Wilson Chandler, who has been a defensive stopper throughout the Nets season, will not be traveling with the Nets to Orlando for the NBA return to play, citing health and family issues.
Malika Andrews who covers the Nets for ESPN broke the news in a tweet...
“As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first,” Wilson said. “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.” https://t.co/bN37YdF9zX— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 28, 2020
The Nets quickly signed Justin Anderson to replace Chandler, per Adrian Wojnarowski...
Free agent Justin Anderson is signing with the Nets, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2020
A little more than an hour and 15 minutes before the Chandler news broke, Anderson tweeted this...
I JUST WANNA THANK GOD— Justin Anderson (@JusAnderson1) June 28, 2020
Chandler is the only Nets player (so far) to opt out. Under an agreement between the league and players union, he will lose part of his salary but face no other consequences. Depending on how far the Nets advance, Chandler will lose between $200,000 and $350,000.
In an interview with the Court Vision Podcast Sunday, Chandler told Jameer Nelson and Ben Stinar that health issues were the biggest ones in his decision but added that social justice concerns also played a role. He also said that Sean Marks had taken his decision “very well.”
“Having a grandmother who’s 87 and battling all kinds of illnesses and having young kids, I think it’s more important to me to be home with my family, taking care of my kids and my family. So that’s my biggest decision to stay home. And if you throw in the whole social justice — everything that’s going on, police brutality and dealing with the government and all that — that just makes it all the more difficult.
He added that in terms of using basketball as a platform, “It’s kind of up to each player how to use his platform as he sees fit.” Chandler also offered his appreciation of how the Nets treated him and his family this year...
“I told Sean, you know I spoke to him. I definitely appreciated (Nets) being a family friendly organization. always helping me, supporting me when I was needing it most, making my transition very smooth. Like I said, he’s always been there for me ... So I told him that I appreciate that and he wished me well and said they won’t hold it against me at all.”
Health and family-related issues are increasingly a concern for NBA players. Coronavirus infections have spiked dramatically in Florida the last couple of weeks. Specifically, STAT News, the respected medical news site, reported last week that Orange County, the home of Walt Disney World, is ranked “extremely low” in preparedness for a breakout. STAT also estimated that cases in the county aren’t expected to peak until September 30, which is also the date the NBA Finals are set to begin.
Chandler, 33, has also supported Irving in his openness to debate players’ return to play on various grounds. Irving had reportedly suggested in a conference call two weeks ago that boycotting the “bubble” would show the players care more about the pursuit of social justice. The two have backed Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Four days ago, Chandler directly defended his superstar teammate...
Crazy to me how fans, ex players and players criticized Kyrie for voicing his opinion. A opinion that wasn’t wrong at all. Who cares if you didn’t like his delivery or the way he went about it. With everything that’s going on from police brutality to covid he had the backbone— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) June 24, 2020
Before that, Chandler’s spoken simply but well on the issue, in particular defending Irving against attacks from Kendrick Perkins. He let Perk know what he thought about his attacks on Irving.
Excuse my last tweet...but I really took it light on Kyrie today because I really could Expose the “Cupcake” BS that he’s really doing behind those phone conversations!!! Carry on...— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) June 17, 2020
Divide and conquer tactics at a all time high.— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) June 17, 2020
Even before Irving spoke out on players union conference calls, Chandler had a lot to say about Black Lives Matter protests himself, often in only a few words...
If they tell you they don’t normally do this. Yes they do. And very often.— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) June 10, 2020
Same with the role of the NBA and its players in the context of the protests...
Government can’t wait until the NBA start the season back. Need a distraction from the bullshit that’s going on. Always in need of distractions.— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) June 3, 2020
Chandler being outspoken is one of his great attributes, as our Matt Brooks pointed out in a profile of Chandler Friday...
None of this should come as a surprise. The man said it best; he’s always been this way, from stateside to international waters.
“I’m one of the soldiers who goes out there for the generals and the captains. I’m on the support team and rightfully so. Whenever they need my help, they know they have a warrior besides themselves.”
Chandler missed the first 25 games of the season, suspended for PED usage. As the season wore on, he took on bigger roles, particularly on defense. After Kenny Atkinson was dumped in the week before the NBA shut down, Jacque Vaughn elevated him to the starting line-up. He played a large role in the Nets win over the Lakers in the last game before the stoppage. It was also arguably the Nets biggest win of the season.
For the season, he finished averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 35 games. He will be an unrestricted free agent in the fall.
Other NBA players who’ve opted out include Willie Cayley-Stein, Trevor Ariza and Avery Bradley all of whom like Chandler cited family and health issues. Davis Bertans, who will be an unrestricted free agent this fall, also opted out.
The 6’6”, 230-pound Anderson had a 10-day call-up with the Nets in January. After he returned to the G League, the Long Island Nets traded for his rights. He finished the season with the Nets G League affiliate and was named third team All-G League this week after averaging 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists and shooting 48 percent overall and 37 percent from 3 on 7.2 attempts per game. Like Chandler, the 26-year-old offers a 3-and-D game. He also has 219 regular season NBA games under the belt plus 12 post-season games. He knows the Nets system from both his stint with Long Island and his 10-day.
Brooklyn was down four players before picking up Anderson: Chandler plus Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Nicolas Claxton, who are all recovering from surgery or rehabbing. The Nets did add Tyler Johnson Friday after waiving Theo Pinson.
- Nets’ Wilson Chandler opting out to remain with family - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets’ Wilson Chandler opts out of NBA’s Orlando restart - Marc Berman - New York Post
- Nets forward Chandler opts out of NBA restart - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Veteran Nets forward Wilson Chandler opting out of NBA’s Orlando bubble season restart - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- As Wilson Chandler opts out, Justin Anderson brings his versatility back to Nets - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- NBA return: Wilson Chandler, Avery Bradley, Davis Bertans among players to sit out rest of 2019-20 season - Jack Maloney & Sam Quinn - CBS Sports
- Nets F Wilson Chandler becomes latest NBA player to opt out of Disney World - Jack Baer - Yahoo! Sports
- Wilson Chandler to sit out resumed NBA season, indicates coronavirus is reason - Steve DelVecchio - Yardbarker
- Brooklyn Nets’ Wilson Chandler opts out of NBA restart - Chris Bumbaca - USA Today
- Nets’ Wilson Chandler opts out of season comeback - NBA.com