Avery Bradley has decided not to return when the NBA restarts its season in Orlando, Fla., next month. The Los Angeles Lakers guard has a son with respiratory issues who would most likely not be able to come to the “bubble.”
The Lakers are one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals, meaning Bradley could be away from his son, and possibly his family, for a long period. Bradley said that his family comes first, and he had no choice but to pick them over his team.
Bradley isn’t a star but has started 44 games this season for the Lakers. He averaged 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Bradley’s defense will be the biggest loss for the Lakers.
The rumor is that the team may look to sign J.R. Smith to replace Bradley in the backcourt. Smith and LeBron James were teammates in Cleveland when they won the championship in 2016.
Davis Bertans, a forward for the Washington Wizards, and Trevor Ariza, a forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, have also decided not to travel to Orlando when the season resumes. Bertans has a history of knee issues and will be a free agent.
Ariza is going to stay home to spend time with his son, who he has joint custody of. As of now, the Trail Blazers and Wizards have to play their way in as they are out of the playoff picture.
Williamson Ready To Lead Pelicans to Playoffs
The New Orleans Pelicans would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs were to start today. Zion Williamson was granted an exemption to workout at the team facility since he was rehabbing an injury.
Williamson will be in great shape and ready to go when the league play tips off July 29. Will Williamson be able to lift the Pelicans to the No. 8 spot in the West?
That question remains to be answered, but what we do know is that Williamson won’t have to work himself into playing shape. This is great news for the NBA. The play-in games that feature New Orleans will most likely be in primetime so that the league can take advantage of a surge in ratings thanks to Williamson.
The Pelicans sit 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies. If New Orleans can pull it off, a Lakers versus Pelicans series featuring LeBron and Zion would bring in huge numbers.
Free Agents Available
With some players choosing not to go to the bubble in Orlando, many free agents will need to be signed. There are several interesting names that could help a team advance besides the aforementioned Smith.
Tyler Johnson has reportedly already agreed to join the Nets. The name everyone is most familiar with is Isaiah Thomas. He showed signs of coming back with the Wizards before he was cut by the Clippers after being traded.
Thomas will end up with someone and could really be useful if someone gets injured or sick in the backcourt. If Demarcus Cousins decides to come back, he will draw attention from every team still playing in Orlando.