The Lakers will be without at least one key player when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. Avery Bradley, arguably the best perimeter defender on the team, has opted out of the NBA restart.
All Lakers fans around the world let out a huge “Fuck” when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news. I get it, the team is missing a key player that could be the difference in winning a title. But please do not slander Bradley for his decision.
Bradley told ESPN on Tuesday night that the primary reason for his decision was the health of his 6-year-old son Liam, who has a respiratory condition that makes him high risk if he were to contract COVID-19.
I have nothing but respect for Bradley to make that decision. His family’s health is far more important than basketball, it shouldn’t need to be said.
For the Lakers, who have supported Bradley’s decision, it remains business as usual. Immediately after the news broke, Wojnarowski broke some other news, stating that J.R. Smith has become the front runner to fill the vacant roster spot.
Smith makes sense fir the Lakers. He has a history and chemistry with LeBron James, and fills a team need. His wing defense isn’t close to Bradley’s but Smith’s 3 point shooting will always be welcomed.
However Smith isn’t the only veteran on the market.
Jamal Crawford’s name has been floating around the open market all season long. Last season he dropped 51 points against Dirk Nowitzki in his final game. Crawford will never be mistaken for a defensive player, but his veteran experience and playmaking ability could entice the Lakers.
Darren Collision, the early retired point guard who the Lakers wined and dined earlier in the year, remains retired. But if he was on the fence before hand, maybe a little extra push can get him back not he hardwood. He would be the best fit of all the open market guys, but appears to be the least likely to return.
Nobody will be able to produce the way Bradley was prior to the suspension of play, but the Lakers have a number of veteran options to fill the roster spot.