Lakers’ starter Avery Bradley is putting his family first — and that means he will not be suiting up in Orlando for the NBA’s restart.
Bradley informed the Lakers of his decision Tuesday, choosing to spend more time with his family and put them first over basketball, Bradley told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
[Bradley’s 6-year-old son] Liam Bradley has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses and it’s unlikely that he could have been medically cleared to enter the Orlando bubble with his family.
“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family. And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.
“As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities.”
In a sports world where the culture has long been families have to sacrifice so that a player can chase a title/money, it’s good to see a player put his family and their well being in front of money (Bradley will not be paid for the Orlando games). It’s a decision we should all respect.
Bradley also has been at the forefront of players involved in the Black Lives Matter and social justice movements, including pushing hard for the NBA itself to take action and not just give lip service. He can focus on those causes along with his family.
On the court, this is a blow to the Lakers: Bradley is the starting two guard, giving the Lakers 8.6 points a game, some floor spacing with his shooting (36.4% from three), and strong defense. Of the players on the roster, this will mean a bump in minutes and role for fan-favorite Alex Caruso.
Free agent guard JR Smith has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Lakers roster, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2020
Jamal Crawford also is available, if the Lakers are looking for veteran help. The Lakers signed Dion Waiters just before the season was shut down, plus they have Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo to play some guard minutes.
None of them, however, begin to fill the hole Bradley leaves in the roster.