Given the nature of the 2020 WNBA season in the midst of a pandemic and civil rights movement, a few basketball players on the New York Liberty are opting out of participating in the season.
Guard Asia Durr tested positive for COVID-19 in June and will not play this year. Durr was selected No. 2 overall in the 2019 draft.
Durr tweeted out a statement.
In a statement, General Manager Jonathan Kolb said, “Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season. While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances. Brooklyn will be ready for her in 2021.”
In her first season, Durr averaged 9.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 18 games. Durr’s season was cut short because of a hip injury.
Walker played for the UConn Huskies in college. Taken eight picks after super prospect Sabrina Ionescu, it would have been a lot of fun to see Walker play with Durr and Ionescu this season. With seven rookies on the Liberty, the team that is exploding with young talent is missing two very important players.
Australian guard Rebecca Allen has cited travel safety risks for why she won’t join the Liberty this season.
In a statement, Allen said, “This has absolutely been one of the toughest decisions, but after much thought and discussions, I have decided to opt-out of the 2020 season in Florida. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis and the logistical health risks related to travel have led me to conclude that it’s best if I not play in the WNBA this year.”
Allen has spent five seasons with the Liberty averaging 12.2 minutes per night, 4.6 points, 2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists.
While no longer playing for New York, former Liberty legend Tina Charles will not play for the Washington Mystics in what was supposed to be her first season with the team. Charles was granted a medical exemption for extrinsic asthma.
Mystics Head coach Mike Thibault said in a statement, “While we are disappointed that Tina will not be with us this summer, we fully understand the reason for her medical exemption and look forward to having her with us next season. Again, the health of our players takes precedence. There hasn’t been anything normal about playing this season, but we are prepared and excited to play with the group that is here in Florida. We are looking forward to starting our first game with Indiana on the 25th!”
The seven-time All-Star has averaged 18.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists over 10 seasons, including six with the Liberty.
The Liberty will surely miss Durr, Walker, and Allen this season. Hopefully, everyone has a speedy recovery and stays safe.
The New York Liberty will face off against the Seattle Storm on Saturday, July 25 at 12 PM on ESPN to kickstart the 2020 WNBA season.
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(photo credit: AP Images)