Avery Bradley endured a rollercoaster first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning an NBA championship despite not joining the team on its title quest once the schedule resumed in the Orlando bubble.
Bradley undeniably had a valid reason to opt out of the NBA restart. The guard wanted to avoid putting his 6-year-old son at risk amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and decided to remain with his family. The issue of racial injustice that resurfaced over the summer also played a part in his decision.
But Bradley’s absence appeared to have impacted his role and significance in L.A., even though he was head coach Frank Vogel’s go-to on-ball defender prior to the league’s shutdown in March.
However, after declining his $5 million player option for the 2020-21 season, the veteran guard decided to sign with the Miami Heat, per Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Bradley’s future in L.A. was put into question after Kenatvious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso emerged as star role players for the Lakers in the Orlando bubble.
But his stock seemingly remained high with a few title-aspiring teams said to have been interested in luring the guard away this free agency.
Bradley started 44 games for the Lakers this past season, establishing himself as one of their key defenders while also shooting a decent 36% from the field. His return began to appear doubtful once the team used its full midlevel exception on Montrezl Harrell.
Lakers reportedly pursued Eric Bledsoe before Dennis Schroder trade
Strengthening the backcourt seems to have been one of the priorities for the Lakers this offseason. Before trading for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Dennis Schroder, L.A. reportedly explored a deal for Eric Bledsoe, who the Milwaukee Bucks wound up moving anyway.
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