Were you waiting for the Celtics to make a tangible splash in the free agency pool? Wait no longer. According to a very reliable Celtics reporter, Boston has brought back one of its own.
Celtics have agreed to terms with restricted free agent Avery Bradley, according to source.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 2, 2014
Baxter Holmes, of the Boston Globe, has the contract details.
Can confirm that the #Celtics & RFA Avery Bradley have agreed to a deal. Terms: 4-year-deal worth $32 million.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) July 2, 2014
This seems like a lot of money, but it’s probably not as bad as it looks on the surface.Giving Bradley $8 million a year takes the Celtics out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes that they were never in to begin with, no matter how much he wanted to play with Rondo. It essentially eliminates them from any big-name free agent signings that probably would have wanted a splashier team with better pieces in place anyway. All of this is true.
But Bradley is still just 23, a fact that often gets swept under the rug since it seems like he’s been in the league much longer. He has had injury problems, but his shoulders are fixed, and players can generally work through ankle problems.
In addition, his on-court value is fairly high. Bradley is a 40-percent 3-point shooter who plays excellent perimeter defense. He’s not as tall as many shooting guards, but given the dearth of shooting guard talent in the NBA, this likely isn’t an issue. If it is, Boston can always slot Bradley next to Marcus Smart and have them switch defensively, putting Smart on the larger player. But Bradley has never had any real issue guarding the two, since few shooting guards have the handle to get around his hounding, aggressive defense.
There will be a lot of handwringing about Boston’s rebuild and how Bradley fits into it, but whether you like Ainge’s plan or not, he clearly has one. Bradley is still young enough to be part of a rebuilding plan, and he’s talented enough to be a difference maker on a very good team. Worst case scenario, this is a contract that can be moved, especially as the cap keeps rising, making $8 million/year contracts a lot less prohibitive than they were in the past.
Still worried? Remember: Sam Hinkie pursued him. The Sixers are doing NOTHING that will jeopardize their rebuild. Young players who shoot well from behind the arc and play great defense aren’t as common as one might think. Generally, it’s a good idea to lock them up when you have a chance.
We’ll have more on this later today.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.