The Celtics are at a crossroads with Avery Bradley, who is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Bradley is the kind of high-ceiling talent who could easily form a dominant backcourt when paired with Rajon Rondo. He's coming off a season in which he posted career-highs in minutes per game (31), rebounds (3.8) and points (14.9). He could just as easily spend the rest of his career playing 50-60 games per season. Bradley, in his Celtics career, has thus far played in only 64% of the Celtics games (including playoffs).
History is riddled with teams who gave up on players too soon, only to watch them flourish in a new city. The Celtics would like to avoid that dubious distinction.
Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely and Jimmy Toscano join Kyle Draper on Celtics Talk TV to discuss Bradley's future with the Celtics.
The question on the table is, would you bring Bradley back at all costs?
"No, not at all costs," says Blakely. "That’s crazy. There’s no one on this team that went 25-57 that you’d bring back at all costs.
"I think at the end of the day Avery is looking at something along the $7-9M range."
Bradley offers the Celtics a tantalizing backcourt pairing for years to come, but would it have enough firepower?
"He’s a 40% jump shooter," says Toscano. "I think that’s a little low when you need offense, especially when you have a point guard like [Rajon] Rondo. I just don’t think there’s enough offense there at the guard position... The biggest thing is he just can’t stay on the court. If he plays 60 games a year, that’s his average now."
The injuries could be the reason Bradley comes back to Boston.
"[Bradley's injury history is] going to come into play when teams are looking at how much to pay him," says Blakely. "You may look at him and say he’s an $8-9 million player, but you’re probably going to offer him about a million to two less than that because you know he’s probably going to miss 10-15-20 games.
"It makes you proceed with caution in really opening up the vault for him, but if we’re talking sheer talent, he’s worth it. He’s more than worth it."
If teams prove hesitant to pay up for Bradley's services, it's the Celtics who would likely benefit. If the player and team could find some kind of shorter-term arrangement - Toscano suggests 3 years and $22 million - it would give Bradley an opportunity to boost his value, prove he can stay healthy, and hit the market as a 26-year-old free agent and really cash in.