to play this season was not the best use of their platforms regarding the ongoing protests surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement around the country.
While that’s certainly an honorable reason to miss the remainder of the season, it isn’t the reason most players have given for opting out.
Instead, most of the players that declined a return said it was due to reasons surrounding their families. Choosing not to go to Orlando and be stuck in a hotel for at least a month where your family couldn’t even see you until the second round of the playoffs makes complete sense to me and can’t be argued against by anyone with kids.
With that being said here’s a table of all the players who have chosen not to return this season:
|Avery Bradley||Los Angeles (L)|
|Boogie Cousins||Free Agent|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||San Antonio|
While few of those are star players, they all filled a specific role for their team. So, how will the loss of each impact their team? Will any of these benefit the New Orleans Pelicans?
Let’s take a look at how each player was used this season and where his loss will be felt the most.
Trevor Ariza: Portland Trail Blazers
In his 16th season, Trevor Ariza is no spring chicken but the value he brings defensively for Portland will be sorely missed. Without Ariza, the Trail Blazers are dangerously short on wing depth, with only Gary Trent Jr, Nassir Little, Jaylen Hoard, and Mario Hezonja assured of playing time at the small forward position.
Carmelo Anthony may have to slide back to his old position with the return of Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic but none of those players mentioned above provide the defensive flexibility of Ariza. The loss of Ariza means the Trail Blazer’s path to the play-in game got a heck of a lot tougher.
This is good new for the New Orleans Pelicans, who need to overtake Portland to force a play-in series with the Grizzlies.
Davis Bertans: Washington Wizards
Davis Bertans is one of the best scorers who will not be going to Orlando. Bertans has shot 42.4% from deep this year on 8.7 3PA (more per game than Bradley Beal). His loss probably won’t impact much on game outcomes during the eight games the Wizards have to catch the Magic, as they are 5.5 games back of the latter for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With Bertans staying home, the Wizards are more likely to give extra playing time to their young players in a faux playoff environment.
The New Orleans Pelicans will benefit from his absence, as one of their games will be against the Wizards.