After being cut right before the season by the Golden State Warriors, Avery Bradley rejoined the Lakers to fill the 15th spot. The team had originally planned to leave the 15th spot vacant as we entered the season, but injuries to Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, and Talen Horton-Tucker forced the team’s hand with depth, and Rob Pelinka signed Bradley because of his familiar with the team.
During the Lakers’ title run in 2020, Bradley was an integral part of the rotation as he was tasked with guarding the elite guards in the league, like the Steph Currys and Damian Lillards. After the pandemic hit and the season resumed in the bubble, Bradley made the choice to opt out because of some personal issues he had to deal with.
In a revealing interview with The Athletic’s Bill Oram, Bradley was candid for the first time about his thought process of not joining the team in Orlando.
“When Bradley opted out of the bubble, news reports said only that Bradley’s son had a history of respiratory illness. They said nothing about the weeks spent at Liam’s bedside, of the pain they felt watching their baby boy suffer, the fear that it could happen again.
The coronavirus targets the lungs and causes some people to contract pneumonia. For the Bradleys, that was terrifying.
‘We just didn’t know anything about the virus,’ Bradley said. ‘Of course, we were just as nervous as everyone else.’”
At that point in time none of us really knew how we could contract coronavirus or really any details about it, so Bradley had to make the family decision and just stop playing and take care of his family, specifically his infant son.
Bradley and his family rented an RV with his entire family and drove 25 straight hours from Los Angeles back to his home in Austin, Texas.
During the bubble, the NBA did not have a reentry plan for players who originally opted out of playing in the bubble and wanted to return. After Bradley saw that the NBA was having zero cases within the Orlando bubble, he actually wanted to return.
“If the NBA made a rule to where we could have come later, which I wish they did. I would have come once I felt comfortable enough seeing the bubble doing well.”
Hopefully, this time around, Bradley can contribute the entire season, especially in the playoffs, and help the Lakers win their 18th title.