Avery Bradley

Lakers Notes: Bradley, James, Pelinka

Avery Bradley will be re-evaluated next Friday after the Lakers return from their road trip, Brett Dawson of The Athletic tweets. Bradley, who signed a two-year deal this offseason, is dealing with a leg injury and appears to be leaning toward the end of the one-to-two week timeline announced last Friday.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • There have been grumblings from agents that they could not get players on the Lakers without LeBron James‘ approval, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes. GM Rob Pelinka has admitted that he consulted James when making acquisitions this offseason.
  • James, Pelinka and Anthony Davis have a group chat and Mannix adds that roster moves have been a regular topic in the forum. “I think we’re always open to listening to the player’s voice,” said Pelinka. “But I do think as a principal with the Lakers, we do want the GM and the front office to be building rosters, and the coaches to doing the strategy. And I think it’s important to empower people to do their job in their lane and not to be meddlesome. So we definitely stay away from that.”
  • The key to coaching James? Be as prepared as he is, Mannix writes in the same piece. Former teammate Richard Jefferson told the scribe that LBJ will know if you are not prepared. “Is he easy to coach? No,” Jefferson said. “Was Kobe Bryant the best teammate? No. But guys like that, their job is not to be easy to coach or be the best teammate. Their job is to go out there and be competitive. A great player will challenge a coach.”

Avery Bradley Out At Least 1-2 Weeks With Leg Injury

The Lakers will be without Avery Bradley for at least a few games. The team announced today in a press release that an MRI on Bradley’s injured right leg revealed a hairline fracture in a non-weight bearing bone. He’ll be re-evaluated in one or two weeks, according to the club.

Bradley initially suffered this injury on November 3 in San Antonio, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), who says an X-ray at the time revealed no fracture. Since the leg was still bothering him, the team conducted a follow-up MRI this week, which showed the hairline fracture.

Outside of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, Bradley has been the Lakers’ most-used player this season, averaging 27.4 minutes per contest. The veteran guard has averaged 9.6 PPG on 48.8% shooting and has typically guarded top opposing perimeter scorers.

The Lakers will host Sacramento tonight before facing Atlanta on Sunday and Oklahoma City on Tuesday and again on Friday. Assuming Bradley’s absence extends beyond to two weeks, he’d also miss games in Memphis (November 23), San Antonio (Nov. 25), and New Orleans (Nov. 27).

With Bradley out of their lineup, the Lakers figure to lean more heavily on the likes of Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, and Troy Daniels, among others.

Grizzlies Notes: Bradley, Oubre, Morant, Melton

Avery Bradley only played 14 games with the Grizzlies, but he tells David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal that short stretch in Memphis helped him revitalize his career. Bradley re-emerged as a scorer after the Clippers shipped him to the Grizzlies at February’s trade deadline. He increased his average from 8.2 PPG in L.A. to 16.1 in Memphis and credits the freedom offered by then-coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

“J.B. gave me an opportunity to go out there and play my game,” Bradley said. “I’m thankful for that, I’m thankful for the city of Memphis. It’s home for me. My family is from Memphis and Mississippi. I’m going to miss it. It’s going to be nice when I come back and we play them there.”

The Grizzlies parted with Bradley in a cost-cutting move, waiving him in July and paying a $2MM guarantee instead of his $12.96MM salary. He signed with the Lakers a few days later for $4.8MM.

“Things were just unfortunate,” Bradley said of the end of his stay in Memphis. “There were a lot of changes. My time there was special.”

There’s more from Memphis:

  • Confusion shut down the Grizzlies’ attempts to trade for Kelly Oubre last season, and the roster would look much different now if that deal had gone through, Cobb notes in a mailbag column. Memphis believed it was parting with Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks, while the Wizards were expecting to receive Dillon Brooks. Washington wound up moving Oubre to Phoenix, where he has played well. But Cobb notes that if the Grizzlies had taken on his $15MM salary, they probably couldn’t have made room for Andre Iguodala in a deal that landed them a future first-round pick from the Warriors.
  • The Grizzlies are thrilled with the start by first-round pick Ja Morant, whose 70 points are the most in four games by any rookie in team history, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. In addition to his obvious athleticism, Morant has impressed coaches with how quickly he has adapted to the NBA game. “He’s got great chemistry with his teammates,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “His IQ is kind of helping him navigate day in and day out, game after game after game and the sky’s the limit for the guy.”
  • De’Anthony Melton considers his rookie year with the Suns to be a “learning experience” about life in the NBA (video link from The Arizona Republic). After playing 50 games and starting 31 in his first season, Melton was sent to Memphis in July in a four-player deal. It marked the second time he had been traded, after being dealt from Houston to Phoenix before playing his first game. “I’m not worried about one year; I’m worried about 10 years, 15 years,” Melton said. “People have had crazier stories.”

