With the 2021-22 season set to begin on Tuesday night, teams are making their final roster decisions. It led the Golden State Warriors front office to make a move that went against star point guard Stephen Curry’s wishes. All that guided the Los Angeles Lakers to swoop in to snag veteran guard Avery Bradley off waivers.
Warriors waive Avery Bradley against Stephen Curry’s wish
With the 2021-22 season opener on Tuesday night, the Warriors made their final roster cuts.
Golden State elected to cut down the team size to 14 players after waiving veteran guard Avery Bradley. He inked a non-guaranteed roster spot before training camp.
The move occurred only a couple of weeks after the two-time league MVP spoke extremely highly of the 30-year-old while stating that he’s there to fill the team’s last roster spot.
“I’ve always called him a bulldog. Everybody asks, ‘who are some of the toughest defenders you’ve had?’ and he’s the first guy that comes to mind,” Curry said via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Just because he’s relentless. He’s physical; he’s quick. He’s got good awareness of not just on-ball defense, but team defense as well. He’s shown not only the skill set, but the commitment to it.”
According to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, the move came after some strong internal push from Curry and former All-Star forward Draymond Green as “strong advocates” to keep him. The 11-year veteran made a strong impression, but not enough to convince the front office to go against possessing an open 15th roster spot.
Despite that, it didn’t take long for Bradley to find a new NBA home in a familiar landing spot.
Lakers just stole away a proven veteran Stephen Curry desperately wanted the Warriors to keep
Bradley spent only a few hours on the open market before finding his next stop.
The Lakers swooped in to bring back the 30-year-old on a non-guaranteed deal to fill their final regular-season roster spot.
Bradley initially signed a two-year, $9.7 million deal with the Lakers in the summer of 2019. He played a pivotal part in the backcourt throughout the regular season. However, he elected not to participate in the Orlando Bubble due to health concerns and declined his $5 million player option for the 2020-21 season.
He chose to ink a deal to join the Miami Heat but then was moved to the Houston Rockets before last March’s trade deadline. He finished averaging 6.4 points on 37.4% shooting from the floor with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.3 minutes per contest.
The Lakers’ decision to bring him is due to the injuries to their backcourt. Talen Horton-Tucker will miss the next few weeks due to a torn ligament in his thumb. Meanwhile, Wayne Ellington is out for the season opener due to a hamstring issue, while Kendrick Nunn (ankle) and Malik Monk (groin) are listed as day-to-day.
Bradley can immediately step in as a contributor due to his previous experience playing in Frank Vogel’s system. As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype pointed out, his presence may wind up being temporary due to it potentially costing $7 million in payroll and luxury taxes expenses if his contract becomes guaranteed and he finishes the season in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles holds a major adjustment period ahead
Bradley’s familiarity with the Lakers‘ system will help, but the team holds plenty of challenges ahead.
The busy offseason saw the franchise putting together a primarily new group of talent. Los Angeles hopes their newly formed big three can anchor their push toward competing for an NBA title.
Vogel is tasked with finding the best lineup combinations to maximize the team’s potential. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook’s fit in the offensive system alongside LeBron James will play a huge factor in determining the franchise’s fate this season.
The Lakers will have their first test on Tuesday night against the Warriors that will provide early insight into the adjustment process.