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The first stop on this train around the schoolyard is the Avery Bradley signing.
While we won't need to call Danny Ainge's parents or have them sign off on his report card, this could have gone better for the Boston Celtics.
The skinny is that Boston is bringing back their 23-year-old guard, whom they drafted No. 19 overall back in 2010. He was a restricted free agent, and Ainge quickly locked him up to a four-year deal worth $32 million. While the deal isn't final just yet, it was reportedly agreed upon on July 2, per Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
That July 2 date is important because of how early it was. Boston agreed upon terms with the Bradley camp less than a week after drafting the similarly styled Marcus Smart No. 6 overall. Except Smart is bigger and stronger and actually capable of handling the basketball and running an offense, at least at the college level.
Bradley was a solid player for the Celtics over the last few years, but he struggled mightily to stay on the court. Since missing significant playoff time in 2012, he has played in 110 of a possible 164 regular season games. That is 67 percent, which, since we are grading here, is a D+.
There is potential in Bradley, though, so this grade won't be as poor as a D+. He was an All-NBA defender in 2013 and brought his three-point shooting from 31.7 in 2012-13 to 39.7 this past season. His most valuable skill is something that can't be taught, and that is effort.
Still, this signing seems almost unnecessary, altogether or at least in its timeliness. Altogether, Boston drafted Smart, who was among the more NBA-ready picks available this summer and could certainly give you everything Bradley does and potentially more. It is the timeliness, though, that is really off-putting.
Boston owed Bradley nothing. They drafted him and crafted him. They were patient and when it was time, allowed him to surpass Ray Allen. There should have been no rush in that sense to get this deal done. Not to mention the fact that Boston had matching rights. Was another team really going after Bradley hard enough to offer more than $8 million annually?
Ainge sometimes does this thing where he feels it is his responsibility to lock up a player before anyone else can speak to them. Jeff Green's contract seems almost reasonable now, but coming off heart surgery, Ainge locked Green up immediately to a long-term deal worth more annually than he was making prior to the health concern.
This Bradley situation is dangerously similar to that. What is keeping Ainge from some inquisitive looks is that Bradley is a solid, proven player, playing at a position that is as scarce as they come in the league. Quality off-guards are hard to come by, so if Boston had to overpay for one, that is alright.
They just didn't have to do it so quickly.