Lakers Notes: Howard, McGee, PGs, Kuzma

When Dwight Howard signed with the Lakers in August, he pledged to come to camp with an adjusted mindset. After pushing for increased touches and a prominent role during his previous stops, Howard said he had been humbled by his recent struggles and would come to Los Angeles ready and willing to play whatever role was asked of him.

While it’s still early, it sounds like Howard has delivered on that promise so far. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes, head coach Frank Vogel praised the three-time Defensive Player of the Year this week as the Lakers went through their first few days of training camp.

“Dwight Howard has been all business since he came in this time around,” Vogel said. “We’re asking our whole group to have a seriousness about ourselves. He’s been an all-business type of guy. It’s really helped us to be focused and working on the task at hand.”

Howard is on a non-guaranteed contract, but the Lakers only have 14 players with guaranteed salaries, so the big man is the top candidate to slide into the club’s 15th and final roster spot to start the season.  Based on his performance so far in camp, there’s no reason to think that he won’t claim and hang onto that final roster spot.

“Dwight has it on his mind that he wants to help this team win,” teammate Anthony Davis said. “And whatever that entails, he’s going to do it.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Howard isn’t the only veteran Lakers center who has made a good impression so far in camp. According to McMenamin, Vogel also lauded the work of JaVale McGee, who re-signed with the club in July. “JaVale’s performing at a really high level,” the head coach said.
  • It’s not yet clear who will start at point guard for the Lakers, as Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley offer different skill sets and both saw time with the first team early in camp, per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. As Trudell notes, Bradley’s ability to play off the ball could make him a good fit next to LeBron James, though the team could turn to Rondo if it wants more play-making on the court.
  • Of course, Rondo and Bradley won’t be the only players competing for minutes at the point guard spot. Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register takes a closer look at Alex Caruso, who will be pushing for a regular rotation role after re-signing with the Lakers in the offseason.
  • Kyle Kuzma is still a year away from being able to sign a rookie scale extension, but he has inked another long-term deal that will secure him a nice payday. According to Nick DePaula of ESPN.com, Kuzma signed a five-year footwear and apparel endorsement contract with Puma which is expected to be worth north of $20MM.

L.A. Notes: Leonard, L. Williams, LeBron, Bradley

Kawhi Leonard understands that he has an opportunity to make history by leading a third team to an NBA title, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Robert Horry and John Salley both won rings with three franchises, but neither played a starring role like Leonard did in San Antonio and Toronto. He’s a team leader now for the Clippers and has a chance to bring a championship to the city where he grew up.

“That would be a great accomplishment,” Leonard said. “That feat would be something to talk about once I’m done playing, and being able to do that in my hometown would be amazing. Growing up, [Staples Center] was one of the first NBA arenas I ever went to. So to do all of that here would be special. But we have work to do first.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The addition of Leonard and Paul George will mean a reduced role for Lou Williams, but the three-time Sixth Man of the Year is ready to adapt to whatever is necessary, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Even though he came off the bench, Williams often ran the offense and served as the top scorer late in games. Having two stars on hand means those duties will now be shared. “At the end of the day, I am a sixth man, I am a backup,” Williams said. “No matter how much you dress it up, no matter how much history I’ve made, no matter how many special things I’ve done off the bench, I’m still a backup and I understand that to the core of me.”
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers tells Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times that he briefly quit the team in 2013 after former owner Donald Sterling vetoed the signing of J.J. Redick. The incident happened less than a week after Rivers was hired, and he changed his mind when Sterling relented the next day.
  • LeBron James is ready to prove he’s still among the league’s elite players after the longest offseason of his career, Vardon writes in a separate story. LeBron’s summer included shooting “Space Jam,” working on his game and spending time with family and friends, but for the first time in 13 years it didn’t include the playoffs.
  • Avery Bradley has quickly emerged as the Lakers‘ most feared defender, observes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Bradley is glad to be back in Los Angeles after ending last season with the Grizzlies“This is a whole new opportunity for me to prove myself each and every night,” he said. “There’s no bigger stage than this. Each and every night, every opportunity I get I’m going to try to prove, to show the world I’m the best perimeter defender in the NBA.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Suns, Bradley, Gabriel

New Lakers guard Danny Green was forced to wait some extra time before deciding where to sign in free agency, with the 32-year-old explaining how difficult of a process that was after leaving the city of Toronto for Los Angeles.

