Avery Bradley

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Bradley, Bowman, Lee, Curry, Thompson

The Lakers aren’t close to dealing Kyle Kuzma and want a substantial package if they do move the high-scoring forward, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. The Kings are reportedly among the teams interested in acquiring Kuzma. The Lakers would likely ask for a quality rotation player, preferably a point guard, along with a first-round draft pick that projects to be in or around the lottery, Deveney continues. The Lakers would also consider two lesser first-round picks as part of a package for Kuzma, Deveney adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Avery Bradley suffered a right ankle sprain against Detroit on Sunday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays. X-rays were negative and it’s uncertain when Bradley will return to action. Bradley missed 13 games earlier this season due to a right leg injury and hasn’t played more than 63 regular-season games over the previous three seasons due to an assortment of ailments.
  • The Warriors will send Ky Bowman to the G League when D’Angelo Russell returns from a right shoulder contusion, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Bowman has six days remaining on his 45-day NBA allotment under the terms of a two-way contract. The team’s other two-way player, Damion Lee, has just two days remaining until he must remain in the G League or receive a standard contract. A roster spot is likely to be cleared for Lee at some point, Slater adds.
  • Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are getting antsy as they rehab from long-term injuries, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Thompson is working his way back from the knee injury he suffered during last season’s playoffs, while Curry is rehabbing from hand surgery. “In an ironic way, this has been probably a good chance for them to blow off some stream and whatever metaphor you want to use,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But that can only last for so long. They’re both dying to play. And we’re dying to have them back.”

Pacific Notes: Bradley, Horton-Tucker, Evans, Kokoskov

Lakers guard Avery Bradley has been cleared for full contact, the team’s PR department tweets. Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers, averaging 9.8 PPG, before suffering a lower right leg injury. He had a hairline fracture in a non-weight bearing bone. Bradley’s two-year, $9.8MM contract includes a $5MM player option.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker is trying to make the most of his G League appearances, he told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Horton-Tucker is averaging 11.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.2 APG in 11 games with the South Bay Lakers. “I understand that I’m probably not going to get minutes with the Lakers right now,” Horton-Tucker said. “I feel like the G League has been great. It helps us get our reps in and it helps our careers get started.”
  • Warriors guard Jacob Evans is available to play on Monday after missing 21 games with an adductor strain, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Evans appeared in three games this season prior to the injury, averaging 6.0 PPG in 14.3 MPG. The former Cincinnati standout had his 2020/21 option picked up by Golden State in late October.
  • Former Suns coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has no regrets about his draft input with Phoenix, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. “I will tell you that I sleep peacefully and peaceably,” Kokoskov said to Index regarding his recommendation for the Suns’ No. 1 overall pick in 2018. Kokoskov is believed to have wanted Luka Doncic, whom Kokoskov coached on the Slovenian National Team, but Suns owner Robert Sarver pushed for Deandre Ayton, Feldman adds.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Montrezl Harrell, Clippers, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The Rockets had no idea what they were giving up when they tossed Harrell into the Chris Paul blockbuster. Harrell doesn’t have a three-point shot but otherwise, he’s a terror. He was a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year last season and will be once again. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.2 APG despite starting just two of 22 games. Harrell will be a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent and the Clippers will be pushed into luxury tax territory if they want to retain him. It would be worth the cost.

Glenn Robinson III, Warriors, 25, SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.9MM deal in 2019
Robinson’s last season in Indiana was a washout due to an ankle injury. His one season in Detroit was a washout due to a lack of production. With an expanded role on a bad team, Robinson is upgrading his resume. He’s averaging 32.1 MPG as a starter and averaging 11.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.0 APG while making 38.9% of his 3-point tries. Stats compiled under these circumstances can be deceiving but Robinson has at least regained his confidence and shown he’s worthy of a rotation spot on most teams.

Avery Bradley, Lakers, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9.8MM deal in 2019
Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers this season, though he didn’t shoot well (28.6% from deep) playing alongside two of the league’s biggest stars. The big issue for Bradley in recent seasons has been staying on the court and once again, the injury bug has bitten him. He’s out at least another week with a lower leg issue. Bradley’s contract includes a $5MM player option and he needs to show he can stay healthy and productive for a long stretch in order to decline that option and test the free agent waters.

Aron Baynes, Suns, 32, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10.6MM deal in 2018
The popular Australian big man has gotten off to a terrific start in Phoenix with Deandre Ayton serving his 25-game league-imposed suspension. Baynes is averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.9 APG in 24.0 MPG through 13 games. He’s also turned into a solid three-point shooter (43.9%), adding a new element to his game. He’s been slowed recently by a calf injury but with a dearth of quality centers around the league, Baynes will get some multi-year offers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Harry Giles, Kings, 21, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $6.6MM deal in 2017
The 20th pick of the 2017 draft, Giles has battling injuries since entering the league. He didn’t make his NBA debut until last season, then appeared in 58 games off the bench. The Kings declined their fourth-year option on him prior to this season, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. He doesn’t have a rotation spot under new coach Luke Walton, averaging just 7.4 MPG in seven appearances this season. The same age as a college senior, Giles will get a second chance somewhere but his offers will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.