Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
There’s been plenty of talk this season about Rondo’s future in Boston, but what about his backcourt mate? Bradley is a restricted free agent at season’s end, and on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich morning show, team president Danny Ainge was asked about Bradley.
“I think Avery is a terrific player and he’s gonna be with us,” Ainge said. “We have the ability to match [any offer], he’s a restricted free agent and we have every intention of having Avery with us.”
Pegging Bradley’s actual value is tough. On some days, like Wednesday night, he seems like a pretty good two-way player who, when he’s in the right spot, can extraordinarily valuable to the Celtics. On other nights, he is a good defensive player who is a bit out-of-place and who struggles with his offense.
That’s a pretty wide swath of negotiating territory. There are a lot of questions about Bradley that are still up for some debate. Among them…
Isn’t he too injury prone to commit to long-term?
On one hand, yes, he had dealt with a bunch of injuries. He had ankle surgery before he even started with the C’s, which prevented him from participating in his first summer league and training camp. He needed surgery on both of his shoulders a couple of years ago. And now he’s recovered from a sprained right ankle that kept him out for a while.
So in one sense, he has been saddled with a bunch of injuries in just a few years. But injury prone? Doesn’t that suggest a chronic thing?
Greg Oden is injury prone. He is susceptible to very similar injuries because of how his body is constructed. But you can argue that Avery is just unlucky. These are all unrelated things, and none of them were “wear and tear” kinds of injuries that you have to worry about returning. So in this sense, no, he’s not injury prone. He’s just a guy who’s had some bad luck and has dealt with injuries. I mean, are we really going to hold a sprained ankle against a basketball player?
His offense suffers without Rondo, or at least some quality point guard around
This is Danny Ainge’s biggest negotiating bullet, in my opinion. Bradley is a 2-guard. End of story. If a team wants to throw some extra money at him and lure him away to be a combo guard, then good luck to them and Avery, because that’s going to fail.
I want to say that’s not a knock on Bradley because he is what he is… he’s good player off the ball who can hit the mid-range jumper and corner three, is a sneaky offensive rebounding threat, and can obviously defend either back court position regardless of his size. But it is a knock on Bradley in a negotiation because that all that he is. He can’t slide over and run the point. Not even a little bit.
Bradley and Rondo work very well together, despite having limited time together in all their years as teammates. The instant Doc Rivers told Avery Bradley to start making backdoor cuts, he and Rondo clicked. From then on, Bradley discovered his niche as an offensive contributor for the Celtics.
His offense has grown and his jumper has come around. But there exists this question that may hurt him come July… “can you do this without Rondo?”
Maybe he won’t have to. Maybe the Celtics desire to bring him back is another signal (besides, you know, Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck blatantly saying this) that the team intends to move forward with Rondo as one of its stars.
I rather enjoy the Rondo, Bradley back court. It just fits. It fits on the defensive end because Bradley can be the ball hawk while Rondo can be the riverboat gambler he loves to be, and it fits on offense with Rondo’s ability to spot that sly little 2-guard slipping into defensive holes.
I’m not saying I expect them to perform like they did Wednesday night in Miami every night of the year. Ultimately, there will be “drafted star x” and “star we traded for y” in the mix that will demand the ball as well. But when those guys are covered, the Rondo-Bradley connection could prove quite valuable.
The only question left is… how much is Bradley worth in that scenario? Is it $4 million, or $8 million? Less? More?
The answer to that question depends on the answers to the other questions. That’s what’s going to make the Avery Bradley situation this summer so difficult. What’s he worth to other teams? What’s he worth to the Celtics? And what does he think he’s worth?
Related links: ESPN Boston: Need to see more of Rondo/Bradley | MassLive: Celtics have “every intention” of keeping Avery Bradley
Page 2: Brandon Bass – a true professional
…Bass stayed put, never showing disappointment with being placed on the block or his uncertain place in the franchise’s future plans. Bass, who will turn 29 next month, is a free agent after next season and may be a victim of the Celtics’ transition to a new era.
Still, he continues to play hard. He has drawn the admiration of coach Brad Stevens, who lauded Bass for rarely venturing outside of his skill set and strengths, making him a dependable player. Bass had been in a slump before his 8-for-12 shooting performance against the Heat, going 17 for 53 from the field over the previous six games.
After Monday’s loss in Dallas, Bass sent a text message to Stevens, expressing his disappointment in his output.
“I think the biggest thing when you have a guy that’s a pro is he has certain things that make him a very good player,” Stevens said. “Defensive versatility. Midrange jump shooting, effort and athleticism on both ends of the boards, and sometimes when you get outside that box you can do other things but don’t maximize those things, and I think he really did those three things exceptionally well [against Miami]. He made tough jumpers. He defended great. And his effort was high level. He was one of the reasons why at the end of the game we were pretty active defensively.”
Bass is an unsung hero for this team. The guy just goes out and works hard without really complaining. His second half performance Wednesday night was spectacular, yet it was overshadowed by Rondo’s near triple-double and final minute heroics, as well as Bradley’s hot shooting.
Yet there he was, making big defensive plays and doing the dirty work the Celtics needed.
This is a season that could have really gone off the rails. The losses are bad enough as it is, and that January stretch was just God-awful. But guys like Bass and Kris Humphries, who could have bitched and moaned their way through the muck of a lost year, never made a peep.
Bass knows the rumors. He knows that people, like me, believe that he’s a prime candidate to get moved (or to have already been moved at the deadline). But that doesn’t rattle him. At least not outwardly.
Credit should be given where credit is due. Professionalism isn’t sexy, and it’s rarely a headline-grabber. But it’s important. And Bass has that. Whether he has it in Boston next season or somewhere else is yet to be seen. But he’ll help wherever he goes.
Related links: MWDN: Amid difficult season, Bass was at his best against Heat
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