The Los Angeles Lakers had planned to wait to fill their 15th roster spot until later in the season, but they didn’t even make it until opening night. May we all find someone who loves us as much as Rob Pelinka loves his former client Avery Bradley, who the Lakers just acquired fresh off of waivers (for a second time) after he was cut by the Golden State Warriors earlier this week.
Lakers officially announce the Avery Bradley acquisition pic.twitter.com/MgVf3f5wgr— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 18, 2021
Ironically, the team literally just thanked Bradley for his services a few days ago during a preseason game against the Warriors, giving him a tribute video for his single pre-bubble campaign with the team.
Bradley is the sixth returning Laker from the 2019-20 roster, joining LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo and Talen Horton-Tucker. He may not have joined the team for their title run in Disney World, but they’re still adding him as they try to get the band back together.
This move brings the Lakers’ roster to the in-season maximum of 15 players, but not 15 guaranteed contracts. Bradley’s deal is non-guaranteed, so the team can still cut him at any point before Jan. 8 without incurring any of the associated luxury taxes from his minimum contract:
Actually no, the Lakers can claim a player off waivers via the Gasol trade exception ($2.69m) but in this case, Avery is a non-guaranteed summer contract (an Exhibit 9 which is moot once the season starts) - his $ guarnatees Jan 10 (but needs to be waived by Jan 7, if cut) https://t.co/9HUUS7qDsD— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) October 18, 2021
Avery Bradley is on a non-guaranteed deal so I can see the Lakers waiving him once Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza get healthy. It would cost the Lakers $7M in combined payroll and luxury tax expenses if Bradley becomes guaranteed and finishes the season with them. https://t.co/TEQHiH7g9P— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) October 18, 2021
The Lakers have now filled all of their roster spots, including both of their two-way deals.
Bradley was not very good for the Warriors in the preseason — he scored 17 total points on 18 shots in 50 minutes over four games — but this is likely just an insurance addition more than a player the team necessarily expects to play a bunch of minutes. Bradley can give the Lakers another wing defender if Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza take a long time to recover from their respective surgeries, and give the team someone to soak up some minutes here and there until they come back.
Is Bradley good enough to do even that at this point? There are valid reasons to be skeptical, but this is an extremely low-risk gamble that at worst can help the team scout for their season opener on Tuesday against the Warriors.