Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler will not join his team when the NBA season restarts near Orlando next month, instead opting out over health concerns, multiple outlets reported Sunday.
“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. “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.”
As part of its return-to-play plan following a league-wide shutdown on March 11 because of COVID-19, the NBA is allowing players the option of opting out of playing when the NBA resumes the regular season and conducts its playoffs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., without it impacting their contract status other than small reductions in 2019-20 salary. In addition, the Nets will be allowed to add a player to replace Chandler.
ESPN reported Sunday the Nets are signing free agent forward Justin Anderson, who played in three games for Brooklyn in January on a 10-day contract. Anderson, 26, has averaged 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 219 career games for four teams across five seasons.
The league will bring 22 teams to Orlando, with teams first playing “seeding games” to determine playoff participants and seeding before conducting the postseason. Teams will begin working out in Florida in early July and the first games are scheduled for July 30.
The Nets sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference at 30-34, 5.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards for the final playoff spot.
Among the players who have reportedly opted out of playing in Orlando are Portland’s Trevor Ariza, Washington’s Davis Bertans, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Avery Bradley and Dallas’ Willie Cauley-Stein.
Chandler, 33, played in 35 games (three starts) with Brooklyn this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.
A first-round pick by New York in 2007, Chandler has career averages of 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 676 career games (483 starts) over 12 seasons.