Heading into free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers expected to be one of the busiest teams as half of their roster was due to reach the open market.
Among others, that amounted to Lakers seeing key contributors from their 2020 championship roster leave as Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard signed with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka was able to fill the backup point guard preemptively by trading for Dennis Schroder, and the Lakers have also signed Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.
Avery Bradley did not make the trip to the Orlando bubble, but was an important piece for the Lakers during the 2019-20 season. Bradley ended up declining his player option and signed a two-year deal with the Miami Heat.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Miami heavily recruited Bradley in free agency and he was in part convinced by their organizational culture:
Bradley was sold on the Heat’s culture and Pat Riley and Jimmy Butler recruited him to leave Los Angeles, sources said. https://t.co/7l19DnBuaL
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Losing Bradley comes as a mild surprise as he left the Lakers for similar money, which could mean the front office was not too motivated to keep him. After seeing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope capably step in and help Los Angeles win their title, losing Bradley does not hurt too much but he still would have been welcomed on the current roster.
Bradley’s departure meant Pelinka had to keep Caldwell-Pope and fortunately the two sides were able to agree on a three-year, $40 million deal. He was arguably L.A.’s third best player during the postseason, and now gets a chance to repeat with what looks to be an improved team.
For Bradley, he gives the Heat another perimeter defender and fits the mold of what they look for in players. With Goran Dragic showing he is happy to accept a sixth man role, Bradley could be in line for a starting role and that also likely factored into his decision.
Current state of Lakers guard rotation
Although the Lakers lost Bradley to the Heat, their stable of guards looks to be better going into the 2020-21 season.
A rotation of Caldwell-Pope, Matthews, Schroder and Alex Caruso offers a variety of complementary skillsets that fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Their collective blend of outside shooting, scoring, and defense bodes well for the purple and gold and their hopes to repeat.
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