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As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon sees it, Houston is not expected to pick up the $5.9-million team option on the contract of veteran guard Avery Bradley for the 2021-22 season. “I do expect the Rockets to turn down his team option,” MacMahon predicted (13:20) during a new ESPN podcast.

Now 30 years old, Bradley averaged 5.2 points (31.4% FG, 27.0% on 3-pointers), 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 23.0 minutes per game with the Rockets. Known best for his perimeter defense, the 6-foot-2 guard was acquired with Kelly Olynyk as part of the late March trade that sent Victor Oladipo to Miami. If his team option is declined, Bradley would become an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason.

Bradley shot 47.0% overall and 42.1% on 3-pointers with the Heat, but he suffered a right calf strain in February and couldn’t recapture that earlier form. The injury caused him to miss games in Houston, as well.

There’s reason to believe that Bradley’s numbers could bounce back in 2021-22 alongside better health, but he may not be a fit with the Rockets for other reasons. Consider that in the weeks after acquiring Bradley, Houston general manager Rafael Stone reached agreements with two younger backcourt options in Khyri Thomas and Armoni Brooks — who would seem to be a better fit with the team’s rebuilding timeline.

Moreover, with Bradley set to turn 31 later this year, he may prefer to be on a title contender at this stage of his NBA career. Based on those considerations, it probably doesn’t make sense for a rebuilding team like Houston to use nearly $6 million next season on a veteran who might not want to be there and doesn’t have a clear path to rotation minutes.

The free agency period of the 2021 offseason doesn’t begin until early August, so Stone and the Rockets still have a few more weeks to finalize their plans regarding Bradley and any other free agents.


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