While the Los Angeles Lakers went through the playoffs without Avery Bradley, there is no denying his impact on the 2019-20 team.
Bradley played in 49 games for the Lakers, starting in 44 of them, as a perfect complement to the play style of LeBron James. Bradley was perhaps the team’s best on-ball defender during the regular season, and was serviceable as a spot-up shooter.
He was able to take the pressure off of other Lakers guards by always taking the superstar matchups such as Damian Lillard, James Harden and others. And while Bradley’s time with the Lakers is not necessarily over, he has reportedly declined his $5 million player option, opting to enter unrestricted free agency, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley is declining his $5 million player option for the 2020-21 season and hitting free agency, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 19, 2020
The Lakers will still have bird rights on Bradley, allowing them to go over the salary cap in order to re-sign him. However, in such a short free agency window, Bradley may receive better offers than L.A. is willing to stretch to.
The rise of Alex Caruso as an almost elite on-ball defender, as well as the potential re-signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, may decrease Bradley’s role. That is something that could have factored into his decision to decline the player option.
The Golden State Warriors were said to be among the teams with interest, but they now are on the verge of trading for Kelly Oubre in the wake of Klay Thompson suffering a torn Achilles.
Bradley chose to opt out of the Lakers playoff run in the Walt Disney World bubble due to health concerns surrounding his family. He was greatly missed, especially in the earlier rounds as the Lakers faced some of the league’s best backcourts.
Bradley’s best game with the Lakers came just one game before the shutdown in March of 2020, when he scored 24 points on 6-for-12 from three-point range in a huge win against the L.A. Clippers.
For the season, Bradley averaged 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.9 steals per game on 44.4% from the field and 36.4% from three.
Bradley to receive championship ring from L.A.
While he was unable to join the Lakers on their championship run, Bradley undoubtedly played a role in the team’s success. Because of that, Bradley will be given a championship ring.
He called it an amazing feeling knowing that he impacted a championship run.
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