After months of uncertainty, NBA fans can finally exhale as they will be able to see a finale to the 2019-20 season. While there will still be some time needed to get everything situated, and while the coronavirus still poses a threat, it appears we will have basketball by the end of July.
Let’s take a look at some of the major headlines from the NBA this week, including the official return of the league and other news from around the league.
Agreement Finalized; Time To Play Ball
On Friday, the return-to-play plan was officially approved between the league and the Players Association, meaning basketball is set to return to finish out the 2019-2020 season.
As previously reported, the NBA will host a “bubble” city at Walt Disney World, where 22 teams will return to finish out the season. They will play eight regular-season games, mostly to help finish out seeding, before commencing with postseason play.
Granted, there are concerns as Florida, the state the games will be played in, has seen a surge in cases. Furthermore, 16 players, including Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield, and Jabari Parker, have recently tested positive; however, the league still feels that with the health protocols in place, a season can safely be finished.
The league also announced its “re-opening night” schedule on Friday. July 30 will mark the first games in almost four months and will feature two games that evening. The Utah Jazz will be taking on the New Orleans Pelicans, and the LA Clippers will be taking on the Los Angeles Lakers.
That will be followed by a full slate of games on July 31, including the Houston Rockets versus Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Needless to say, with only contending teams left, the seeding games and the postseason should be a lot of fun, assuming the pandemic doesn’t disrupt the restart.
Bradley To Sit Out Remainder Of Season
Due to the continuing concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, it will not be uncommon to see players forego their seasons in lieu of making sure to stay healthy. For Avery Bradley, that notion has become a reality.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bradley will not be participating in the completion of the season as his family, most notably his son, has health concerns that he doesn’t want to jeopardize by playing.
It is certainly a noteworthy reason, and his colleagues have held his decision in high regard. During the season, Bradley had been averaging 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Also, according to Wojnarowski, it appears that the Lakers may be entertaining bringing in J.R. Smith to help out at the guard position.
Wizards Bring In Grant
Another player who is opting out for the season is Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards. His decision is due to injury concerns.
It appears, though, that the Wizards have already found a replacement in free-agent guard Jerian Grant. Grant most recently played for the Orlando Magic last season but has spent most of this season in the G-League.
Last year, in 60 games, he averaged 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. While Grant may not fill up the stat sheet, it is nice for the Wizards to be able to bring someone in with a little bit of experience.
Carter Officially Calls It Quits
Sadly, it is an end of an era in the NBA as Vince Carter has officially announced his retirement. With the Atlanta Hawks not making the 22-team cut, he is officially hanging them up.
Carter has had a Hall-of-Fame type career that stems back to last century. His first season, with Toronto, was back in 1998.
Over his career, he has played in 1,541 games averaging 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1998-99 season and played in eight All-Star Games.
This season, at age 43, he played in 60 games and averaged 5 points and 2.1 rebounds. It is a sad day knowing he won’t play in the NBA anymore, but it is hard to argue that there will ever be anyone like “Vinsanity” in the NBA again.