Bradley: 'This is where I want to be'

Bradley: 'This is where I want to be'
May 22, 2014, 3:30 pm
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BOSTON — Avery Bradley is in Texas right now, getting ready to start the day the way he does on most days this time of year - with a workout.

This offseason is like previous ones for Bradley, who sees it as an opportunity to strengthen his body, enhance his skills and return to Boston with a game that's bigger, better and stronger than ever.

Still, this summer is unlike any other because of his impending restricted free-agent status.

And while no one knows how the Celtics and their rebuilding efforts will play out, Bradley reiterated to that he wants to be part of it.

"Of course this is where I want to be," Bradley told in a phone interview on Thursday. "I've been in Boston for four years and I love it; I love the fans, the front office. I definitely want to be back."

There's no mistaking Bradley's loyalty to the Celtics franchise and this city. That's why he'll have multiple basketball camps in Boston this summer for the first time.

But Bradley has seen how business often trumps loyalty in the NBA.

He saw his then-coach Doc Rivers leave last summer for greener pastures - and more power - to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Bradley also said goodbye last summer to a pair of his biggest influences, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who were traded away to Brooklyn.

And this past season, he paired on the floor with Jordan Crawford, who shocked many with his ability to play the point so effectively.

Crawford's reward?

He was traded to Golden State where his playing time was limited, at best.

Courtney Lee who played the same position as Bradley, was also shipped out of town (Memphis), despite playing his best basketball in a Celtics uniform.

That's why when Bradley speaks about coming back to Boston, he talks in tones of guarded optimism.

"I know that this is a business and things happen, things change," Bradley told "But I'm not worried or focused on that. I'm just trying to work on my game so that I can be even better next year."

The emergence of Bradley as a reliable shooter was among the few bright spots for the Celtics this past season.

And even as we saw him look for his shot more, Bradley's offensive repertoire expanded before our very eyes.

Initially he was a cut-to-the-basket and corner 3-ball shooter. From there, he began to look for - and make - more pull-up jumpers in transition or in half-court sets. He then stepped his game up to include a 3-point shot from other parts of the court besides the corner.

For the season, Bradley averaged career highs in scoring (14.9 points) and rebounds (3.8) to go with 1.4 assists and of course, an elite brand of defensive play.

So, what's the next step for Bradley?

"More free throws," said Bradley who averaged a career-high 1.9 free throw attempts per game last season. "I need to work on getting to the free-throw line more. That'll help me and my teammates. I'm trying to get there at least five times a game."

And with that, he ended the conversation and went to the gym, focused on strengthening his body and expanding a game that he's hoping will be back in a Celtics uniform next season.