Green, a veteran three-and-D player, wanted to see if teammate Kawhi Leonard would re-sign with Toronto before making his own decision. However, Leonard’s situation took several days to finalize, leaving Green, his agent Joe Branch, and multiple NBA teams out of the loop.

“Those five days [in free agency] seemed like five months,” Green said, as relayed by Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. “And each day that went by, I checked in with ‘Whi and I’m like, ‘Yo, what’s going on with your meeting?’ ‘I have a meeting tomorrow.’ So, [it was] like, ‘Tomorrow? So I have to wait another day?’ You think a day, it goes by pretty fast but the way it was happening, the way I was talking to him, you would think it was a week. Like, ‘I got to wait another day, dude? Like, come on!’”

Leonard ultimately convinced the Clippers to trade for Thunder star Paul George, sealing the deal for him to sign with the team. As a result, Green informed interested teams such as the Clippers, Mavericks and Raptors that he would be joining the Lakers.

“So you go to the next-best team you think in the league is and that was here,” Green said of signing with the Lakers. “Just with the foundation, they only had three players on the roster at the time, but those three players are pretty damn good and you know with those three you can build something special.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division today:

  • The Suns quietly made some constructive roster moves this offseason, Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix was able to sign free agent point guard Ricky Rubio, re-sign forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and draft the likes of Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome.
  • Avery Bradley will have something to prove in his first season with the Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. “My goal is to come here and give myself a chance to show what I can do,” Bradley said. “I feel like it’s been a rough couple of years for me obviously with trades, (never) being in one place a long period of time and then going through that. It’s been hard on me and my family, but I feel like this is going to give me some stability and give me the opportunity to go out there and really show what I can do on both sides of the floor.”
  • Kings two-way forward Wenyen Gabriel is starting to show the organization more to his game, as written by Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Gabriel averaged 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and two blocks in four summer league games. “I’m trying to keep it simple here in summer league and show that I can complement the team,” Gabriel said. “So I’m out there trying to show my defensive ability and my switching ability and also my ability to shoot the ball as well.”

Lakers Sign Avery Bradley

11:09pm: The Lakers have officially signed Bradley, the team announced tonight (via Twitter).

12:00pm: Once he clears waivers later today after being released by the Grizzlies, veteran guard Avery Bradley intends to sign a two-year, $9.7MM contract with the Lakers, agent Bill Duffy tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Los Angeles still has its full $4.8MM room exception available, so Bradley will slot into that exception now that the club has used all of its cap room. The second year of his new deal will be a player option, Wojnarowski notes.

Bradley, 28, has bounced around the league since spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career in Boston. The Celtics traded him to the Pistons during the 2017 offseason, but he was subsequently flipped to the Clippers and then the Grizzlies.

Despite the constant movement, Bradley finished strong in 2018/19, averaging 16.1 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.1 RPG with a .463/.384/.920 shooting line in 14 games (31.6 MPG) for Memphis. The combo guard is also considered a strong perimeter defender.

However, his $12.96MM salary for 2019/20 was only partially guaranteed for $2MM, and the rebuilding Grizzlies decided to create some extra cap flexibility by releasing him on Saturday and avoiding that guarantee. As cap guru Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Memphis will also get to set off $1.66MM of that $2MM as a result of Bradley’s new deal with Los Angeles.

Bradley will slot into a Lakers backcourt that features Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook at the point, with Danny Green, Troy Daniels, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope among those who could see time at the two. Alex Caruso will also be in the mix.

By my count, the Lakers now have 13 players lined up for their regular-season roster, plus unsigned second-rounder Talen Horton-Tucker, who figures to occupy one of the final two roster spots. If the club adds a 15th man via free agency, he’ll have to sign a minimum-salary contract. Zach Norvell Jr. and a second two-way player will also factor into the equation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies Release Avery Bradley

The Grizzlies have waived guard Avery Bradley, according to the NBA’s Transactions Log. Bradley had just a $2MM guarantee on his $12.96MM salary for next season if was was let go before July 8, according to Basketball Insiders. The guarantee date was originally July 3, but Bradley agreed to move it last week.

