The Los Angeles Lakers will be traveling to Orlando, FL without Avery Bradley, who has chosen to opt-out of playing the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Bradley will not be traveling with the Lakers to Disney World beginning on July 31 due to personal reasons now.
“At the forefront of Bradley’s decision to remain with his family is the well-being of his oldest child, his 6-year-old son, Liam. Bradley and his wife, Ashley, have three children,” Wojnarowski said about Bradley’s decision to ultimately sit out.
Without Bradley, the Lakers will be forced to alter their defensive schemes as he was usually tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player.
However, the Lakers cannot officially sign a player to fill Bradley’s roster spot until July 1 when the NBA’s replacement window officially opens for all 30 teams.
Until then, Bradley will take up a roster spot but the Lakers are free to have discussions with any current free agent that did not play professionally overseas.
According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers have their sights set on JR Smith.
“Free-agent guard JR Smith, out of the NBA for two years, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster for the season’s Orlando restart,” Wojnarowski said about Bradley’s replacement.
Smith worked out for the Lakers earlier in the season but vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka chose to sign Dion Waiters instead.
If Smith is signed, he would bring championship experience and more offensive firepower but would be a significant downgrade from Bradley on the defensive end.
Smith has not appeared in an NBA game since Nov. 19, 2018 and shot only 30.8 percent from the three-point line, which was the lowest since his rookie season.
However, Smith reportedly has been spotted working out with multiple Lakers — including LeBron James and Anthony Davis — and would hopefully be motivated to redeem his infamous 2018 NBA Finals mishap with the Cleveland Cavaliers.