Just ask Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge if he anticipates any moves coming before opening night and he'll tell you that there could be. Ainge said, "We have some work to do. We have a few too many guaranteed contracts . . . We have to make some adjustments, and we're very busy trying to put the best team on the court. But there could be some changes this summer, yes."
For the next couple of weeks I am going to ask one simple question about each player that could be on the block: Should the Boston Celtics keep or trade him before the start of the regular season?
In the first part of a "Keep Him or Trade Him" series, we are going to take a look at Brandon Bass. He's a 28-year-old power forward that stands at 6'8" and has been in the NBA for eight years. He was acquired by the Celtics before the 2011 season in a trade for Glen Davis. In 140 games with the C's, Bass has started 108 of them, averaging 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Bass will earn $6,750,000 in 2013 and $6,950,000 in 2014.
Why Keep Bass?
Brandon Bass is the definition of a true role player. On the offensive end of the floor Bass excels at spot up mid-range jump shots and loud dunks or layups inside the paint, he occasionally puts the ball on the floor to get to his spots as well. He also compliments Rondo perfectly when running the floor or in the half-court pick-and-pop. If the Celtics are serious about competing this season, Bass could have a more significant role on the team given his experience amongst a mostly young roster.
Bass has also proven to be a very aggressive defender. Even though he is undersized for the position, he has made strides as a protector of the rim. Since Bass came to the team in 2011, I think he has developed drastically, probably because of the imprint Kevin Garnett left on him. When KG was hurt last season Bass played the "middle linebacker" role as the backbone of the defense by calling out rotations and matchups each possession. With an overhauled roster, Bass could prove to be integral as a part of this transition period.
If the Celtics are to trade Bass at some point, waiting until the trade deadline to get rid of him could be a much better option than doing it before the season begins. By the deadline, contending teams will know what they need to complete their roster and a guy like Bass could have much more value. Right now, I can't imagine Bass nets you a lot in a trade unless a team has an overabundance of point guards or wings on the roster.
Why Trade Bass?
As nice as it is to have a role player like Brandon Bass, he will take playing time away from developing young big men if he is on the roster this season. Players like Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Fab Melo, and Colton Iverson need time on the court in order to develop their skills; having Bass just creates a logjam at the position.
Bass is probably a pretty easy player to trade too. He has a reasonable contract that expires after the 2014-2015 season, and almost every team could use a big that can knock down mid-range jumpers and play hard on defense. Sure, jump shooting bigs like Bass are a dime a dozen, but his cap-friendly contract makes a deal relatively simple to find. Even though his value might be higher later in the season, the Celtics at least give their young players a chance to play early on.
What Would I Do?
I would trade Brandon Bass before the start of the regular season. Even though I think his value could be higher closer to the deadline, I believe it's more important to give your young players more playing time early in the season. It would be disappointing to see a guy like Sullinger or Olynyk get their playing time sliced by five to ten minutes a game just to incorporate Bass into the rotation.
What would you do? Vote on the poll, comment below, and tweet me @Kevin__OConnor with your thoughts.