Brandon Bass turned his jersey number (30) on Thursday. There were times this season when he looked ready to emerge as a consistent veteran leader for the Boston Celtics on the court, and there were times when he looked lost and confused as he did in the round one playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This makes it especially hard to speculate whether the Celtics will be interested in bringing him back this year, as he enters unrestricted free agency. It's even a tough read for Bass himself.
#Celtics Brandon Bass: it's up to Danny Ainge what happens next year, but Boston has been good to me and it would be good to be back.— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) April 26, 2015
Bass has been down this road before. Now a ten year NBA veteran, Bass has played for four different teams in his career, Boston being the spot he's lasted the longest since he was traded here from Orlando in 2011.
Just two years ago Bass was facing the same kind of uncertainty of his future and whether or not it would be in Boston. The Celtics roster was in the midst of being overhauled, a new coach was being sworn in, and all signs were pointing to the Celtics aiming to get younger. In an interview with ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg, Bass was asked what he thought his role would be going forward for Boston.
"I haven't really thought about my role. I just think that I'm going to come in being the best Brandon Bass I can be, and that's all I can take care of. I don't really try to be too smart of a guy, as far as thinking about basketball and being an analyst. I just take care of myself,
The same question will now be facing the Celtics and Bass, and this time he'll be 30 years old. As George Carlin once said, "But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED, we had to throw him out."
Happy 30th Birthday to #30 Brandon Bass! pic.twitter.com/f1d3SOiRQW— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 30, 2015
Just this past season, as he was steadily playing a prominent role in Boston's playoff push, he was in and out of trade talks. That lasted right up until the deadline. I think when Rajon Rondo was dealt to Dallas, many Celtics fans were surprised Bass wasn't included in the deal or packaged with Rondo and sent elsewhere for a better return. It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion he was gone.
Obviously this was not the case and Bass stayed with the Celtics and played well in 2014-15. He shot the ball better (50%) this year than in any of the other four seasons he's spent with Boston. But his rebound numbers were nothing special, averaging just 4.9 a game. He also logged his lowest minute average in five years, and that is even though he started 43 games for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics.
Heading into April, the Celtics were clicking on all cylinders and Bass was playing extremely efficient. From April 1st to April 15th, he was shooting 53%. Then the playoffs happened.
In the first round series against the Cavs, Bass shot just 35% from the field, including an 0-for-6 dud of a performance in Game 2 where he played just 15 minutes. Jonas Jerebko even started practicing with the first team units for Game 3 indicating Bass may lose his starting spot at one point. This did not happen, and Bass kept starting, but he had just 4 points in each of the Celtics last two games before being eliminated.
#Celtics forward Brandon Bass said he had no excuses for poor series. Said he prepared well, but didn't perform the way he wanted to.— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) April 26, 2015
Add all of this up, it seems the writing is on the wall for Bass. Celtics fans have loved the guy's hustle and grit, but his lack of rebounding ability does leave a lot to be desired at the power forward position.
I think Danny Ainge will be looking to move in a new direction this season, following the trend of getting younger. The team still needs a rim protector, and if they draft a power forward or center, that front court is going to get crowded quick.
If he doesn't see much interest in the open market and reveals that he'd come back to Boston for a discount, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Bass is a hard worker and I think he's going to be determined to improve himself in the wake of how he finished in the playoffs.
The problem in my opinion, is Bass made close to $7 million last year, and I think that's money the Celtics can't afford to give to a player like Bass. He just doesn't have enough versatility to warrant it. He's done a lot for this team and clearly wants to be in Boston, but it may be time for the Celtics to move into a new direction.
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Top photo: Celtics.com muggsytobs 5/02/2015 12:08:00 PM Tweet Edit