It was assumed by most that the Los Angeles Lakers would go into the 2021-22 regular season with an open roster spot. Like last year, they could save money in the meantime while preserving flexibility for the buyout market. This is why it came as a big surprise when they claimed Avery Bradley off of waivers just one day before the start of the season.
Bradley played the 2019-20 regular season with the Lakers, ultimately opting out of the Walt Disney World Bubble. The Lakers went on to win the championship, but never forgot Bradley’s contributions as the primary starting shooting guard that season.
After bouncing around from the Miami Heat to the Houston Rockets, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Golden State Warriors and was ultimately waived in their final round of cuts. With an open roster spot and a need at his position, the Lakers took a chance and claimed him.
Reportedly, L.A. made the decision to sign Bradley to a non-guaranteed contract due to a number of factors, including injuries and his familiarity with the system, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Bradley, who was cut by the Golden State Warriors after training camp, signed a non-guaranteed contract to join the Lakers, sources told ESPN. With both Trevor Ariza (ankle) and Talen Horton-Tucker (thumb) out while recovering from surgery, Bradley appealed to the Lakers as a reliable perimeter defender, possessing institutional knowledge of coach Frank Vogel’s defensive schemes from his time with the team in 2019-20, sources said.
It remains to be seen exactly how big of a role Bradley will play in the absence of Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker and potentially Wayne Ellington. However, in a bind, Bradley can absolutely be relied on to play solid perimeter defense.
Based on this report, it’s also fairly likely that Bradley doesn’t make it past his Jan. 10 guarantee date in his contract. This appears to be a move that gives the Lakers a stopgap option until Horton-Tucker and Ariza are healthy. At that time, Bradley can be cut without repercussions and L.A. can get its 15th roster spot back.
Given that the Lakers are playing the guard-heavy Warriors and Phoenix Suns to begin the season, it wouldn’t be surprising if Bradley got some early minutes.
Frank Vogel hoping to keep LeBron James around 34 minutes per game
Something that should open up opportunities for players throughout the roster is a potential soft limit on LeBron James’ minutes this season. Given his age and mileage throughout his career, preserving him for the playoffs is by far the most important thing.
Frank Vogel is planning to keep James around 34 minutes per game this season, similar to the 33.4 he played on average last season.
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