Written by Brian Jones
Twitter – @JonesyBOS
There is no denying the value of Avery Bradley to this Celtics team when he is healthy. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and his offense has improved every season. Chris Mannix believes Bradley is the most underrated player in the league and I agree. However, there are just so many factors that lead me to believe he will be traded.
1. Contract Situation
Bradley was signed to a 4 year contract worth $32,000,000. Believe it or not there were many people that thought that was a bad deal for the Celtics at the time. Now it’s clear how much of a steal that contract was. However, he only has one more year left on the contract and he certainly won’t be that cheap again. He will likely command a max contract or something close to it and somebody will give him a lot of money. The Celtics will have a tough time paying him considering they will also have to pay Isaiah Thomas a max contract. If they don’t see themselves winning a ring next year it may be smart to trade him before he leaves in free agency and they get nothing in return.
2. Injury History
I’m sure you have hear the expression “the best ability is availability”. Well, Avery Bradley hasn’t been available a few times when the Celtics needed him the most. Having one of your key players injured during a playoff series often leads to an early exit. That was the case last year when Bradley was injured against the Hawks and that led to a first round exit. The team might consider replacing Bradley with a more reliable player to try and avoid another disappointing playoff run.
3. So Many Guards
The Celtics currently have Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier. All four of these players will be getting significant minutes next year and Boston will likely draft a guard with the Brooklyn pick if they decide to keep it. They won’t use a top 4 pick on a guy and not play him. Somebody will have to be moved to free up minutes for the young guys and all signs are pointing to Bradley being that guy.
4. Needs at Other Positions
It’s no secret that this roster has some glaring needs. For one, they need another go to scorer to take some pressure off of Isaiah Thomas late in games. Also, they need a big man to pair with Horford that can rebound and protect the rim. A guy like Bogut seems to be a natural fit but he’s old, injury prone, and can’t score. The only way to get a good all around big man appears to be a trade considering a weak free agent class and guard heavy draft. A package of Bradley and other players/picks could be enough to get Boston a big man to take them to the next level.
5. Trade Value
So many teams in the league would love to have Avery Bradley. His skill set is extremely useful in today’s NBA. He can defend the elite guards in the league better than probably anybody else and he can shoot. He is the perfect complimentary player. Considering he has one year left on his deal he will most likely go to a contender that is going all in. Teams in that situation typically give up a lot of future assets to win now. Imagine how much a team such as Cleveland or Toronto could use him. They, among other teams, would happily give up their best young assets and picks to get him.
All of these reasons tell me that this offseason is the perfect time to trade Avery Bradley. Of course Danny Ainge won’t just trade him for the sake of trading him. But if the right offer presents itself that makes this team better in the long-term, expect Danny to jump on it with no hesitation. Avery Bradley has been an excellent player for Boston but his time here may be coming to an end so enjoy it while he’s still here.