The Los Angeles Lakers have been a cohesive group all season long, but a number of players on the team find themselves at odds. Most of the team appears excited about playing basketball again. Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley have made it clear that they want to come back and many reports indicate that LeBron James has no intention of not playing. However, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley have made it known that they aren’t entirely sold on the idea of playing basketball right now.
In an interview with Caron Butler in honor of Juneteenth, Lakers veteran Danny Green made his stance on the issue very clear:
I think we can use the platform to our advantage and enhance it. I mean, I see both sides. But I think we can easily, and I think [with] social media and all the platforms we have and people watching us they’re going to be tuning in even more when we’re down there.
[The media has been] trying to get horse games on Zoom. They’re trying to follow everybody’s content, everybody’s Zoom, everybody’s podcast, everybody’s story and seeing who is doing what. When you have games that are going on, they don’t have to do that. They can just watch TV and see exactly what you’re talking about, see exactly what your passions are. There are going to be cameras all over Orlando, so they can see exactly what we want and what we’re trying to do. So I think it’s an advantage to us to get down there and use that platform to keep the movement alive. But either way we can take a stand, and that will speak volumes as well, but I don’t think we have a big enough platform to see how [it would work without playing].
Green’s comments echo what James reportedly thinks about the topic. There’s no doubt there will be a lot of eyes on the NBA if they do return in Orlando.
Green Has Words for Bradley
Though Bradley has been among the most outspoken advocates of focusing on social activism, he’s not very active on social media. Green believes that’s Bradley could be more effective in promoting messages if he plays in Orlando.
“Even if he doesn’t have a hell of a game, he’s still going to have to talk to the media. So after the game they actually hear from his voice, from his mouth himself how he feels about the protests, about the social injustice, about the movement. For guys that don’t have social media, or guys that don’t have a big following, it’s a better way for everybody to be there and be united. We also can have more meetings down there and take that and use that platform to our advantage to keep our foot on the gas and blow it up even bigger, if necessary, because if we’re all together it speaks to higher volumes than if we are separated in different parts of the country.”
Bradley has stated recently that he’s more concerned with actually helping make a change instead of talking about it. Just because he’s not on social media, doesn’t mean he’s not putting in work. However, Green believes messaging is important and it will be hard for Bradley to get the message out if nobody sees him.
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Green Wants His Teammates to Play
The Lakers have had excellent team chemistry all season and that could be comprised if they lose key contributors like Bradley and Howard. Green would prefer to have the whole team together for a potential title run:
I think it’s just important that we’re together. Obviously we’re going to need Avery Bradley, we’re going to need Dwight Howard to be playing for us to have a chance. But I think it’s important we stay healthy, and not just our team but the league. Everybody that’s in the league has to have a unified front on what we’re going to do and speak with one voice. But for our team individually, as a group, [the] Lakers, we need to be together, we need to be on the same page, we’ve got to stay healthy. I think we have some professional guys that are on top of it and staying in shape during this time. I think we’ll be a little ahead of the curve with that.
Like I said, the biggest thing is staying healthy and just building that chemistry back and surviving the bubble. That’s going to be different for a lot of teams, a lot of guys. So I think we have an advantage because we have so many veterans, we’ve been around for a while, we don’t need to be out. We have guys who can stay inside a bubble and still focus and stay locked in, and we know what’s at risk. It’s going to be interesting to see how other teams interact or react to what life in the bubble is going to be.
Bradley has been a key starter all year so not having him would be a big blow. Howard has been excellent and efficient off the bench even though he doesn’t play a lot of minutes. From a basketball standpoint, the Lakers definitely would like to have them back.