Lakers’ Avery Bradley to sit out NBA’s restart in Florida

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, left, drives against Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley has decided to sit out the NBA’s upcoming resumption of the season in Florida.

He told ESPN on Tuesday night that he wants to remain with his wife and three children, including a six-year-old son with a history of respiratory illnesses. By sitting out, Bradley figures to lose a projected $650,000 in salary.

Bradley averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds while starting 44 games before the season was shut down in March due to the coronavirus. The Lakers are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference heading into the 22-team restart.

“I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk,” Bradley told ESPN. “As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities.”

Bradley and Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving have been vocal leaders of a players’ coalition that has sought to keep a focus on social justice and racial equality issues.

Wojnarowski reported that veteran guard J.R. Smith is the “leading candidate” to take Bradley’s roster spot with the Lakers.

Smith, 34, hasn’t played in the NBA this season. He was a starter on the Cleveland Cavaliers team that won an NBA title in 2016.

With files from Sportsnet

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