Agent denies reports, Bradley continues play in Israel

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Agent denies reports, Bradley continues play in Israel

The plan was for Avery Bradley to spend a few months overseas, get a few good runs in, and then return to the Boston Celtics once the NBA lockout was over.

But an internet report indicated his time with Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem (1-2) of the Israeli League was ending after just a couple of games played.

Not true, says Bradley's agent.

"He played last night and had 21 points," his agent, Mitchell Butler of Lagardre Unlimited, told CSNNE.com on Monday. "He's still under contract with them."

Butler added that there have not been any talks between him and Hapoel Migdal about the 20-year-old Bradley being released.

"As of now, they're happy with his performance," said Butler, well aware of how things can change quickly when American players are overseas.

In two games, both losses, Bradley has averaged 14 points while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent on 3s.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard signed a one-year deal with Hapoel Migdal, although Butler said his contract does have an out-clause that would allow Bradley to return to the C's when the NBA lockout ended.

In addition to a report indicating Bradley would be released, it also indicated that Hapoel Migdal would replace him with former Celtics guard Marcus Banks.

Dubi Pick, a senior writer for Eurobasket.com who is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, tweeted on Sunday that the deal to get rid of Bradley and acquire Banks is, "still in its diapers."

Regardless of whether Bradley is cut loose or not, the idea that it's even a topic of discussion speaks to how big a season this is for him and the Celtics. After being injured most of his first NBA season, it took a while before Bradley got an opportunity to show what he could do on the floor.

He showed flashes at times of being a dynamic combo guard who could contribute in the future at both guard positions. Bradley's defense really stood out, something the C's believe will be his calling card moving forward.

The biggest challenge for Bradley - for all young players, truthfully - is to become consistent. And that tends to come with consistent minutes. But therein lies the whole chicken-before-the-egg dilemma. Which should come first, consistent minutes or consistent play?

Depending on what the Celtics do via free agency, Bradley's playing time might not be a question of if, but how much. Especially when you consider the season will be shorter, which means there's less time for new faces to learn what Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants at both ends of the floor.

Bradley knows as well as anyone on the roster, how difficult it can be to gain Rivers' trust when he's never coached you before. The one thing Bradley does have going for him, is that his strength - defense - is exactly what Rivers loves most in a player.

Being known primarily as a defender is a role that Bradley embraces, well aware it's the best he can offer at this point to benefit the Celtics.

"Whatever they need me to do to win, I'm willing to do," Bradley told CSNNE.com this summer during the Impact Basketball League in Las Vegas. "Score. Pass. Rebound. Defend. It doesn't matter to me; I just want to help this team win, in whatever way I can."

Which is why the idea of him playing overseas during the lockout seemed like a good one for him individually, as well for the Celtics down the road.

After a less-than-stellar debut (seven points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field) in a 89-68 drubbing at the hands of Galil Gilboa, Bradley bounced back with a big game on Sunday with 21 points on 6-for-9 shooting in a 95-93 loss to Ironi Ashkelon.

"He's trying to make the adjustment over there, to everything that he's seeing because it's nothing like what he's used to in the NBA," Butler said. "But he's getting better, getting more comfortable with everything. He'll be fine."

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.