While the Los Angeles Lakers started free agency off with a bang by adding some top players, they’ve also been losing some key contributors. Dwight Howard’s gone and Rajon Rondo recently announced he’s not returning. Now it looks like Avery Bradley is on the move.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Bradley has agreed to a two-year deal with the Miami Heat for $11.6 million.
Apparently, he likes the Heat’s culture and was recruited by Jimmy Butler.
The Lakers just beat the Heat in the NBA Finals in October but Bradley wasn’t part of the series as he sat out of the NBA bubble. Miami will be getting one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA who is also a capable 3-point shooter. He will certainly help the Heat who should have a much harder time winning the Eastern Conference with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets getting better this offseason.
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Bradley Reportedly Did Have Interest in Staying With Lakers
Rondo leaving was expected and Howard signing elsewhere isn’t too much of a blow. However, the team likely would’ve wanted to keep Bradley. He started most regular-season games for the Lakers last season and was an important member of the team. Per Ramona Shelburne, it looked like there was mutual interest between the two sides to work out a deal.
“I’m told [Bradley] wants to stay in L.A., he has other offers but if they offer him a two-year deal he would be inclined to stay,” Shelburne said recently, via Silver Screen & Roll. “In other words, the Lakers have first dibs on him.”
Despite the fact that he apparently wanted to stay in Los Angeles, he was lured away. A fresh start might be good for Bradley. The fact that he sat out of the NBA bubble was always going to make it slightly weird when he returned. Plus, with the additions of Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder, the need for Bradley was certainly lessened. However, they are going to miss his defense. As of now, they haven’t found a replacement for the defensive output they’re losing from Bradley.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Getting Interest
With Bradley, Howard and Rondo all gone, that leaves one more high-priority free agent for the Lakers who could still leave. It appears that the team will make every effort to retain Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but he doesn’t plan on making it easy for them. Thanks to his strong performance in the NBA Finals, he should be a hot commodity.
The thought has generally been that he plans to stay in Los Angeles but a lot can still happen. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the New York Knicks are interested in Caldwell-Pope.
The Knicks can probably offer the guard more money but he’d be essentially giving up any dream of winning another championship within the next few years. The Lakers still seem like the most likely outcome for Caldwell-Pope but stranger things have happened during an NBA offseason.