#celtics and Avery Bradley unable to agree to framework of 4-year deal, according to source. he will be a restricted free agent next summer
— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) November 1, 2013
This is not at all unexpected news. Back in May, when I wrote the “What do we do with?” series, I wrote this about a possible Avery Bradley extension:
The Celtics may want to take advantage of a down year, regardless of whose fault it was, and try to lock Bradley up for a few years.
Of course, it takes two to do the extension tango, and Bradley’s agent isn’t necessarily going to just let his client take a huge hometown discount after the way Bradley’s playoffs ended. His agent knows Bradley’s value is higher along side Rondo, and that stats drive contract talks. As much as the C’s can point to this year’s postseason as the “well, his value might not be as high as we thought”… his agent can take a chance on a full season of Bradley at his natural position and say “let’s see what the market bears in restricted free agency.”
If I was Bradley’s agent, I’d advise him to wait, even if he desperately wants to stay on the C’s. Of course, it’s his call, but there’s a chance another team can up the bidding next season. Besides, Bradley can benefit from another year of working on his game, as well as the motivation to up his own value.
I’m not worried about Bradley leaving. Like I said in May, it’s possible he does, and it’s possible he gets traded (no one’s position is guaranteed on this team), but let’s not look at this as a sign.
From the Celtics perspective, they either (a) wanted to lock up Bradley long-term for short money or (b) keep as much flexibility as possible because you never know what potential deals might exist out there as the season moves along.
I love Bradley, but if a long-term deal prevents a big trade that would involve him but ultimately make the team better, then the smarter gamble is to let him go into restricted free agency and prepare to match opposing offers. Sure, someone could pull a “poison pill” contract and overload it in a way that make him un-affordable, but those are the risks.
From Bradley’s perspective, it makes sense to avoid diving into a long deal for less than your perceived worth. Play a year with that added motivation, and see if you can up your value. Even if you want to stay in Boston, you can get more from Ainge with a great year under your belt.