Also, Doc Rivers tells Jackie MacMullan that Avery Bradley is "nowhere near ready." Doesn’t expect him before December: es.pn/SgLnAN— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) September 24, 2012
Jackie Mac has some sobering news on Avery Bradley Day. According to Doc, Avery probably won't be ready until late December and maybe even January after double shoulder this summer. What does this mean? It certainly confirms Doc's earlier statements about putting Courtney Lee in the starting lineup with Jason Terry backing up both him and Rondo at the guard position. This could also open the door for Dionte Christmas (if he makes the team) to get some valuable playing time at the beginning of the season.
For Avery, it's just another roadblock. He had left ankle surgery at the beginning of his rookie campaign that robbed him of training camp and subsequently, little playing time in his first year, but I have no doubt that Avery bounces back this season and regains his spot opposite Rondo in the starting five. The kid's relentless. I'm sure he's attacking rehab like a one man full court press. Get well and god speed, AB.
I may be looking too far ahead, but Avery needs to be priority # 1 when Danny re-opens the books next summer. I know we're a week from training camp and Bradley's three months from even seeing the floor, but it's never too soon to look at the future and Avery Bradley needs to be part of the future in Boston. When Ray Allen turned his back on us and left for South Beach, that seemingly solidified Avery Bradley as the starting shooting guard for the foreseeable future. But instead of signing a capable veteran fill-in while AB recovered, Ainge traded for another young guard in Courtney Lee and locked him in for four years at $21.5 million. It's a deal that Danny had to make to address the depth issues this season and Lee's a great prospect at that price, but where does that leave Avery?
After this season, the Celtics will have a team option next year that they'll undoubtedly pick up and they'll have the option to extend a qualifying offer for 2014-2015. Danny, don't even let it get that far. His defense alone will make him a prize free agent in two years but with his showing as a perfect complement to Rondo, he did enough that he should never hit the open market. LOCK HIM UP. With Pierce's contract expiring in 2014, we'll have the cap space to go long term with a guy that represents what being a Celtic is all about.
A perfect case study in what not to do with Avery Bradley is what happened with Tony Allen. Instead of coming up with a little more change, Tony took a marginally better deal and feelings of being "overshadowed" by Pierce and Allen. Of course, those were different circumstances then and we weren't in transitioning from The Big Three. Still, Tony Allen's departure should serve as a cautionary tale. Don't even think about trading him either, Danny. In mid-March, you're going to get a call from Danny Ferry about Josh Smith. He's going to want prospects and Avery Bradley will be at the top of his list. Avoid the temptation to pull that trigger. You've done a great job over the last two years bringing in high character players so you don't have to worry about team chemistry. You did it once with Kendrick Perkins. Don't do it again.