One of the crucial mid-season decisions for the Los Angeles Lakers has been made. Veteran guard Avery Bradley will stay on the team for the rest of the season (barring a trade), as his contract has officially become fully guaranteed. In a move that was to be expected given his age and how well he’s performed, the Lakers have also fully guaranteed rookie Austin Reaves’ deal that was signed as a partial deal just prior to the regular season starting. The Lakers hold a team option for Reaves next year.
The news was initially reported by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Avery Bradley’s and Austin Reaves’ Lakers contracts for this season will become fully guaranteed at 2 p.m. PT and they will remain with the team, league sources told ESPN
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 7, 2022
Avery Bradley wasn’t as sure of a decision as Reaves. Bradley signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors during the summer that would become fully guaranteed if he was still on a roster past January 7th. He was cut before the season but because the Lakers signed him off waivers, his contract remained the same for the purple and gold.
In the time since, Bradley has once again become a trusted presence for head coach Frank Vogel, averaging 23.8 minutes in 31 contests, including 26 as a starter. While mostly known for his defensive contributions, Bradley’s nearly 40-percent shooting from behind the arc has become a major weapon for the Lakers’ offense of late.
The Lakers recently traded away point guard Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a move that opened up a roster spot, presumably to be taken by Stanley Johnson after the completion of two 10-day contracts. That transaction was perhaps a precursor to keeping Bradley on the roster past his guarantee date. The team is reportedly seeking trades for DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore that could add further roster flexibility.
Bradley’s role on a fully healthy Lakers team is still unknown. Kendrick Nunn is seemingly nearing a return and Vogel has been clear that he expects the summer signing to play heavy minutes. With Austin Reaves and Malik Monk also becoming fixtures of the rotation in the guard spots, Bradley could see diminishing minutes despite his improved play.
Still, it’s clear that the Lakers and Vogel, in particular, value what he can bring to the team, even in a role as an emergency option.