Bass: 'I would love to be back here'

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Bass: 'I would love to be back here'

MIAMI While so much of the talk following Boston's 101-88 season-ending loss to the Miami Heat centered around the Big Three's demise, there's another key player for the C's who will have to make some tough decisions this summer as well.

Brandon Bass is under contract for next season, but he can opt-out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.

That would open him up to a slew of teams that are likely to be willing to pay him more than the 4.25 million he's set to earn during the 2012-2013 season.

Just to get a feel on his market value, put it like this.

Former Celtic Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, who was traded to Orlando in exchange for Bass, inked a four-year, 25.7 million deal with the Magic.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't believe Bass, at the very least, is worth the kind of money that Davis is hauling in.

The only thing Bass is sure about when it comes to next season, is that he wants to remain a Boston Celtic.

"I would love to be back here," said Bass, who had 16 points on Saturday. "For any player, this organization is the organization that you want to play for."

For most of the season, Bass was known primarily as a mid-range shooter who every now and then, could play with power going to the basket.

Both Bass and C's head coach Doc Rivers have talked about his growth throughout this season in becoming a more complete player.

Fans saw just how far Bass has come with the Celtics when he was asked to begin Game 7 guarding three-time league MVP LeBron James.

Even when Bass struggled earlier this season in grasping the Celtics defensive concepts, Rivers maintained through that time that Bass could hold his own as a one-on-one individual defender.

There's holding your own, and then there's holding your own against James.

Of course James still got his points on Saturday - 14 in the first half, 31 for the game - but the bulk of them in the first half came from the free throw line and most of the fouls committed where not by Bass.

Meanwhile, Bass did his part to match James point-for-point as he led the C's with 14 first-half points which was a big part of Boston's 53-46 halftime lead.

"They asked me to guard him," Bass said. "I was just going to go out there and give it all for my team. It didn't matter who I was guarding. I just wanted to give my best."

And if the C's have their way, Bass will get another opportunity to deliver his best next season in Boston.

"This group was like family," Bass said. "We had fights and ups and downs, but at the end of the day we all fought for each other. I'm just grateful to be a part of this group."

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup