Boston Celtics Team President Danny Ainge has taken a lot of grief and justifiably so for the deal he made last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder; the Thunder received Celtics starting center Kendrick Perkins in exchange for two players who are no longer on the Boston roster. Center Nenad Krstic returned to Europe over the summer and is now playing in the Euro-League; while forward Jeff Green was diagnosed with a heart defect and the Celtics released him after his surgery early in the campaign.
That may have not been one of the moves that Danny is most proud of during his time running the team he played a good part of his career as a player with; however Ainge made a trade just before the campaign started that has really helped the club this year; that has been far less publicized. The Celtics executive was able to pull off a sign and trade deal that sent Glen Davis to the Magic in return for Orlando forward Brandon Bass.
Even before Bass ever put on a green and white uniform; it was a great deal for Boston, as they sent a player who no longer wanted to back-up Kevin Garnett (that statement alone should tell all you need to know about Big Baby) for a quality player. It worked out even better once the “Super Bass-O-Matic” started to play with his new teammates.
While Davis has taken a step back after putting up career high numbers last year; Bass has put together the best season he has had since joining the Association, back in 2005. He has averaged 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per contest. Even more importantly, he was able to step into the Celtics starting lineup when center Jermaine O’Neal was lost for the year due to injury. Having Bass at the four-spot has allowed Boston to use Kevin Garnett as the center for the club as he has started 34 of the Celtics 54 games this season.
The “Boston Globe” reported Tuesday that the big man has a player option that would pay him $4 million for next season; a deal he might think is beneath him after the year he had with Boston. That would make him an unrestricted Free Agent; which means the Celtics would have no better shot than any other team in the Association. The one factor weighing in the Celtics favor is the fact that he has gotten more minutes as well as more respect than he was receiving from Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
Bass told reporters “I’m grateful for it, man, because I’m getting an opportunity here to grow as a player in this league. And it’s something I always wanted since my first year, just be able to develop and grow. Here I’m able to grow at a faster rate and I hope I continue because I feel like I got a bunch of different things that I haven’t shown that I could to help the team in certain areas.”
For what ever reason the “Super Bass-O-Matic” fell out of favor with the Orlando coach after he left the Dallas Mavericks to sign a long-term pact with the Magic. That has been far from the case in Boston, as he has earned the admiration and respect from head coach Doc Rivers as well as his teammates. The team knows that they will have to lean on him heavily in the Post Season and they believe he is up to the task.
Ainge now has to complete his mission with Bass; he was able to acquire the big man and now he has to make sure that he can lock him up. From what he has shown this season, he maybe able to join point guard Rajon Rondo as building blocks as the team goes through a transitional phase over the next couple of seasons.
Bass is a huge fan of the club’s All-Star point guard; which could be another reason that could keep the forward in Boston. He told reporters “I want to be here a long time playing alongside Rondo. (But) to be honest, I am not that type of guy to even be thinking about things like (next season) because I just try to get better every day.”
Although those words have to be very comforting to “Celtics Nation” he made his statements during a time of being with his teammates and coach every day. Whether he will have the same sentiments after the club splits up for the season and he is alone with his agent, remains to be seen. Boston can not afford to let this talented, young player get away; that is why it is imperative for Ainge to pull out all the stops to have the “Super Bass-O-Matic” back in a Celtics uniform again next season.