Bertans on not playing in Orlando, his Twitter spat with Fournier originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Months after he was the first NBA player to opt out of the restart bubble, soon-to-be free agent forward Davis Bertans has explained the decision not to play in his own words.
Bertans, who had a breakout season for the Wizards, did not join the team in Orlando for their eight seeding games. It was reported at the time he did so to preserve his health for free agency.
That is indeed the case, as he explained on the 'Basketball Network' show on YouTube.
"I think there were multiple reasons. Of course, one of the main ones I guess is that I was an upcoming free agent and we were put in a position as very unlikely to make the playoffs. To risk an injury after not playing basketball and not really working out for almost two months [was not smart]. That was the main reason," he said.
"Also, the chance of not seeing my family for a month-and-a-half... All those things together made me decide to not go."
The Wizards ended up going 1-7 in Orlando and missing the playoffs. Star guard Bradley Beal also sat out, as he dealt with a minor shoulder injury.
Bertans' decision, though, drew some criticism, perhaps because it was to protect his money and because he was the first player reported to opt out. Most notably, Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic tweeted of Bertans: "This is [what's] wrong with the NBA nowadays."
Bertans responded on Twitter directly to Fournier: "If you don’t care about the risks of playing in Orlando, then also next time tag me with your opinion about me!"
It turns out Bertans had some more thoughts on the matter he didn't end up tweeting.
"If I had another year of guaranteed $19 million a year, then I would probably also be there in Orlando playing. Also, if my team had a playoff opportunity," Bertans said. "It's a completely different thing. You've gotta try to be in somebody else's shoes in that situation."
Those, of course, were references to Fournier who is due to make $17 million next season to close out a five-year, $85 million contract he signed with the Magic in 2016. Orlando also made the playoffs after entering the bubble as the eight-seed.
Bertans hasn't been able to cash in on free agency yet and hopes to do that for the first time in his NBA career this summer. Whether it will be with Washington is the question.