In the opening days of free agency, it was made known that Avery Bradley agreed to terms on a contract with the Celtics. For several reasons (free agency moratorium, travel schedules, etc.) that contract wasn't made official until today.
Here's the official announcement.
"We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18," said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations. "He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We're ecstatic to have him back."
If you are curious, here are the actual amounts for each year.
Avery Bradley contract structure, per @EricPincus: $7.2M in 2014-15, $7.7M in '15-16, $8.3M in '16-17, $8.8M in '17-18. Plans to sign today.— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) July 15, 2014
If you are curious about why they had to pay him that much, here's a hint.
The Philadelphia 76ers were among the teams rumored to be interested in the defensive shutdown specialist, likely driving up his price. The other factor that also figured in the $8 million per season pricetag was the uncertain future of Rajon Rondo with the Celtics. If the Celtics come to an agreement to deal Rondo, they did not want to be left without an established guard in the backcourt.
But why did they act so quickly (without allowing the market to dictate his value)? One reason is that they didn't want to get into a bidding war with anyone, which might have driven up the price. Take a look around the league and see how many teams missed out on big free agents that still have money to throw around.
Another reason is one that I hadn't thought of before now. By signing him before he got an offer sheet, the Celtics can still trade him sometime this season.
The Celtics didn't wait around for another team to swoop in with an offer sheet. By signing Bradley before this happened, it allows them to trade him this year if a bigger deal comes along. Had Bradley signed an offer sheet with another team for, say, $7.5 million, Boston would have matched but not have been able to trade Bradley for a year. Just a minor detail, but who knows; maybe it played a small part in the decision.
He signed early in the process in part because he wants to be a Celtic and I think the team legitimately does have him in their long term plans. But Ainge also held onto another measure of flexibility too.
Provided Bradley can stay healthy and on the court, he's an excellent player to have around and I hope to watch him in a Celtic uniform for years. Like Ainge, I could see him being part of the next championship.