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The Los Angeles Lakers may look a bit different when they hit the floor in Orlando, Florida, with guard Avery Bradley opting out and center Dwight Howard considering the same. That doesn’t mean they’re less likely to succeed.
In fact, starting center Anthony Davis believes L.A. has a greater chance of coming away with a championship this season after the hiatus, telling the Associated Press’ Greg Beacham the extra rest may put them over the top.
Bradley, whose roster spot was filled when the team decided to sign JR Smith, is taking precautions by staying home with his family, as one of his young children has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Lakers coach Frank Vogel, on a media call, said the club won’t seek a replacement for Howard if he opts out.
Howard is considering staying home following the death of the mother of one of his children in March to help take care of his kids.
Caesars Sportsbook has the Lakers at +180 (bet $100 to win $180) and the odds-on favorite to win the title when the league resumes play at the end of July.
Los Angeles was already considered a championship contender when the season first began and has done little to sway anyone’s opinion. The club entered the March 11 hiatus at 49-14—the second-best record in the league behind the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks.
By the time the Lakers tip off against the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30, it will have been 142 days since their last regular-season game—only a month shorter than the offseason following the 2018-19 campaign.
Davis believes that’s allowed his teammates to rest and get healthy as they prepare for an end-of-season sprint to the NBA Finals.
Between him and LeBron James, there is more than enough talent on the roster to make that happen. At this point, it’ll be more surprising if the Lakers don’t capture their 17th Larry O’Brien Trophy.
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