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With Andre Roberson out for the season with an unfortunate injury, their defensive inefficiencies are going to be exposed. You’re losing the NBA Defensive Player of the Year front runner. So, you’re obviously going to find your way to other players to help stop the hole.

The first name that most Thunder fans jump to is Avery Bradley and on the surface it sounds great. He’s a solid two-way guard, albeit undersized to guard the three, and he’s a three-month rental. There is no long term commitment to a player who’s expected to garner around $20 million in a new deal.

There is reports of the Thunder being interested in Avery since his acquisition by the L.A. Clippers.

However, you avoid Bradley, not for his basketball issues, but for his off the court issues. Bradley is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Cleveland when the Boston Celtics were playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Though TMZ Sports is the first to report the allegations. Even the Washington Post admits they do deserve some credibility, though they have been wrong on lifestyle issues.

According to the TMZ report, Bradley entered into a non-disclosure agreement with the accuser, with negotiations reaching as high as $400,000.

“Mr. Bradley absolutely denies having engaged in wrongdoing whatsoever,” Wolf said. “The confidentiality agreement specifically refutes and denies the validity of all allegations of any wrongful conduct by Mr. Bradley. The sole purpose of the agreement was to protect the reputation and privacy of Mr. Bradley and his family.”

Bradley’s attorney, Brian Wolf of Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles, told TMZ that his client maintains his innocence.

In my opinion, when a said person enters into a settlement, it ties in their guilt. If there was innocence, there is no reason to pay of an accuser. The US Gymnastics paid Ali Raisman in a non-disclosure settlement after her accusations. Innocent until proven guilty? Sure, in a court of law. However, in the court of public opinion, when Bradley entered this agreement, he admits guilt and is paying hush hush money.

In this age of allegations of convictions of sexual assault, there should be no settlements of hush money. If you’re innocent, clearing your name should be the most important, not “protecting your name.”

This paragraph is most telling:

After the incident, the woman contacted Bradley and accused him of assaulting her. The two sides came together to work out a deal to keep her quiet and prevent her from releasing any video, photos or audio.

You look at Rodney Anderson who faced allegations but cleared his name through lie detector (I know their not admissible in court) but that and other information cleared his name. The NFL lineman, Carl Johnson, has fought his accuser in court and eventually she was charged with a plethora of things such as filing a false police report, etc. Bradley decided to pay this woman off.

The Thunder pride themselves on doing it the “Thunder way.” They care about their presentations and have dismissed players like DeAndre Liggins after being accused of beating his girlfriend with an xBox. Though, his release was after he was arrested. All charges were eventually dropped against Liggins after his girlfriend fled and never appeared in court.

If you trade for a player who has been accused of sexual assault, you’re telling everyone that only winning matters. Not how a player represents the organization. It’s telling how they could potentially do that but release Nate Robinson for his antics while he was still an okay basketball player.

Avoid a player within these allegations. Bradley is not the type of person the Thunder should want or need around the clubhouse. Sure, he could help the Thunder even win a championship.

What’s more important? Character or winning?

If the Thunder do successfully trade for him, we’ll know.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.