The Story: The Detroit Pistons are placing guard Avery Bradley on the trade block, ESPN reported Monday.
The Importance: Bradley, a staple of the Celtics’ starting lineup for the past five seasons, may be on the move again after only 40 games with the Pistons.
The shooting guard is set to hit the free-agent market this summer and could potentially net a salary around $20 million, per ESPN. But the 27-year-old hasn’t helped his value this season. Bradley’s defensive plus-minus has declined, and the Pistons are better on defense when he’s on the bench. He’s also fallen off in nearly every offensive stat, gathering 3.7 fewer rebounds per game and shooting worse from both the field and the 3-point line. Bradley is a team-worst minus-5.0 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, and the Pistons are 8.5 points better when he isn’t playing.
There are also questions surrounding Bradley off the court. In December, a woman said Bradley had sexually assaulted her last May. Bradley denied the claim through an attorney.
It’s clear why Bradley is available, but it’s also fair to wonder if his regression is the result of no longer being in the Celtics’ system, or simply a product of an ill fit in Detroit — or, more likely, some combination of both. Either way, his Pistons “tenure” has hardly gone the way the team probably envisioned when it traded for him over the offseason. With Reggie Jackson out again, Detroit is now 22–26 after losing eight straight and 11 of its past 13.
The Takeaway: Bradley may not have worked out in Detroit, but imagine him somewhere where his offense isn’t essential.
The Thunder, after losing Andre Roberson to a season-ending knee injury last weekend, would make perfect sense. Bradley doesn’t have Roberson’s length, but he’s one of the few players who can come close to the OKC wing’s suffocating defense. And then there’s Cleveland, the second-worst defensive team in the league.
Whether he winds up in Thunderland or in LeBron’s shadow, Bradley is going to be expected to perform on defense in that same way that he did in green last season. The question is: Can he still do it?