The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to Orlando on Thursday, July 9, as part of the third and final group of teams making their way to the Disney World bubble for the NBA‘s plan to resume the 2019-20 season. They’ll make that trip without Avery Bradley, however, who decided to not participate in the restart plan.
Citing concerns about health and safety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and a desire to continue fighting for social justice, the veteran guard is one of a number of players, including Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo and Davis Bertans, who will be sitting out. But even if Bradley won’t be with them on the floor the rest of the way, the Lakers plan to honor Bradley’s contributions to the team’s success with a championship ring if they win it all, he told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.
“Yes, [Lakers 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.”
While that’s a nice gesture, it isn’t exactly much of a surprise. Sure, he won’t be there for the playoffs, but he was a key part of their team all season long, and it’s not like he left the team. Injured players still get championship rings, so why wouldn’t Bradley?
The more interesting note is that Bradley doesn’t seem to really care, and may not even accept it.
“Will I accept the ring? I’m neither here nor there about it,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports. “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 that’s not the answer you may have expected to hear, it honestly sounds like a pretty healthy mindset. Whatever happens, it sure seems like Bradley is at complete peace with his decision to not enter the bubble.
As for the Lakers, they are the betting favorites — at +240 courtesy of William Hill — to take home the title heading into Orlando, but they still have plenty of work to do before Bradley will have to worry about whether or not he’d take a ring.