The return of the NBA season is just around the corner, and all of the 22 participating teams are on-site in the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, where the rest of the games will be played.
But some of the participating teams will be missing key players when basketball gets back to action. The NBA has allowed players to sit out the rest of the season if they wish to do so – due to health concerns or other personal reasons. Multiple players have decided to do just that.
Additionally, at least two players will be sitting out the rest of the season due to catching COVID-19 just before teams were heading into Orlando.
Who are we missing, and what should sports traders make of this? Let’s take a look.
NBA players that have decided to sit out
As of the 14th of July, the following players had confirmed that they have decided to sit out the rest of the season:
DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets
COVID-19 positive test
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
COVID-19 positive test
Wilson Chandler, Brooklyn Nets
Willie Cauley-Stein, Dallas Mavericks
Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Lakers
Trevor Ariza, Portland Trail Blazers
Thabo Sefolosha, Houston Rockets
Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers
To be clear, testing positive for COVID-19 does not force players to sit out from the season restart. Several high-profile players who have caught the virus recently – such as Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo – are expected to join their teams once their quarantines end.
DeAndre Jordan’s and Spencer Dinwiddie’s decisions to not return were probably motivated by the fact that Brooklyn already have a severely depleted team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out due to injury, and their chances look very slim in the playoffs. Why go risk your own or your teammates’ health and live in a bubble for months when there’s not much to play for?
With Wilson Chandler also opting out, the Nets are working with a skeleton crew in Orlando.
Elsewhere, Avery Bradley is a significant loss for the Lakers in the defensive end, and the Mavericks will surely miss Willie Cauley-Stein, with their center rotation already slim as Dwight Powell will miss the rest of the season due to injury. And besides not having Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan available, the Trail Blazers also have to do without the injured Rodney Hood.
Other key players that teams will miss for the remainder of the season due to injury; Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah Jazz) and LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs).
The impact for sports traders
What should sports traders make of this then?
It’s not very likely anymore that a key contributor would make a last-minute announcement to voluntarily sit out the rest of the season. But there could definitely be more cases where players catch COVID-19 and end up being out for weeks.
Investors should understand that this means increased uncertainty in the market. Season futures, such as investing in who will be the NBA champion, become trickier when we don’t realistically know what the probabilities of star players from contending teams catching the virus are.
What if, let’s say the Milwaukee Bucks, end up missing their best three players for the first round of the playoffs due to the virus? These are the sort of questions investors need to be asking themselves before committing their capital.
To make things more complicated, there’s also the fact that there will be no home-court advantage this year, with games being played at that neutral site in Orlando. And in what sort of physical shape are players going to be after an extended time off, with varying access to gyms and training facilities during that time?
For more, read our article on considerations on the NBA’s return here.
NBA season return recap
The league will restart on July 30 with eight “seeding games” to determine the playoff seeds. These games are picked from the remaining schedules of each participating team. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers look to have secured the number one seeds in their conferences, being 6.5 and 5.5 games ahead of the rest of the pack. But the rest of the field will be fighting for home court advantage or their spot in the 2020 postseason.
Nine teams from the Eastern Conference will participate: the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
The Western Conference will be represented by 13 teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns participating.
For more, read our summary of the NBA’s return to action here.
The NBA season is back, and our sports trading systems are ready. Are you?
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