Even though Ainge has said that AB is "a very big part of our future," it scares me that he'll go into next summer without a contract. I've said it before, but it eerily reminds me of what happened to Kendrick Perkins before he was traded to Oklahoma City. Both sides were negotiating in good faith, a deal could not be struck, and Perk ended up being shipped out only days after rehabbing from an ACL tear.
My guess is that Ainge has a number in mind and Bradley's people know that he can get more on the open market. If he really wants to keep this pitbull, he might have no other choice than to overpay him. Some team is going to offer him stupid money regardless of how well he plays for the rest of the season. Avery's only 22 and already one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Offensively, his jumper looks better and he's beginning to finish at the rim at a more consistent basis.
Now, the onus is on Danny. After declining the options on MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford, the Celtics will probably not pick up the remainder of Keith Bogans' deal or re-sign Kris Humphries (at least not at the dollar value he's at now). Ainge will have three more contracts to shop: Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and Gerald Wallace. If Avery's looking for a deal north of Tony Allen (4 years, $20 million) and south of O.J. Mayo (3 years, $24 million), the salary cap will be better served if Danny can move one of those pieces.
Personally, I love Avery. He's practically played his entire healthy career out of position and done admirably. Not great, but OK. When Rondo returns in December (fingers crossed), we'll finally see if they can rekindle the magic they had back in 2012 when Bradley bumped Ray Allen out of the starting lineup. I feel like either way, Danny's put himself in a lose-lose situation. If Bradley plays well at the 2, he'll be forced to open the pocket book. If Bradley struggles, some GM out there is still going to take a gamble on the kid and they'll be able to determine the price. It's just weird that as much as Ainge and Stevens have gushed about Avery as a player, as a man, and as a Celtic, they haven't put their money where their mouths are.