Without completely admitting it to the media, Brandon Bass clearly knows that he's on the outside looking in of Brad Stevens' rotations. Since Rajon Rondo was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Bass has played only 11.8 minutes per game, which is a large drop from the 19.6 per he averaged prior to the move.
Celtics' Brandon Bass deals with cut in playing time | Boston Herald
The Celtics forward did allude to some inner conflict, however, when he said, "If I live like a man under a rock, ya’ll would know about it, and I would express myself in a way like a man who lived under a rock. But since I don’t live like that, I know better.
"I just control what I can control and look at everything like a blessing," said Bass. "This is my 10th season. Some people don’t even get to go through what I’ve gone through in my career. I try to find some good out of everything."
What Bass is saying really doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the surface, but read between the lines and you'll get the sense that this is a guy frustrated with his role.
And why should anyone be surprised? Bass is a proven veteran who deserves to play heavy rotational minutes, and is a model teammate that Boston's younger players should learn from -- not just on what it takes to be a professional basketball player, but on how to be a good man off the court.
Embrace the Bass
Embrace the Bass
But as I wrote in early November, Bass is the elephant in the locker room since he's just taking away valuable playing time away from promising young big men like Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller. And Brandan Wright is a better fit on the floor, making Bass expendable (though Wright could also be on the chopping block).
Boston reportedly "tried like hell" to trade Bass during the summer, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe, so it wouldn't be too surprising if they still were trying to move him to this day.
Bass deserves better, and so does his coach. It's not easy for Brad Stevens to squeeze five players into what should be a four-man rotation at center and power forward. Chemistry problems can be developed both on and off the court if players aren't receiving consistent minutes or if they're disgruntled with their own playing time.
Bass shares agents with Marcus Thornton, who could also struggle to find steady playing time once he returns from his injury. Their agent, Tony Dutt, told Comcast SportsNet before the season that he was concerned his client wouldn't receive the opportunity to "showcase his talents" in Boston, so why wouldn't he demand a trade for his clients if this continues prior to the deadline?
Both Bass and Thornton will be unrestricted free agents in 2015 and will need to prove themselves deserving of large contracts, especially if the salary cap increases as much as it's expected to.
It's not that Bass wants to be traded, because he has made Boston his home, and from the outside it appears that he loves the city, but the NBA is a business and right now the Celtics don't appear to be the best fit for him.
Oddly enough, if you said that to Bass about one year ago around this time, he probably would've look at you like you had two heads.
After Courtney Lee was traded by Boston last season a source told me that Bass was so stunned by the move that he openly questioned his teammates about whether or not he could also be traded at any time; Rondo then pulled Bass aside and explained to him that every player in the league could be dealt, unless they had a no-trade clause.
With Rajon Rondo gone and his agent in his ear about his future, Brandon Bass might be waiting for his turn to come. And for both him and the Boston Celtics, it'll be for the best if it ends up happening. But until then, Bass will continue working as hard he can to help his team win games, just like he always has.