Sometimes what you know is better than what you don’t know. The re-signing of Avery Bradley to a 4 year $32 million contract proves that point. Bradley, who averaged a career high 14.9PPG last season, has improved his scoring every year since entering the league in 2010. The Celtics know Avery's game and signing him to this contract gives them the confidence to go forward in the retooling/rebuilding process.
The one huge flaw to Bradley’s game is his injury history. Bradley missed 22 games last season with numerous injuries, including ankle injuries, and he will have to prove his durability during the next four years if he is to live up to this contract.
This past season, I questioned how high the Celtics would go for Bradley, guessing that $8 million per season would be the maximum. But Danny Ainge and the C’s brass wanted to lock up their shooting guard before any other suitors could come knocking on Bradley’s door. I would like to have seen the C’s go about $2 million a year lower, but with the market inflated this offseason (Jodie Meeks 3 years /19 million) this Bradley contract could work out in the end. He is only 23, and has a defensive skill, for his size, second only to Tony Allen. Bradley’s offensive game is better than Allen’s and this contract may have just come down to the Celtics being confident and financially able to spend a little more on their own player.
With the drafting of a defensive-minded PG in Marcus Smart, a combination of Bradley and Smart could cause the NBA’s starting backcourts absolute headaches this winter. If Ainge is confident enough with Bradley and Smart as his backcourt of the future, then the likelihood of Rajon Rondo being traded increased once Bradley put pen to paper.
A less talked about factor in Bradley’s contract, is the possibility of him being used in a sign and trade to match contracts. If, for example, the C’s can fire up those Kevin Love trade rumors again, it’s more likely than not that the T’Wolves would want to dump a bad contract on the C’s roster, like the remaining $20 million on Kevin Martin’s deal. Martin is 31 years old and his production has slowed, while Bradley, 23, is not near his prime. Bradley is surely a player any NBA team would like to pry away from the Celts roster.
The bottom line is that the Celts got their guy. It may not be a big splash, but Bradley could turn out to be a fringe All-Star IF he can stay on the floor. In the Eastern Conference, OJ Mayo ($8 million per season), Landry Fields ($6,250,000), and Jarret Jack ($6,300,000 for 3 more years) are all players that Bradley has the potential to outperform, making his contract a potential steal and extremely team-friendly.
Let’s be completely honest, it’s great to have my current favorite Celtic back with the team for the foreseeable future.