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Avery Bradley Will Not Play for the Lakers when NBA Season Resumes at Disney

Avery Bradley will not play for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season resumes at Disney World in July, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The driving force of his decision, according to Wojnarowski, is the health of his family. 

Bradley has three children, and his six-year-old son has a history of respiratory illnesses that likely would have prevented him from entering the bubble. Bradley had also been one of the leaders of a coalition of players that were concerned over the message that playing would send in light of the social justice climate following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. 

“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organisation as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family,” Bradley said, via Wojnarowski. “And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.

“As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities.”

The Lakers signed Dion Waiters as an extra guard just before the season shut down. They will also turn to incumbents Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo for bigger roles with Bradley out. Bradley had nominally been the starting point guard for the Lakers, serving as a defensive stopper on the perimeter and a valuable shooter to space the floor for their bigger players.

The Lakers will now have an open roster spot to fill during the NBA’s transaction window, which began Tuesday. Bradley’s spot in the starting lineup will likely go to Caldwell-Pope, who filled in for Bradley during a midseason injury. The Lakers are 16-3 with Caldwell-Pope in the starting lineup, and he made 51 percent of his field goals and 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers with Bradley out of the starting five. 

While the initially reported deadline for players to opt-out of going to Disney was June 24, Wojnarowski reports that NBA teams are treating that as a soft deadline. Teams are acting as though July 1, when final rosters are due, is the true deadline. Another Laker, Dwight Howard, is on the fence about joining the team in Orlando. The team, however, expects him to play. 

Bradley stands to surrender approximately $650,000 in salary for sitting out at Disney, but he has a player option for around $5 million next season. This was not a financial decision for Bradley, though. It was one based in the wellbeing of his family and community, and that is commendable.