Unloading Bradley’s contract provides more flexibility for Memphis to match a potential offer sheet for restricted free agent guard Delon Wright. The Grizzlies have about $123MM on their books, including Wright’s $7.6MM cap hold, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Once considered one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders as well as a potent scorer, Bradley’s game has slipped since the Celtics traded him to the Pistons in 2017. However, he looked like his old self during his brief stay in Memphis, averaging 16.1 PPG in 14 games. Still only 28, Bradley should garner interest from several contending teams on the open market.

Wizards Trade Dwight Howard To Grizzlies

JULY 6: The trade is now official, with both teams announcing it in press releases“C.J. is respected around the league for his defense, three-point shooting and leadership,” Wizards Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Tommy Sheppard said. “All of those qualities appealed to us in making this deal and we look forward to him making a positive impact on our team.” 

JULY 5: The Wizards are trading center Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Memphis plans to waive Howard or forward him to another team, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Washington will receive swingman C.J. Miles in the deal, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets.

The Grizzlies will shave $3.13MM off their team salary by dealing Miles, who is due $8.73MM next season. Howard has one year and $5.6MM left on his contract.

Additionally, Memphis has waived shooting guard Avery Bradley, Aldridge reports in another tweet. Bradley had a $12.96MM salary for next season but only $2MM was guaranteed. This gives Memphis even more flexibility to make moves, as Aldridge notes.

Bradley is a former client of current Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, which may impact his decision as a free agent, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (Twitter link).

Howard opted in for the second year of his contract with the Wizards, who had no interest in keeping the former All-Star on the roster.

Howard, who spent his previous three seasons with three different teams in Houston, Atlanta, and Charlotte, was a complete washout last season. Having used the full taxpayer mid-level exception to sign him, Washington viewed Howard as its major offseason addition, but he only appeared in nine games. Spinal surgery and a hamstring injury during his rehab resulted in a lost season for the 33-year-old Howard.

Miles’ situation was similar. He opted in to his contract but the Grizzlies had little use for the three-point specialist with a hefty salary on a rebuilding squad.

Miles is recovering from a stress reaction in his left foot. The 14-year veteran, who started last season with the Raptors, was sent to the Grizzlies as part of the package for Marc Gasol in February. In total, Miles appeared in 53 games (16.2 MPG) for Memphis and Toronto, averaging just 6.4 PPG on .360/.330/.828 shooting.

Memphis had until July 8 to fully guarantee Bradley’s salary. He appeared in 63 games last season with the Clippers and Grizzlies, averaging 9,9 PPG and 2.4 APG in 30.2 MPG. Without Bradley on their roster, the Grizzlies are in much better position to match an offer sheet for restricted free agent Delon Wright without going into tax territory.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Green, Grizzlies, Ingram

On the latest episode of his “Inside the Green Room” podcast, free agent shooting guard Danny Green confirmed that the Clippers, Lakers, and especially the Mavericks are among the teams trying to pry him away from the Raptors.

“I’ve known [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban and [head coach] Rick Carlisle for a long time. They have a really good interest in me,” Green said (link via SportsDayDFW.com). “I like what they have to offer. They’re coming on strong. Mark Cuban is a strong bidder. He’s putting the pressure on me to make a decision soon.”

The Mavericks could have up to about 23MM in cap room available, so it makes sense that they’d want a decision from Green soon, with the July moratorium set to end on Saturday. That cap room could be used on other targets, including perhaps restricted free agent Delon Wright.

When he reported on Thursday that the Mavericks were planning on offer sheet for Wright, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News said it wouldn’t affect the team’s pursuit of Green. Today, Townsend clarifies (via Twitter) that’s because the Mavs hope to have an answer from Green by the time the moratorium ends at noon on Saturday, so they should have an idea of how much cap space they’d have left for Wright at that point.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), Jonas Valanciunas explained why he agreed to terms quickly with a retooling Grizzlies team on a three-year, $45MM deal after free agency opened. “I wanted to settle down in one place for a longer time,” Valanciunas said. “[The] Grizzlies had hopes on me and I’m happy to be part of this. We’re young, we’re rebuilding, but we have high aims. It’s interesting to see how we’re gonna look among the other teams.”
  • Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian takes stock of where the Grizzlies‘ offseason stands, closing the book on the Chandler Parsons era, breaking down the roster situation, and suggesting that the club appears unlikely to guarantee Avery Bradley‘s $12.96MM salary for 2019/20. Bradley’s contract would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 8.
  • Will Guillory of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at how Brandon Ingram might fit into the Pelicans‘ short- and long-term plans after the team made deals to add J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors to its roster this week.