The Celtics have until October 31 to extend Avery Bradley's contract. If they do not, he'll become a restricted free agent next summer and the team would have the option of matching any offer that he might receive.
So right now they have the flexibility of a wait-and-see approach but there's some risk that he could earn a bigger paycheck this year and perhaps even get a contract offer that would be out of the team's budget next summer. If they lock him up now, they might be able to get him at a slightly cheaper rate than if they waited till the summer, but they run the risk of him getting injured this year and being locked into a long term deal.
It was thought for a long time that he was a long shot at best to get an extension with the team looking to maintain flexibility. But there's a chance that something could get done at the last minute.
One thing that raised eyebrows was that, asked about the looming extension deadline for Avery Bradley, Ainge admitted he's been in negotiations with Bradley's camp but wouldn't comment further. That's a departure from last month when Ainge suggested that the team might wait until next summer, when Bradley would be a restricted free agent, to revisit his future with the team.
So what's a fair value for Bradley? SBNation asked that same question:
Boston likes Avery Bradley. He plays hard, changes games with his defensive pressure and doesn't have many significant weaknesses other than his jumper. Most importantly, Bradley is a winner. The questions, however, revolves around whether Bradley is much more than a defensive stopper. The 22-year-old is still learning the point guard position and will need to play with the same confidence on offense as he does on defense. Market-wise, Bradley's lack of superstar potential -- that's based purely from the offensive production -- holds him back.
THE EXTENSION ARBITRATOR SAYS: $24 MILLION OVER FOUR YEARS
To me that sounds like a bargain. If they can get him for $6M a year (right around MLE money) then I think you lock him in and thank your lucky stars. He's that valuable on the defensive side of the ball. Brandon Bass makes a little over $6M a year and I think Bradley is more valuable than him. You could talk me into going up to the Jeff Green $9M a year range with Bradley as well, though I'd probably feel better about that after seeing him play for a full year without getting injured.
I think that might be what gets a deal done. Some might forget, but a few years back when Rondo was in a similar position, there were injury concerns with him too. If he had waited for restricted free agency, I'm convinced he could have gotten a max deal from someone. But he took less in order to get a long term guaranteed contract right away rather than wait and risk further injury. We might see the same thing happen with Bradley this week.
Or maybe this is just posturing and negotiation tactics. We'll see how willing both sides are to put pen to paper and get a deal done.
As a fan of Bradley's, I'm hoping to see him in Boston for many years. I hope they work something out that all sides can be happy with.