- Lou Williams becomes third Clipper to leave Orlando campus
- Williams has an excused absence to attend to a personal matter
- Clippers have already been without Landry Shamet, Ivica Zubac, and Marcus Morris since arriving at Disney World
Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell was forced to leave the NBA’s campus in Orlando to attend to an urgent matter. Earlier this week, guard Patrick Beverley did the same. On Friday, former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams became the latest Clipper to depart the bubble due to a personal matter.
The Clippers said that Williams’ absence is excused and that he is expected to rejoin his teammates in Orlando at some point. Harrell left because he had a family emergency, while Beverley’s absence was a different personal matter. Shortly after the news broke, Williams posted the following on Instagram:
Lou Williams just posted this on his IG story pic.twitter.com/1VOG2M7brw
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) July 24, 2020
While Williams plans on returning to Florida to rejoin the Clippers, it remains to be seen whether he will be back in time when the team resumes its season next Thursday. Williams and Harrell are among the favorites to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award this season, while Beverley is the team’s starting point guard.
Rivers Not Concerned
Head coach Doc Rivers said that players often have to leave practices during a normal season in order to attend to family matters, but those issues become more important given the league’s current circumstances inside the “bubble” at Disney World.
Any player that leaves will have to undergo a daily test for COVID-19 that returns negative in order to quarantine for four days upon returning. If a player leaves and doesn’t get tested every day he’s gone, he will then have to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days upon his return as a safety precaution.
When asked about the NBA’s unusual restart plan, Rivers said, “I think we all knew that we could start the league. The key is, can we finish it? I think that will be the big thing. I think what the league has learned, that teams have already known, that it is more than basketball that comes up. Guys have life going on. You know, whether it be a family problem, a kid problem, a wife problem or anything, there’s issues that come in these guys’ life. We give guys days off all the time because of it, but no one really notices it.”
Rivers added, “But now when you are in the bubble, when you leave, it really targets it. So I think in a good way, the public actually sees that NBA players are actually human and do have regular life issues going on.”
Rivers’ own son, Austin, who plays for the Houston Rockets, left the campus with an excused absence of his own earlier on Friday. Rivers is expected to rejoin the Rockets at some point this weekend.
Shamet, Zubac, Morris Late To Orlando
Williams played and scored 22 points in the team’s scrimmage against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. While the game didn’t count toward the standings, it was the Clippers’ first competitive contest in over four months. The NBA season was suspended back on March 11 as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to take hold in the United States.
After the game, Williams said, “I want to send a shoutout to Trez and Pat, who are at home dealing with issues with family. Thinking about them.”
In addition to the departures of Harrell, Beverley, and Williams, the Clippers are also waiting for Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet to join the team. Shamet tested positive for the virus before the team departed to Orlando, while Zubac has remained in LA for undisclosed reasons.
Forward Marcus Morris was late to arrive in Orlando due to a family matter of his own, and it was revealed on Thursday that he will leave the campus again in September so that he can attend the birth of his child.
Will LA Be Shorthanded?
Whether the Clippers will be at full strength when the season resumes will obviously go a long way toward determining whether the team will ultimately be able to win its first-ever NBA title. LA is currently 44-20 on the season, which is good for the second-best record in the Westen Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers and Clippers are slated to do battle in Orlando in the first regular-season game for both teams next Thursday.