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.
Bayless, earning $3.1 million in the final year of his contract, has expressed a willingness to return to Boston next season and that feeling is mutual — assuming the Celtics have a need and he comes at the right price.
“You don’t know how all the numbers are going to work themselves out and all the different people, but he’s a good guy to have on your team,” Stevens said. “He’s bright, he thinks about the game on both ends of the floor, he’s physical, and he can score the ball in a flurry. I like him and I’d like to have him. At the same time, I don’t know how all that stuff is going to work itself out. I’m a big fan of Jerryd Bayless; I like him.”
Bayless is a curious case for the Celtics. I like him as a combo guard who can spell both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. I think the case could be made for him to be solid in a return in his current role of back-up/spot-starter. And we sure as hell have seen him shoot the Celtics out of some pretty deep holes, which is a nice weapon to have on your bench. But there’s a downside, too. Jay King lays out the pros and cons.
Bayless occasionally attempts frustrating shots (often, they are off-the-dribble pull-ups, which he normally executes while going to his right and fading away from the basket), but his propensity for bunch-scoring has brought the Celtics back into quite a few games. He’s still operating with below-average efficiency, but he’s shooting much better in Boston (51.0 percent true shooting) than he did in Memphis (47.3 percent); since the beginning of February (an arbitrary date, but still), he’s converting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point tries. Stevens likes the guard’s versatility, too. Bayless is not a pure point guard, but he’s capable of manning either backcourt position.
So the Celtics face the same question with Bayless as they do with others this summer: What’s this guy worth, and is he worth keeping long-term?
I think $3 million for this guys is a great price. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ainge asked him to come back for 2 or 3 years at the same money. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if he got a little more on the open market. I’m not saying the demand for Bayless will be so huge that it drives up the price, but at his salary, a little extra money is a huge difference. It’s not like LeBron James deciding between $18 and $20 million. At that level, the difference barely matters. But when you’re trying to set yourself up for life at $3 million versus $4 million? It’s hard to turn down an offer that’s about 35% higher.
There are other guys who can do what Bayless does, and maybe they’ll do it for less money. But it would be nice if a quality pro like Bayless, who has built a rapport with his backcourt mates and the coach, could stick around.
Page 2… Brad Stevens and the positive, big-picture mindset
At the tail end of his nine-minute confab with reporters, Stevens was asked if losing has affected him more than he expected. He allowed himself to glance at the big picture.
“Maybe from the outside looking in, maybe someone would say that,” Stevens said. “Here’s what I think: I’m getting a lot better at this, our team is going to get a lot better because of this. And that’s hard to process when you’re in the midst of it. I’ve had a great coach tell me that the toughest times are the ones that help you and make you better, and I believe that. But it’s hard to think that right now.”
You guys who read my stuff a lot know I love when basketball coincides with little life lessons. It’s why I hate when I hear things about schools cutting sports during budget messes… because it robs kids of lessons that can be applied to real life.
This line… “the toughest times are the ones that help you and make you better,” is so brilliant, because it applies to everything.
I don’t care what the “tough time” is… there is generally, ultimately, a way to learn and grow from it. Sometimes it requires a tough, honest, introspective look at who and what you are, but it’s there.
So when Brad Stevens applies this lesson to this season, he’s looking at who and what he is as a coach, as well as the character of his staff and his players. These rough times in the life on an NBA franchise are when you face your many mistakes head on and determine what your true capabilities are, where you need to improve, and the type of people you need to assist you in your overall improvement.
When you can stand back and look at the big picture, you understand that this is a positive process. This is a necessary process. And it applies to most any shit-storm you’ll see, from the trivial to the tragic. If you are able to allow yourself to step back far enough, and see the big picture, you’ll see that the negative will often lead to the positive.
Brad Stevens knows this, and he knows it applies to these Celtics. They’ll very likely be a better team, and Stevens a better coach next year because of it.
Related links: CSNNE: Stevens “frustrated” but focusing on improvement | Globe: Stevens keeping hope alive | MassLive: Stevens, Rondo offer similarly determined messages
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Celtics honor BFD | CSNNE: Rondo can’t compare 2006-07 C’s to this team | Bulls using familiar Boston blueprint to find success | Herald: Coach dishes on assist | Augestin too much for Celtics | Thibs believes in Celtics