The Boston Celtics have entered an offseason of uncertainty and great promise, the sort of offseason which could either doom the Cs to another year or two of lottery-quality play, or propel the team back into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Obviously, all of our eyes will be focused on the NBA Draft Lottery first and foremost, but the Celtics have a few players already on their roster whose value need to be determined before the NBA Draft takes place, since knowing which players will be expected to walk affects Boston draft strategy.
Take, for example, the case of Mister Avery Bradley. When healthy, Bradley is regarded as one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the NBA, and as added bonus, Bradley established himself as a legitimate threat to knock down open shots from deep last season (he shot 39.5% from behind the arc in 2013-2014).
So why is his future with the Boston Celtics up in the air? One word: injuries. Bradley has yet to play an entire 82-game season in his NBA career; the closest he came was during his sophomore season, 2011-2012, when he played 64 regular-season games and ten more in the playoffs. This past season, Bradley missed 22 games, a fact which you know is not lost on the Boston Celtics’ front office.
A recent report from the Boston Herald would support the fact that Bradley’s health is a cause for concern, as it would appear that
the C’s are unlikely to return to the four-year, $24 million extension that was previously offered. The injury issue may also limit what he finds on the market this summer
To catch everyone up to speed, the Celtics offered Bradley a four-year, $24 million extension during the winter, which Bradley’s camp declined, probably much to their regret, as it now seems highly unlikely that he will command that much money as a free agent.
Of course, Boston will likely offer Bradley a contract extension that will be equal to, or slightly better than, what he can expect to see should he enter free agency . . . but given just how well guards with an explosive 1-2 combination in the backcourt have fared in these playoffs, nothing is certain. Even if Boston does re-sign Bradley, there is no guarantee that he will be starting alongside Rajon Rondo, especially if he suffers an injury early in the season.
I think we all understand that it is a top priority of the Celtics to acquire a true center this offseason, but upgrading the two spot should be a close second, if not the number one priority of this team. We’ll look at Boston’s options in a bit more depth, but right now Boston’s best options would appear to be to draft Dante Exum in the draft, or to try and acquire Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson via free agency. As much as I appreciate Bradley’s commitment to defense, I have to sell on the idea of a Rondo-Bradley backcourt being enough to help Boston win its 18th NBA Championship.
More coverage to follow!