Los Angeles Lakers point guard Avery Bradley has decided not to join the team as the NBA is set to resume their 2019-20 season in Orlando in July. Bradley played in 49 games for the Lakers this season, starting 44 of them.
Bradley made the announcement to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, citing his family’s health and safety as his main concern:
At forefront of Bradley’s decision to remain w/ his family is the well-being of the oldest of his 3 children. His 6-year old son has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses and would’ve been unlikely to be medically cleared to enter bubble with his family. https://t.co/yputDg2VJp
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2020
More from Bradley, via Woj:
“As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family. 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.”
Bradley had previously been at the forefront of a players’ coalition seeking to force the NBA to address issues of social injustice and systemic racism amidst public unrest the past month due to several killings of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police. Lakers’ center Dwight Howard also publicly voiced his concern over the season resuming and taking focus away from important issues.
Bradley’s absence will mean the Lakers will have to rely on the likes of Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope taking on the load at the point guard position. The Lakers also signed Dion Waiters before the league was shut down due to Coronavirus concerns but he has yet to appear in a game for the team.
While the Lakers will miss Bradley’s defensive tenacity on the court, we have to respect the decision to put his family first especially with growing concerns that the COVID-19 infection rate is increasing across the country and in Florida, in particular.
The Lakers will now also have the option to look to the free agency market to replace Bradley for the remainder of the season.