Danny Ainge worked very hard in the brief offseason that the NBA had as a result of the lockout. He tried in vain to land Chris Paul, David West, and others. Many of the guys that he did bring in or bring back, didn't manage to finish the year (Chris Wilcox) or even get started (Jeff Green). But the one guy that Ainge added that managed to stick around and make major contributions was Brandon Bass.
Bass is a restricted free agent, but it sounds as though he will be back in Boston next year.
Brandon Bass has a player option for next season and all indications are that he will exercise it after averaging career highs in points and rebounds. After the Celtics season ended abruptly in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Bass said he hasn't thought too much about the future but he also made it clear that he wants to return.
"I do," he said when asked if he thought he would be back. "I would love to be back here. The fans here are unbelievable. For any player, this organization is the organization that you want to play for."
Picking up the option is a great option for the Celtics as it gives them another year with a very solid starting power forward at a very reasonable price. I'm not clear though on why Bass is leaning this way. It only locks in one more year when he could command more than that on the open market.
The question is whether the price will be right. Bass holds a $4.25 million player option for next season, the final year of a $16 million pact he inked with Orlando in July 2009. But agreeing to that option would mean no pay raise for a player who started 39 games (moving to the first-unit power forward in the second half of the season) and averaged career highs at 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds over 31.7 minutes per game. His numbers dipped a bit in the postseason, but so did his floor time as Boston often went small throughout the playoffs.
But sometimes the money isn't so much of an issue as the environment and Bass is a guy that has bounced around the league a little bit. He's found a home here in Boston and he's got a great relationship with Doc. Besides, if he plays up to his capabilities next year, he'll be in line for a nice pay raise anyway.
Regardless, I'd love to see him stick around for a long time. I'm very pleased with this report.
Hey, I got through a whole post about Bass without mentioning Big Baby once! (oops - never mind)