Avery Bradley Reportedly Declines $5M Lakers Contract Option, Will Become UFA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 01: Avery Bradley #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on March 01, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Avery Bradley declined his $5 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers for 2020-21, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes

Bradley's value on offense was limited with the Lakers by design.

According to Basketball Reference, his 15.7 percent usage rate was the lowest of his career, and 45.2 percent of his field-goal attempts were three-pointers. He was largely tasked with spacing the floor to allow for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to operate in the paint, and he succeeded by connecting on 36.4 percent of his long-range shots.

Bradley's impact on the defensive end was evident in how much the Lakers improved in that half of the floor. According to NBA.com, Los Angeles finished 13th in defensive rating (108.9) in 2018-19 and climbed to third (106.1) in 2019-20.

The 29-year-old isn't single-handedly responsible for that growth, with Green and head coach Frank Vogel making strong impressions in their first year with the team, but his contributions were significant.

The 10-year veteran was 13th among point guards in ESPN.com's defensive real plus-minus (plus-1.26). He also held opponents to a paltry 24.6 percent shooting on three-pointers, per NBA.com.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

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Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

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Given the tactical trends in the NBA, three-and-D guards are a highly valued commodity. Still, the league's financial climate makes Bradley's decision to opt out a little surprising.

However, the league's financial climate is in flux as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the salary cap is remaining the same ($109.1 million), restricting how much teams will have to spend.

Players such as the former Texas Longhorns star had a strong incentive to seeing out their contract so as to hit the market when things might return more to normal in 2021.

Based on his performance, Bradley must be confident he can get a short-term deal worth more than what his option would've paid him before returning to free agency and cashing in at a later date.