On Sunday, the same day the Los Angeles Lakers traded Danny Green and the No. 28 pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schröder, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Avery Bradley will likely opt out of the final year of his contract and enter unrestricted free agency.
If that holds true and Bradley does test free agency this fall, there will be a handful of teams fighting for his signature, including the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Yahoo Sources: Potential free agent Avery Bradley to be courted by Golden State, Milwaukee and several contenders in attempt to lure him away from the Los Angeles Lakers.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 16, 2020
The Bucks expressing interest in Bradley is definitely notable, but it’s not the least bit surprising. According to a report by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on Sunday, the Bucks were one of the teams that pursued Schröder before the Lakers and Thunder agreed to terms. The Bucks have also made their starting point guard Eric Bledsoe available in trade talks, according to the same report.
Add that to the fact that Wesley Matthews will reportedly opt out of his contract with Milwaukee and test free agency, and Bradley makes a lot of sense for the Bucks. He also makes sense for the Warriors, who haven’t had a reliable backup point guard since Shaun Livingston, and Quinn Cook left. But Bradley makes sense for a lot teams.
The question is: is Bradley a better fit with those teams than he is with the Lakers? Or, better yet: does Bradley think he’s a better fit with those teams than is with the Lakers?
Bradley was the unquestioned starting point guard during the regular season (at least to Frank Vogel), but when he decided to sit out of the NBA’s restart in Orlando for personal reasons, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seamlessly slid into that role. If Caldwell-Pope and Bradley are both on the roster, it’s not crazy to think Caldwell-Pope will keep his spot in the starting lineup, especially if the Lakers are paying him eight figures.
Bradley could start alongside Caldwell-Pope, but it’s telling that the Lakers have already been linked to another starting-caliber guard in Matthews. Even though Bradley hasn’t technically opted out, the Lakers are certainly acting like a team that’s ready to move on from him.