No one anticipated Avery Bradley would have a second stop in Los Angeles when the team opened training camp in September. Circumstances in the form of injuries for the Lakers and Bradley being waived by the Warriors led to the guard returning to Los Angeles to don the purple and gold for the second time in three years.
Predictably, and perhaps rightfully to a degree, Bradley became a beacon of criticism directed at both himself and head coach Frank Vogel. Among the warranted criticisms of Vogel, an inexplicable preference toward Bradley was one of the most candid and obvious.
Numbers and statistics never made a compelling case for him to play but it didn’t stop him from ending the season ranked seventh on the team in minutes played, finishing just barely behind Austin Reaves.
A lightning rod of criticism, Bradley heads into the offseason a free agent once again. During his exit interview, Bradley talked about the season and how injuries derailed their season. In his answer, he eventually discussed his own future with the team moving forward.
“So hopefully moving forward that’s what we’re able to build here with the Lakers,” Bradley said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be here, but I can say whoever is here I hope they can build that chemistry because that’s what kind of pushes you to be a great team in this league.”
Asked directly about his future with both the Lakers and the NBA as a whole, Bradley responded with uncertainty.
“I don’t know. Everything is in God’s hands, man,” Bradley said. “I’m following whatever He wants me to do. Because I’m not in control. I can’t control if I’m going to be here or anywhere else, so we’ll see. I’m going to follow whatever I’m supposed to do.”
There is a legitimate question as to whether Bradley will be in the NBA next season. He was barely in the NBA this season, signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Warriors who waived him. While this specific season would have likely led to him getting a deal with the COVID battles mid-season, in regular seasons, it’s fair to wonder if he would have gotten a deal.
Looking at the numbers, Bradley finished the season with a net rating of -5.8 in 1,406 minutes. The team was 4.3 points better per 100 possessions with him off the floor this season, and yet Bradley saw time in 62 of the team’s 82 games.
Bradley did have one of his best seasons shooting seasons, hitting 39% of his long-range efforts. He’s only had two seasons where he’s shot better in his career. That he shot that well and still was that ineffective overall shows just how poor a season it was for Bradley.
There is a joke to be made that so long as Vogel finds a job in the NBA next season as a head coach, Bradley will have a job but even then, it’s not a foregone conclusion. For the Lakers, a new head coach will have a new philosophy and only then will it be known if Bradley could be part of that.
But based off production this season — and seasons past — the end of Bradley’s Lakers and NBA career is in the near future.