The Boston Celtics tried to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Avery Bradley before the October 2013 deadline coming into the 2013-14 NBA season. The two parties couldn’t make it work at the time, though, and Bradley entered restricted free agency on July 1 when the league’s free agency period began.
However, the Celtics made it a priority to talk to Bradley early in free agency and the two sides have struck a deal. According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston, the Celtics and Bradley have agreed to a contract that will pay the guard $32 million over the next four years. Entering his fifth year in the NBA, Bradley is finally going to get a substantial paycheck.
Once touted as one of the bright young defensive stars in the league, Bradley’s defense noticeably declined this past season as he also missed 22 games with an ankle injury. However, the young guard developed his offensive game even further, averaging a career high 14.9 points per game while shooting 43.8 percent from the floor and 39.5 percent from long-range.
While the 23-year-old Bradley is still improving and likely has a bright future in the league, re-signing him may not have been the best thing for the Celtics. Sure, they have a talented young player locked up while he is expected to enter his prime, but they also now have an extremely crowded backcourt.
Bradley and point guard Rajon Rondo have developed a solid rapport together as a backcourt tandem in recent years, even with Rondo missing a good chunk of time due to a torn ACL last season. While that’s fine, the Celtics also drafted Marcus Smart with the sixth overall pick. The jury is still out on how Smart will perform in the NBA and what position he’ll play, but that doesn’t change the fact that Boston’s backcourt is now quite crowded.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge stated that he’d like to see a three-guard rotation between Rondo, Bradley and Smart. That’s an intriguing idea, but it’s also going to be difficult to maximize the value of all three players if they’re all vying for minutes. With Bradley locked up now, who knows what could be in store for the perpetually rumored-to-be-on-the-trade-block Rondo in the near future.
Perhaps the Celtics have a vision that will ultimately work for their guards, but I don’t see it right now. There’s no doubt that locking up a guard with the defensive talents, the youth, and the evolving offensive game of Bradley is a good signing for a rebuilding team like Boston. However, there’s also a chance that it could create a number of problems or be the precursor to other moves by the organization.