Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers

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Trevor Ariza, forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, has made his official announcement that he will not be playing when the NBA resumes its season in Orlando next month, according to ESPN.

Instead of returning to play, Ariza is going to spend that month with his 12-year-old son.

Ariza has been in the middle of a custody case for his kid, and the courts granted a one month visitation period that is going to interfere with the NBA restart. Unfortunately, this put Ariza in a peculiar position of having to choose between playing basketball or spending time with his son.

Players are required to inform the league of their intentions to participate in the 22-team restart plan, it should be noted that there are no penalties or fines for players who choose not to join. There have been numerous reports about players saying they are going to opt-out, but other than Ariza, DeMarcus Cousins deciding to sit out until next season while he rehabs,  and Davis Bertans there haven’t been any other notable dropouts. Alongside the Black Lives Matter movement, the original reason for the pause of play, COVID-19, is still a concern. Cases in Florida, the state the NBA restart will happen, has seen a worrisome spike in cases over the last week.

Florida’s spike began a month after reopening as the State’s Department of Health reported more than 4,000 new Covid-19 diagnoses on Friday, June 19, with a 12% positive test rate. Apple has even gone as for as to reclose several of its stores as an uptick in cases continues.

Adam Silver has said he recognizes the alarming spike, but as of now, things are on track for a late July start date.

Ariza is going to miss out on rough $1.5 million by not playing the rest of the season. The Blazers have the option to replace Ariza and any other players who decide against returning with a substitute player. They will enter the restart with a 29-37 record, which places them just outside of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.