Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, a leading voice in the player faction opposing the NBA restart, has chosen not to join the team at Disney World for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
While Bradley agreed with Kyrie Irving that the NBA restart would take away the players’ fight against racial injustice, ESPN reports that the main factor in Bradley’s decision is the well-being of his oldest son.
Bradley’s son, Liam, 6, has reportedly had a history of respiratory illness and is unlikely to be cleared to enter the NBA bubble. With the Lakers in position for a deep playoff career, joining the team would likely have meant dividing the Bradley family.
ESPN’s Bradley statement:
“As committed to my Lakers teammates and organization as I am, I finally play basketball for my family. And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decisions that could jeopardize health and well-being of my family even the slightest risk.
“As promised too, I will use this time to focus on building projects to help strengthen my communities.”
Bradley has started 44 games for the Lakers this season and averaged 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game before the NBA went into recess. The 29-year-old was a 2016 All-Defense NBA first-team pick with the Boston Celtics.
According to ESPN, Bradley will lose $ 650,000 in salary for staying out of the rest of saeson.
The veteran is not the only NBA player who chooses not to restart, and he may not be the only Laker, either. Dwight Howard also reportedly has reservations about rejoining the team, and who knows what other players are having bubble problems like Bradley’s.
JR Smith is reportedly a leading candidate to replace Bradley
With Bradley out, the Lakers will have 24.2 minutes per game to replace in their backcourt. One possibility to help fill that gap is a good friend of LeBron James.
JR Smith, who won a championship in 2016 with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, is a leading candidate to replace Bradley, according to Wojnarowski.
Smith has not played in the NBA this season, and was last seen hitting alleged truck vandalism on the streets of Los Angeles. It wouldn’t be a one-on-one replacement for Bradley, as the Lakers will have the option to stretch the minutes of players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, and Alex Caruso.
Davis Bertans and Trevor Ariza also choose not to participate in the NBA bubble
In addition to Bradley, Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans and Portland Trail Blazers wing Trevor Ariza have declined the opportunity to play at Disney World, although the stakes are different with their two teams currently out of the playoffs. .
Bertans’ absence is due to an LCA injury history and the likelihood that a lucrative long-term contract awaits him in free agency this offseason. Ariza is away due to a month-long visitation window with her 12-year-old son as part of an ongoing custody battle.