NBA free agency is about to begin, and when it does, it sounds like there is at least a decent chance that the Lakers could get to bring back two of their own free agents in Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley once it opens.
Bradley opted out of his $5 million player option on Thursday, while Howard had his one-year deal come to an end, and both are unrestricted free agents. Howard has said he wants to re-sign with the Lakers but wants to get paid more, while Bradley reportedly feels similarly.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be first in line to speak with two of their free agents Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley when free agency opens, league sources told HoopsHype. Both players are also expected to draw interest from several contenders as well. Howard has reportedly been linked to the Golden State Warriors, and Bradley has been linked to the Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks thus far.
In Bradley’s case, that matches up with what Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported on “The Jump” on Friday afternoon:
“I’m told (Bradley) wants to stay in L.A., he has other offers but if they offer him a two-year deal he would be inclined to stay. In other words, the Lakers have first dibs on him.”
All of this tracks. The Lakers have made it clear to Howard that they really want him back, and there have also been reports that the market for him may not be as robust as some thought it could be. For Bradley, this is clearly about just wanting more long-term security, and if the Lakers can offer that to him, it sounds like he’ll be back as well. None of this is set in stone until agreements are reached, obviously, but it seems entirely possible that these two could be headed back to the defending champs shortly after free agency opens this afternoon.