Davis plans to explore all free agency options


Davis plans to explore all free agency options

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn MEDFORD As Glen Davis took in a little shade on a rather warm Monday afternoon, the winner of the ReMax of New England "Home Court" makeover -- the Donlan family -- were also presented with a pair of jersey No. 11s with the 'Donlan' name on the back.

Davis, who wears No. 11 for the C's, chuckled when he saw the jerseys.

"They're trying to get rid of me already," quipped Davis.

The future of the 6-foot-8 forward, an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, is very much in doubt as a member of the Green team.

Several factors will come into play as to whether he re-signs with the C's, among them being his relationship with coach Doc Rivers.

Throughout his four years with the Celtics, Davis and Rivers have had their differences with their pseudo war-of-words playing out inside the locker room as well as publicly.

But here's the thing.

Rivers has proven himself to be one of the more respected head coaches in the NBA, a motivator whose methods can rub some players -- okay, young players -- the wrong way at times.

And for all the ups and downs that may come about with Davis, he, too, has proven his worth in the eyes of many throughout the NBA as a high-energy big man who usually plays his best in the biggest games of the season -- the playoffs.

Since the two came together in 2007 (Davis was part of the blockbuster trade that brought Ray Allen to the C's) each has needed the other at times in order for the Celtics to be one of the more successful NBA franchises over the past four seasons.

That faith has been tested by both men at times, but it seemed to be at its low point near the end of last season's playoff run that ended with a second-round loss to the Miami Heat in just five games. That series, much like the previous one against New York, was one in which Davis played poorly.

"I don't know what it was," Rivers told WEEI.com recently when asked about Davis' struggles in the playoffs. "To me, it was more in between his ears and his play. The whole contract thing affected his play. I thought he had the wrong focus at times; scoring was way too important to him."

After averaging a career-high 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, both career highs in the regular season, Davis slipped to just 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while playing about eight minutes less per game in the playoffs.

When Davis reflects back on what went wrong for him in the postseason, he blames himself for not being mentally tough enough to handle the pressure.

"When somebody presents something to me or something happens, still be in the moment and what you truly need to do," Davis said he has to remind himself of going forward. "That's what, last year, that's what messed me up. I wasn't mentally strong enough to handle what was in front of me. Things that happened, I would get distracted or get stressed out about the way things were handled or something like that. I don't need to worry about that. I need to be mentally strong, and just need to go out there and do what I know I can do, and that's play the game of basketball."

There are differences between Davis and Rivers, for sure.

But when Davis sees how Rivers and Rajon Rondo have managed to co-exist after some rocky moments early on, there's hope that a return to the C's might indeed bring about a more harmonious relationship between him and Rivers.

"Just like Rondo, he was given an opportunity to play the game," Davis said. "He believes Doc's methods, and Doc believed in him. Through his highs and lows, Doc still believed in him. No matter if he's playing great, no matter if he's playing bad, Doc still believed in him."

Davis would like a relationship like that someday with Rivers, or whoever his next coach will be.

And that's part of the challenge Davis faces in this offseason of uncertainty.

As much as Rivers drives him crazy, he knows in his heart of hearts that Rivers is simply trying to get the best out of him.

While Davis certainly doesn't always like Rivers' methods, when you look at the success Rivers has had with others such as Rondo, there's no mistaking that Rivers' way does indeed work.

A change of scenery doesn't necessarily guarantee his coach-player relationship will be better.

And so while Boston remains in the picture for Davis' services, by no means can one assume that the Celtics have the inside track.

When asked on Monday by CSNNE.com whether Boston was his first choice, Davis replied, "My choice is what's best for my family and career. That's what I concentrate on. I love being here in Boston. But if it's not going to benefit me and my family, I'll pick up and play elsewhere.

"That's my concern. That's the only thing I'm focused on now; my family's well-being and my career as a player . . . what situation is going to help Glen Davis be Glen Davis."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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.