West returns to Boston after choosing Indiana

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West returns to Boston after choosing Indiana

WALTHAM When you come to the TD Garden as part of the visiting team, you expect to get booed. A lot.

Maybe not as much as Kim Kardashian's ex -- to some, he's also known as the Nets' Kris Humphries -- but they'll let you know there's no love for you here.

You can expect the reaction to David West likely to be somewhere in the middle.

The C's were on the verge of a sign-and-trade for West during the offseason. But West turned down the C's offer, and instead inked a two-year, 20 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.

There were reports that at least one Celtics player, Ray Allen, was bothered by West's decision.

"Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in," Allen told ESPNBoston.com. "He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to, 'What is a championship worth to you?' "

Shortly after that, West explained his decision in choosing the Pacers over the Celtics.

"What they're dealing with in Boston is a lot deeper than David West," he told reporters last month. "When I was figuring out what I was going to do, everybody that knows me knows that I'm a thought person. I don't rush to judgment and the decisions I make are well thought-out. This was a well thought-out decision on my part."

West added, "There's a reason why I'm in Indiana and not anywhere else. This team is young and deep with some really good pieces. And it's deep."

Although Allen may have some hard feelings towards West and his decision, coach Doc Rivers said West's decision didn't bother him at all.

"I had no problem with it," Rivers said. "He had two good decisions. He had a team that he could look at, us as a team that's trying to win it right now. Or he has a team in Indiana that's going to be in the thick of it as well, and they're young so he can grow with them. To me, he was in a win-win situation. It was a great place to be."

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.