As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to head to Orlando to finish out the 2019-20 NBA season, they will have new players to continue introducing to their system. Some of that is because Avery Bradley opted out of the restart, and was subsequently replaced with JR Smith.
Meanwhile, the Lakers still need to fully incorporate Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters as well. Bradley was one of the team’s most important defensive pieces, but they believe they can adjust to life without him.
Bradley played in 49 of 63 games prior to the hiatus, starting 44 of them. He was the Lakers’ best defensive guard and absolutely helped to create the identity that the team has. Even though he will not be with the team in order to stay with his family, there is no doubt that he impacted the Lakers this year.
Because of this, L.A. has said Bradley will receive a championship ring should they win it all in Orlando. However, Bradley has not made any decision about possibly accepting it, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“Will I accept the ring? I’m neither here nor there about it,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports. “I am 10 years in this league. The physical possession of a ring doesn’t make me feel like more or less of a person. I play basketball strictly for enjoyment and to add to the support of my family. Supporting them is exactly what I’m doing right now.”
While it is a bit early in the restart process to be discussing who gets a ring — given that the playoff brackets aren’t even set yet — Bradley has every right to feel this way. By choosing to stay home, Bradley decided that the health and safety of him and his family outweighs a potential championship.
However, as previously stated, Bradley did help create the hard-nosed defensive identity for the Lakers, and absolutely should be rewarded if the team reaches the pinnacle.
Whatever decision he ultimately makes if the Lakers are in position to present him with a ring, there is no denying Bradley’s importance to the 2019-20 roster.
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