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Ainge: "Brandon (Bass) may be with us next year and the year after that"

In a statement that might surprise many Celtics fans, Danny Ainge suggested yesterday that despite the fact that Brandon Bass is rumored to be on the trading block with his expiring contract, he could be back next season as part of Boston's rebuilding project.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the quote from DA:

"Right now, Brandon is with us and Brandon may be with us next year and the year after that as well," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told prior to the Celtics' 93-87 loss to Houston on Friday.


"What I like about Brandon, he just ... he's never satisfied with his role," Ainge said. "He goes about his job the same, every day. He's a rare guy in that he's getting better. I think he's better right now than he's ever been in his career. And I think his upside is still ahead of him."

That's right.  Danny said the 29-year-old Brandon Bass still has upside.  Our friends at outlined a few motivations that could be behind Ainge's comments: 1) he's being honest, 2) he's making an example of him and trying to motivate the younger players with Bass' professionalism, and 3) he's trying to drive up Bass' trade market value.  As Jeff points out, Ainge talked up Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green years, months, and days before trading them so this could all be GM speak and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Personally, I'd love to have Bass back next season and I've outlined his value here.  Ainge's "upside" comment is not  so much a suggestion that BB is blessed with untapped potential and talent; Bass just works so damn hard.  He's undersized and lacks the length and athleticism that could truly make him a big time impact player, but his motor is unmatched by any Celtic player besides maybe Avery Bradley, another Brad Stevens' favorite.

Is there room for Bass on a rebuilding roster?  There are 8 contracted players returning next season and 10 if you include Phil Pressey's non-guaranteed deal and a qualifying offer to Jae Crowder.  Ainge will more than likely have 5 picks in this year's draft (2 firsts and 3 seconds) and cap space to bring in two near-max players.  It's doubtful that Ainge would use all five picks--probably packaging a few together to move up in the draft or stashing a Euro for a year or two--and even more doubtful that Ainge will be a big spender in free agency unless he can convince a big fish to speed up the rebuild.  That could mean a generous but short term contract for Bass.  He's said in the past:

"I feel like day-in and day-out, I just try to take advantage of my opportunities to get better," Bass said. "Guys gravitate to that. If they see some of the things I do and they can use some of those things for them to improve, cool. But I do think it's about time for me to take responsibility and make sure I'm doing the right thing, because I know the young guys are watching."

Still, it would be pretty nice to be magically transported to a championship contending team and be assured of playing deep into the playoffs, wouldn't it? Green and Rondo sure haven't complained, and parachuting into a winning situation has become an NBA cliche. It's not for Bass, though

"I'm not hunting for a situation like that," Bass said. "I've never been the type of player who hunts for a situation to go win a championship, hunt a situation to be in the playoffs. My thing is, work with what you've got. That's my motto. I'm going to work with what I've got, so if it's these guys in the locker room, cool."

Come on.  This isn't a guy you want in Celtic green next season?

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