Bass The Latest Celtic To Re-Sign
Friday, July 06, 2012
If you were expecting to see major changes in the Boston Celtics this offseason, you had better think again. The Celtics’ team that lost in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals this spring appears to be the one we can expect to see this fall when the 2012-2013 NBA season begins.
Thursday, the team agreed to terms on a new contract with forward Brandon Bass. It is a multi-year deal that is believed to be 3 years in length according to published reports. Bass averaged just under 13 points and just over 6 rebounds per game last season which was his first with Boston. He opted out of his player option for next season which would have paid him $4.25 million.
When the aging Celtics had their season ended by Miami, many wondered if GM Danny Ainge would begin to retool the team in an effort to get younger. That does not appear to be the case.
Last week we learned that 36-year old Kevin Garnett re-upped for a reported 3-years worth $34 million. They also agreed to terms with free agent sharp-shooter Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks. Terry will be 35 when the season starts in October.
Conventional wisdom is that Terry’s presence makes the 36-year old Ray Allen expendable, but Boston has also made a strong contract offer to bring Allen back as well. The NBA’s all-time three-point shooter was in Miami today visiting with the Heat. LeBron James is apparently recruiting Allen hard in an effort to lure him to South Beach.
However, Miami can only offer Allen the mini mid-level exception of about $3 million per season. That is about half of what Boston is reportedly offering to keep him. The Celtics have reportedly made a 2-year, $12 million offer to keep him in Boston.
What’s interesting about Ainge’s approach is that it differs from what he said the Celtics should have done when the original “Big Three” started to age. Ainge once suggested that he would have broken up the talented trio of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale before it was too late, something Celtics’ management did not do. Ainge has suggested that the decision to hang on to that “Big Three” too long had a negative impact on the franchise for years to come.
Now, faced with a similar situation, Ainge appears to be ignoring his own advice and trying to keep the new “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen together. Even if Allen decides to sign elsewhere, Ainge has found an adequate and equally aging replacement for him in Terry.
Critics of Ainge’s plan may have a hard time hammering the Celtics’ GM because there doesn’t seem to be any better options available to him at the present time. Furthermore, given how close this team came from appearing in the NBA Finals once again with all of their injuries, once would think that they should be able to make such a run again next spring if they are healthy. But that’s a big If.”
Ray Allen recently had surgery to repair bone spurs in his ankle which dogged him for the entire second half of the season and the playoffs. Paul Pierce played with a sprained MCL during the postseason. An optimist would say that both players should be 100% healthy next season meaning the team might be capable of even greater accomplishments. However, this is what often happens to aging players. More and more injuries begin to pop up and they become increasingly difficult to recover from.
Whether you’re a glass half-empty or glass half-full Celtics’ fan, there’s no denying two things. First, last year’s team was a true pleasure to watch and root for and the prospect of having them together on the floor again is quite intriguing. Add to that some needed health and depth, and this could be a very good team next season.