Nets F Wilson Chandler becomes latest NBA player to opt out of Disney World

Jack Baer
Writer

Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler has joined a growing list of NBA players that have opted out of the league’s Disney World reboot, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews.

The 33-year-old player reportedly informed the team of his decision, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, especially his three children and his grandmother who raised him as a primary reason.

From ESPN:

"As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first," Chandler told ESPN on Sunday afternoon. "Thank you to the Nets organization for understanding and supporting me in this decision, and I will be watching and rooting for our team in Orlando."

Chandler, who is playing his 12th season in the league, had started in the Nets’ last three games before the league went on hiatus. He was averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game this season, his first with the Nets after signing with the team last offseason.

Where do the Nets stand without Chandler?

Per ESPN, Rodions Kurucs and Taurean Prince are likely to absorb some of Chandler’s minutes. The Nets have since signed free agent Justin Anderson to fill Chandler’s roster spot.

The Nets will enter Disney World with a playoff spot likely in hand. With eight remaining regular season games to play, the Nets currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference at 30-34 and are six games ahead of ninth place, the 24-40 Wizards.

Of course, not much is expected of the Nets in the playoffs with Kyrie Irving still out after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery and all signs pointing to Kevin Durant not making a return from last season’s Achilles tear. Pandemic shutdown or not, waiting to contend until the moment Durant and Irving could share the court was always the expectation.

Wilson Chandler is picking family over money and basketball. Even more players could be joining him. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Which NBA players have opted out of the Disney World reboot?

Chandler joins a growing list of NBA players, mostly league veterans, who have declined to join their teams at Disney World next month. The reasons behind each decision vary heavily, but most of them are rooted in family.

Those players, and their reasons, are:

Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza, who committed to a one-month visitation window with his 12-year-old son.

Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans, who has a history of ACL injuries and is about to hit what should be a lucrative free agency.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, whose 6-year-old son has a history of respiratory issues.

Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein, whose partner is expecting a newborn child in July.

Odds are those players and Chandler won’t be the only players opting out over the next few days. For many in the league, the possibility of playing at Disney World is fraught with decisions about safety for themselves and their families. Basketball isn’t the only sport to be facing such decisions either.

With COVID-19 rates still surging in Florida, the NBA’s “bubble” might not be as safe as previously thought. The NBA itself will be quarantining, but many of the Disney World employees taking care of them will not.

NBA players aren’t required to attend the restart, but they will see their salaries reduced for the games they miss unless they are ruled to be at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Faced with that choice, many healthy players could still end up picking family over money.

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