Avery Bradley is off the board before the market had a chance to dictate his value. Whether or not the Boston Celtics overpaid to retain the restricted free agent is another story. According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Bradley has agreed to a four-year, $32 million contract to stay with the Celtics.
Celtics have agreed to terms with restricted free agent Avery Bradley, according to source.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 2, 2014
Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears reports that Bradley’s deal is worth $32 million and fully guaranteed for its duration.
Celtics Avery Bradley's new four-year, $32 million contract is fully guaranteed with no options, agent Mitchell Butler said.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 2, 2014
The 23 year-old guard enjoyed a breakout season for the Celtics in 2013-2014, averaging a career-high 14.9 points per game and shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range on a career-high 3.3 attempts per game while playing his typical blend of aggressive on-ball defense. Though its now firmly established that Bradley is best-suited playing off the ball, he made major strides as a stand-still and off-dribble shooter last season. Bradley connected on an elite 44.6 percent of his non-corner three-point tries and shot a solid 42.3% from mid-range despite being assisted on just 54.3 percent of his two-point baskets, a number that compares favorably to Bradley Beal’s. He needs to get better around the basket and will never be a primary scorer or ballhandler, but Bradley found his niche for the Celtics last season and has room to improve.
Still, there’s an argument to be made that Boston was a bit overzealous here. Bradley heard from the Philadelphia 76ers after the opening of free agency despite common knowledge that the Celtics had every intention of keeping him, and it stands to reason that more teams would have reached out to him in coming days, too. Lock-down defenders that double as helpful scorers are hard to find.
But Bradley missed 22 games due to injury last season and 32 games the year before. His health is certainly something to monitor going forward, and could have potentially played a role in Bradley receiving less on the open market than Boston ultimately gave him. His new deal creates cap issues for the Celtics going forward if they’re keen on re-signing Rajon Rondo after 2014-2015, too. Danny Ainge will likely need to shuffle his roster if Rondo and a max free agent are part of Boston’s plans.
You never know with free agency, though. Perhaps the Celtics got wind of the Sixers offering Bradley a similar contract and acted accordingly. Four years and $32 million isn’t a drastic overpay if it’s one at all, and Boston obviously has hopes of re-making its roster; the cap concerns might not be there a year from now.
What matters most is that the Celtics got their man at a reasonable price. Bradley is a core piece of Boston’s future now. It will be fascinating to see what other players emerge as such along with him.
*Statistical support for this post courtesy of nba.com/stats.
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