Brandon Bass has opted out of the final year of his contract and will join Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as part of the free agent class of 2012. Bass was scheduled to receive $4.25 million in 2012-13 but after a solid year with the Celtics, will be looking for a multi-year deal and a higher annual salary.
Bass, 27, proved a solid stretch-4 for the Celtics in their post-all-star offense, which featured Garnett in the middle. His ability to hit the mid-range jumpshot (he shot 48% from 10-23 feet, a marked improvement over Glen Davis, who occupied the same role in 2010-11) opened lanes and provided options for a Boston offense that struggled to score all season.
Bass’ game has two key weaknesses: while he’s a decent one-on-one defender (except against LeBron James) he’s a weak rebounder for his position and regularly got lost in Boston’s team defense, a problem that might not carryover into a second year with the Celtics.
All indications are that Bass wants to return to Boston and is a strong fit with the Celtics culture. He’s also in the early seasons of what should be his prime and a decent option running the floor with Rajon Rondo.
His return is no sure thing though. The Celtics face a number of major decisions this offseason and Danny Ainge has been critical of signing role players to multi-year contracts before knowing which stars they’ll be supporting. Bass (14.21 PER) is ultimately replaceable should his market prove too pricy for Boston’s front office, if he doesn’t fit with the direction of the team, or if Ainge wants to preserve cap space for the summer of 2013.