Bass to hit free agency, hopes to remain with Celtics


Bass to hit free agency, hopes to remain with Celtics

BOSTON You can now officially add Brandon Bass to the list of free agent targets for the Celtics.

While there has been considerable speculation as to what Bass will do this summer, his agent tells that the 6-foot-8 forward plans to not opt-in to the final year of his contract, and thus test the free agent waters.

However, all indications are that Bass is hoping to return to the Celtics with a multi-year deal.

"Oh absolutely," his agent Tony Dutt said when asked if Boston was his client's first choice. "Without question, he would love to go back."

The decision to not pick up the final year of his contract, worth 4.25 million, is driven by Bass' desire to sign a long-term deal with the C's.

Following Boston's Game 7 loss to Miami, he told reporters about his desire to return next season to Boston.

"I would love to be back here," he said at the time. "The fans here are unbelievable. For any player, this organization is the organization that you want to play for."

But Bass has been in this league long enough to know that ultimately, a player has to make decisions that in the long run are best for him and his family. Hopefully those decisions result in the player playing for the team of his choice, too.

The only issue left to resolve -- and it's a big one -- is determining Bass' value.

He was due to earn 4.25 million next season.

But in all likelihood, the Celtics would have to offer him something that at the very least was in the same neighborhood or higher, of the four-year, 26 million contract signed by Glen Davis when the C's sent him via sign-and-trade to Orlando for Bass.

Bass has been reluctant to say much about his contract status.

"I'm no different than anyone else," Bass told recently. "I'm going to do what's best for me and my family. Hopefully that'll keep me here in Boston. We'll see."

When Bass signed a four-year, 16 million deal with Orlando in 2009, Dutt said his client could have signed elsewhere for more money. But both agreed that at the time, Orlando was the best fit.

"But I wanted to protect Brandon if things didn't work out there, or he continued to improve which we knew he would," said Dutt, explaining why he wanted Bass' fourth year to be an option. "It's part of how this business works."

For the C's, Bass averaged a career-high 12.5 points per game and 6.2 rebounds, which was also a career high.

Nowhere was Bass' growth with the Celtics more apparent than the start of Game 7 when the Celtics assigned him to begin the game defending LeBron James -- an unfathomed concept at the start of the season.

Even when he struggled at times during the regular season with his defensive assignments and rotations, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers remained firm in his belief that Bass would be fine.

"He's already a very good individual defender," Rivers said earlier this season. "If you told Brandon to just guard his guy, he's probably our best at that because he can move his feet extremely well and he can switch on smaller players."

Throughout his career, Bass has made steady strides in his all-around game.

Dutt sees that trend continuing . . . hopefully in Boston.

"We'll see this summer," Dutt said. "All indications I've been given is that the interest in getting something done goes both ways, so we'll see. But Boston is definitely where Brandon wants to be."

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”