The Boston Celtics have been one of the busiest teams in the league thus far in the 2012 NBA offseason. While the most newsworthy piece of information out of the Celtics camp so far has probably been losing Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, Boston has reached agreements with three of its own free agents (Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green) and has agreed to a deal with Jason Terry.
This article will focus on Bass and Terry, both of whom verbally consented to three-year contracts with the C's. Bass' deal was worth $20 million. The Celtics used the mid-level exception on Terry, resulting in a $15.6 million contract for the former Dallas Maverick.
The question is, did Boston overpay for either of these two players?
My answer: no.
Let's start with Bass.
The C's acquired Bass in a trade with the Orlando Magic that sent Glen Davis packing before the 2012 campaign began. It turned out to be an outstanding move for the Celtics, as Davis had worn out his welcome in green and Bass was simply the more efficient player.
The 27-year-old forward averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in his first season in Beantown while shooting a rather crisp 48 percent from the floor. His mid-range jumper became a deadly weapon in the pick-and-roll game, especially considering Garnett is also a phenomenal mid-range jump shooter. This gave Rajon Rondo two reliable weapons offensively, and those jump shots became an integral part of Boston's offense.
Of course, as it is very well-known, the C's struggled mightily offensively this past year, ranking 24th in the league in offensive efficiency during the regular season. That made Bass all the more important to the Celtics, as he helped fight off the frequent scoring droughts that Boston experienced in 2012.
This was made very evident during several points of the playoffs, particularly in Game 5 of the second round against the Philadelphia 76ers when Bass exploded for 18 of his 27 points in the third quarter to give the C's a 3-2 series lead. Who could forget that primal scream that Bass emitted after one of his vicious throw-downs in the third quarter of that game (you can hear it at the 45 second mark in that video link)? To me, it is one of the lasting images of the Celtics' playoff run. Bass also had a strong Game 7 against the Heat in the conference finals to boot.
Another important note? Bass shot over 92 percent from the free-throw line during the postseason, and over the course of his career, Bass has converted on 128 of his 139 playoff free throw attempts, good for...you guessed it: 92 percent. Talk about a model of consistency from the charity stripe. That type of thing is invaluable to a team in the playoffs.
It wasn't just Bass' offense that was important to Boston, either. Although he was not known as a good defender when he came over from Orlando, Bass did an admirable job on that side of the floor this year for the C's. Of course, it helps to have K.G. playing alongside of you, but Bass even occasionally drew the assignment of covering LeBron James, and he valiantly held his own.
The point to all of this? Bass was worth every cent of the contract that the Celtics gave him. He provides so much value to the team that Boston could not afford to lose him.
Now, on to Terry.
This is a guy that has always reminded me of Sam Cassell in that he is one of the most fearless, clutch players in the game. Remember that back-breaking three he hit in LeBron's grill as the shot clock expired in Game 5 of the 2011 Finals? Or how about those nine threes he hit against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Mavericks' series-clinching Game 4 in the second round of that same postseason?
Those types of shots and performances have become routine for Terry, and I expect him to bring that same big-game mentality to the C's.
It's also very important to note that Terry is essentially going to be Allen's replacement. Danny Ainge knew that he needed to prepare for the potential departure of Ray, and he did so by going out and landing the man known as JET. The best part? Terry is probably a more effective player than Allen at this stage of their careers.
Unlike Allen, Terry can create his own shot by way of slashing to the rim. He is also much, much better in transition than Allen, and it's going to be fun watching him get out on the break with Rondo.
Terry can score points in a hurry, and I expect the Celtics to have much fewer bouts of offensive ineptness this coming season with him on board.
There aren't many players I would prefer to have on my team over Terry going into a big game. I always loved him as a Maverick. Now, I'll love him even more as a Celtic.
To conclude, I think Ainge paid Bass and Terry exactly what they deserved to be paid. He may have overpaid for Green, but that is a story for another day. As far as the former two players go, I can confidently say that I think they will earn every cent of their contracts as members of the Boston Celtics, and they are two of the many reasons why I cannot wait for the 2012-13 campaign begin.
Welcome back, Brandon, and welcome aboard, Jason.
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