With just one week remaining until the Feb.20 trade deadline, it’s all been quiet on the trade front lately for the Boston Celtics. Despite the silence, it appears that the Celtics will be one of the most active teams at this year’s deadline and we continue our breakdown of some of the most likely candidates with young Celtics’ guard Avery Bradley.
Avery Bradley was drafted by the Celtics 19th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. The 6’2”, 23-year-old shooting guard has quickly become one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and his on-ball defense causes havoc for guards around the league. In 2013-14 Bradley is in the midst of a career year as the Celtics rebuild, pushing more of the offensive load onto his shoulders. In 46 games this season as a starter, Bradley has averaged 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and one steal per game. His offensive output has improved dramatically and he has often led the Celtics in scoring. He moves off the ball exceptionally well, finding open space for mid-range jumpshots and cuts to the basket. He is an athletically gifted player, despite being undersized for his position and can finish above the rim in transition as well as producing some highlight reel blocked shots over the past couple of seasons.
Avery Bradley is a fierce competitor and his aggressiveness on the defensive end can disrupt the entire flow of an opposition’s offense. He was rewarded last season by being named on the All-NBA Defensive Second Team and appears likely to rack up a number of those honors throughout his career. Bradley has reached the end of his four-year rookie contract and after failing to reach an agreement on an extension with the Celtics he will be a free agent at year’s end.
Why They Would Trade Him:
As stated above, Avery Bradley becomes a free agent at the end of this season and with that comes a great deal of uncertainty for Danny Ainge and the Celtics. After attempting to come to an agreement on an extension earlier in the season, they were unsuccessful and the Celtics would now run the risk of another team throwing a huge contract at Bradley and being forced to either match or lose their up and coming guard for nothing. Still on his rookie contract and at just 23 years old, Bradley would have a great deal of value around the league with his elite defensive skills to a team willing to lock him up long term, but without the cap space this season might be willing to move some big pieces to bring him on board. We have seen Ainge pull the trigger on trades after being unable to reach extension agreements with players before and if he thinks Bradley will be offered more than he wants to match, we could see the young guard on the move in the next week.
Teams That Would Be Interested:
The Pistons opened the chequebook and loaded up on talent in the offseason to try and return to the perennial playoff team that they once were. The crowded front court and mix of talent has yet to wield the results that they envisioned and they may need to make an adjustment to get the most out of their young stars. With Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond seemingly there for the long-term, the Pistons would love to have a defense-minded guard like Avery Bradley that does not need the ball in his hand to be effective. The Pistons have a rich history of defensive guards and Bradley could be an instant favorite in Detroit. The Pistons face a similar dilemma as the Celtics with big man Greg Monroe, they could potentially look to swap their problems at the deadline or the Celtics could also target talented rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Nuggets must be disappointed with how the 2013-14 campaign has gone for them thus far and they may be looking to shake things up at the trade deadline. With Avery Bradley’s speed, athleticism and ability to move without the ball he would be a tremendous fit in Denver’s high paced offense and his defense would give the team an entirely new dimension. The Nuggets have a number of pieces that alone, or packaged together could tempt Ainge to make a move including Evan Fournier, Kenneth Faried, Quincy Miller, Jordan Hamilton and of course the always valuable draft picks. Denver definitely appears to be one team to keep an eye on at the deadline.
Things just seem to be a mess in Cleveland right now. There have been negative reports about the locker room, recently added former All-Star Luol Deng has expressed his concern over how things are run and it looks like they may have to take another step back before they can truly look to go forward. Avery Bradley has shown himself to be nothing short of a tireless worker and his defensive attitude would be a great fit for Coach Mike Brown. We have heard on numerous occasions that young guard Dion Waiters is not fitting in on the Cavaliers and perhaps the two teams could look to swap their two guards at the deadline. Waiters still has a number of years remaining on his rookie contract so the Celtics would not have the contract concerns they do with Bradley. While he does not bring the defense of Bradley, he is a talented, aggressive offensive player who could grow playing alongside All-Star Rajon Rondo.