OFFSEASON

Bass hopes to bring energy, scoring off bench

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Bass hopes to bring energy, scoring off bench

WALTHAM When it became clear that Orlando was trading Brandon Bass to Boston for Bass' former college teammate and fellow SEC Player of the Year, Glen Davis, Bass solicited his old friend for some friendly advice about his new team, the Boston Celtics.

"Davis told me, he said, 'You're gonna love Doc Rivers,' " Bass recalled. "That's the main thing he said."

For Bass to hear that did come as a surprise.

He knew Davis, a second-round pick in the 2007 NBA draft, was landing in an ideal situation in Boston.

"When he first got here, I was in Dallas and I told him, 'Bro, you the luckiest man on earth,' " Bass said. "Getting an opportunity to play with KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, I just knew he was in a great position and that year they won a championship."

Bass hopes to have a similar end result in his first season with the C's.

While the Celtics will certainly miss Davis, they believe Bass has the talent and skills to more than compensate for Davis' past contributions.

"Brandon is just a real high character, high energy player," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations."Athletic; he's a fantastic mid-range shooter; just real active player with a lot of athleticism and energy. We've always admired who he is, as much as what he can do on the court."

The mid-range jumper, a big part of Bass' game, is something he has spent most of his life working to improve.

"I just want to continue to improve it, extend my range," he said. "Just constantly improve."

To do so, Bass has to play - something that didn't happen as often as expected when he signed a four-year, 16 million contract with the Orlando Magic in 2009.

However, the C's have seen first-hand just how effective he can be when given minutes.

When Boston and Orlando met in the 2010 Eastern Conference finals, the C's jumped out to a commanding 3-0 series lead. After winning games 1 and 2 on the road by a combined seven points, the Celtics whipped the Magic by 23 points at the TD Garden.

In those three games, Bass played less than six minutes - all coming in the 23-point blowout loss.

"I want to be one of the best, so I continue to work and stay ready," he told CSNNE.com at the time. "I'm never going to stop working and try to improve myself. The situation I'm in, it's a tough one."

Rivers acknowledges that seeing Bass on the bench in Orlando was indeed a good thing for the C's.

"He's one of those guys you really didn't want them to play," Rivers said. "There's guys on teams where, you read the paper, and you hear the coach say, 'He's not in our rotation.' And you're like, 'Phew! That's great!' And then when they play him and he started scoring, you're hoping no one saw it - but they did."

Bass' energy and hustle helped the Magic claw back into the series with wins in Games 4 and 5, before the Celtics ultimately put them away with a 96-84 Game 6 win at the Garden.

He plans to bring that same brand of basketball to the C's this season.

And his transition has been aided in part by Davis, whose words of advice to Bass were echoed many times on Monday. In terms of what to expect in Boston, Bass remembers Davis telling him repeatedly, 'I'm gonna love Doc.'"

And what did he tell Davis he had in store with his new coach, Stan Van Gundy, in Orlando?

Bass, after a brief smile, responded, "Just go and do your thing, man; just do your thing; that's all."

OFFSEASON

Kevin Durant solidifying invitations for free agent meetings, including Celtics

Kevin Durant solidifying invitations for free agent meetings, including Celtics

The wheels of the Kevin Durant free agent train have been set in motion.

"Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations" for meetings with a list of six teams, which includes the Boston Celtics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. The other teams listed are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and Thunder. The Nuggets, Knicks, Lakers, Rockets, and Wizards could "could still find audiences with him," but they are considered outsiders.

Wojnarowski says the Thunder remain the frontrunners, but "the Warriors have Durant's attention."

If Durant chooses the Warriors, it could happen very quickly. Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes could sign an offer sheet for a contract on July 1, which would mean the Warriors would have only have three days to match the deal. They'd likely need a decision from Durant before then, or they'd risk losing one of their valuable pieces without being able to fill his role.

Durant plans on making his decision before July 9 anyway, according to Wojnarowski, because that's when he's leaving for a publicity tour in the Far East.

The fact the Celtics are even on Durant's primary list shouldn't come as a surprise considering his actions after his game in Boston against the Celtics earlier this year. They do have tough competition though. Both the Warriors and Heat have the cap space to absorb Durant's likely max contract worth about $26.4 million, and the Spurs can easily create the space if necessary.

The Clippers are interesting though, because they'd have to deal one of their stars (Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, or Blake Griffin) to free the cap space to sign Durant. If he does choose the Clippers, maybe Danny Ainge could help Doc Rivers swing a deal. How about something involving Blake Griffin and Jae Crowder?

But the Celtics have an edge. They're the only team listed that can sign two max contract free agents. If Durant wants to play with his buddy Al Horford, or anyone else for that matter, the Celtics can make it happen. How about a 2007 draft class reunion with Durant, Horford, and Jared Dudley? It's an odd trio, but Dudley has already expressed interest in joining the Celtics.

No matter what happens though, the Celtics are in the race. Fans might be disappointed after Thursday night, but we're just getting started, folks.

Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA