Celtics extend qualifying offer to Avery Bradley, interested in Austin Rivers

USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of drafting Marcus Smart with the #6 pick on Thursday, the Celtics extended an offer to restricted free agent Avery Bradley and are rumored to be interested in bringing in the former #10 pick, Austin Rivers.

There was a time when Avery Bradley was the future shooting guard for the Boston Celtics.  After replacing Ray Allen in the starting lineup in the 2011-2012 season, he and Rajon Rondo developed a chemistry that looked to lock up the back court for the next five years.  Since then, Rondo has missed huge chunks of the last two seasons with his ACL tear and Avery hasn't avoided the injury bug either with ankle and shoulder problems.  However, he still remains one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and has improved considerably on the offensive end.

Yesterday, the Celtics extended a qualifying offer to the restricted free agent.  Ainge will have every opportunity to match any offer sheet that AB signs.  After rejecting a 4-year/$24 million extension in December, there have been reports that he'll command anywhere between $6-9 million on the market.  That may sound like a steep price to pay for an oft-injured shooting guard, but he's become a fan favorite at the Garden and you can't question the 23-year-old's work ethic and tenacity.  He's publicly said that he wants to stay in Boston and Ainge has said that there is "room for everybody."

With these Celtics, basketball has always been a brotherhood, but it's also a business.  Retaining Avery isn't just a matter of keeping the band together, but it's also an issue of asset management.  With Golden State now front runners in the Kevin Love sweepstakes and free agency about to start on July 1st, it's important for Danny to keep every bullet in his arsenal.  If that means overpaying Avery, it means overpaying Avery.  If it's going to be a long rebuild (which it looks like it will), Boston should be more inclined to develop in house rather than court outside free agents, right?

But there's also a rumor that the Celtics might be interested in another shooting guard:

That rumor from Bulpett was tweeted out hours before the draft, so it's possible that Rivers could have been linked to a draft day trade or was just mere posturing by Ainge to throw opposing GM's off the scent of his draft intentions.  The idea that bringing in another upside shooting guard should have concerned Avery Bradley fans and those concerns were more than realized when the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart at #6 and to some extent, swingman James Young at #17.

Personally, I think it just eliminates the idea that Boston will bring in another guard as a free agent.  Jerryd Bayless will probably play somewhere else next season and I'm betting one or maybe two of the three non-guaranteed contracts of Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, and Chris Johnson won't be picked up.

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