Lakers' Avery Bradley Opts out of NBA Season Restart Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Avery Bradley (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball gameagainst the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley has reportedly decided to forgo the 22-team resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando, Florida.  

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the health of Bradley's children—namely the health of his oldest son, Liam, who is six years old and "has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses"—served as the basis for his decision:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

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

Bradley released the following statement, per Wojnarowski:

"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 was the co-leader of a players coalition, alongside Kyrie Irving, that called for the NBA to contribute resources to organizations supporting the Black community, to make a commitment to hiring more Black coaches and executives and to increase partnerships with Black-owned businesses. 

The 29-year-old has also been an important player for the Lakers, averaging 8.6 points and 1.3 assists in 24.2 minutes per game, making 44 starts. He's shot 44.4 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three, and he's played solid on-ball defense on the perimeter. 

The Lakers have been 7.4 points per 100 possessions better than their opposition when he plays, per NBA.com, though spending many of his minutes with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup certainly helps. 

As for a potential replacement, Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that veteran free agent JR Smith has "emerged as a leading candidate" to replace Bradley on the team's roster in Orlando. 

The league's 22-team restart will include players being quarantined away from the general public at the Walt Disney World Resort. Games will be played without fans in attendance.