Avery Bradley hasn’t made up his mind about a ring if the Lakers win it all.
That isn’t exactly breaking news; it was already reported that the 10th-year shooting guard would be opting out of the NBA restart at Walt Disney Resort in order to prioritize the safety and health of his family. Bradley’s 6-year-old son, Liam, has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses, meaning it was unlikely he’d be medically cleared to enter the bubble.
However, even without Bradley, the Lakers still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and they’re adding NBA veteran J.R. Smith to replace their starting 2-guard. That means they’re still very much in the title picture, and according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Lakers plan to reward him with a championship ring if they go on to win it all.
“Yes, [general manager] Rob Pelinka made me aware of the Lakers offering me a ring if they win the championship,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports via phone Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very kind gesture on their part.”
However, Bradley is currently undecided about whether he would accept such a gesture, even after being a starter in 44 of the 49 games he appeared in for Los Angeles this season.
“Will I accept the ring? I’m neither here nor there about it. I am 10 years in this league. The physical possession of a ring doesn’t make me feel like more or less of a person. I play basketball strictly for enjoyment and to add to the support of my family. Supporting them is exactly what I’m doing right now.”
While Bradley said he does not regret skipping Orlando by any means and is most likely the type of competitor who’d want to earn a championship ring by actually being part of the Lakers’ postseason run, it would be pretty shortsighted to reject such an offer.
While the L.A. guard deserves praise for having his priorities in the right place and enjoying basketball for the game itself, there have been hundreds of NBA veterans who worked hard for so many years and never got a ring. The point of being part of a team is to support one’s teammates through their highs and lows — exactly what Bradley is doing by rooting for the Lakers despite skipping Orlando, and exactly what the Lakers are doing in return by offering him a ring, even if he doesn’t play in the postseason.
Turning down a ring after 10 years in the league — especially after he was such a significant contributor to the Lakers’ standing as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference — would be an unfortunate rejection of the role he played on a title contender, the sweat he’s left on the floor for this team and the incredible journey his career has taken. Avery Bradley may have his mind set on other, more important things right now, but hopefully he decides to accept such an offer if the day ever comes.