The Los Angeles Lakers will guarantee Avery Bradley and Austin Reaves’ contracts for the remainder of the season, locking in their roster at the maximum of 15 players (at least for as long as Stanley Johnson is on his current 10-day contract).
Dave McMenamin of ESPN broke the news:
Avery Bradley’s and Austin Reaves’ Lakers contracts for this season will become fully guaranteed at 2 p.m. PT and they will remain with the team, league sources told ESPN— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 7, 2022
There was never any real chance the Lakers were going to cut Reaves given how much he’s impressed as an undrafted rookie, but Bradley’s second stint with the Lakers has had its ups and downs. Claimed off of waivers the day before the start of the regular season, Bradley debuted in the team’s home-opener and nearly helped the Lakers to a comeback against the Warriors.
From there, he remained in the rotation throughout the season, despite struggling for large portions of it. But even during those struggles, head coach Frank Vogel remained resolute in his belief of Bradley as a core part of the team.
That belief began to look more valid as the Lakers switched to their small ball lineups and rotation, leading to Bradley playing his best stretch of games this season. And it couldn’t have come at a better time in the weeks and days leading up to his contract guarantee date, forcing the Lakers into a tough decision.
The unexpected trade of Rajon Rondo to Cleveland likely helped Bradley’s case as the Lakers gained flexibility and an open roster space that many assumed would only come by waiving Bradley and his non-guaranteed deal.
But it seems the strong play from Bradley as the Lakers have gone small, coupled with his familiarity with the team’s system under Vogel, Anthony Davis and LeBron James was enough to convince the front office to keep him around moving forward. On a Lakers team full of guards, Bradley is one of the few that can provide value on the defensive end, and will have a role in that regard at the very least for the remainder of the season.
This developing story may be updated as more information becomes available. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.