Danny Ainge is 'ecstatic' to have Avery Bradley back. Should he be?

After passing a physical, the Boston Celtics officially announced that they had officially resigned Avery Bradley to a 4 year deal worth 32 million dollars.

Danny Ainge commented on the signing yesterday.

via Celtics.com
“We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18,” Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, said in a statement. “He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We’re ecstatic to have him back.”

So Danny Ainge is ecstatic, but should Celtics nation be?

The biggest question about Bradley's contract was why the Celtics were so aggressive in getting Bradley a deal when they reserved the right to match. By foregoing the usual restricted free agency process, weren't the Celtics essentially bidding against themselves? A few thoughts here:

  • Getting ahead of a restricted-offer allows the Celtics to avoid 'creative accounting.' Many of you will recall Houston being able to attract Omer Asik & Jeremy Lin away from their teams using the 'poison pill' provision. More recently, the Rockets found themselves on the other end of the spectrum in the Chandler Parsons offer, which was an offer that, as Tim McMahohn of ESPNDallas put it, "...was designed to be as difficult as possible for Houston to match."

    Getting ahead of restricted offer lets the Celtics sign Bradley to a deal they deem reasonable, without being faced with the choice of losing Bradley (and according to GreenStreet, at the very least the 76ers were interested in Bradley) and matching a deal that could threaten the team's long term future.
  • The Basketball Insiders did an excellent job summarizing why they thought the Celtics were quick to jump on Bradley. Their explanation; the Celtics wanted to get ahead of the market. Once the major players got off the board, a lot of teams would be panicking to find ways to spend their money. Consider their estimates:

    Even with most of the major free agents gone, there could remain as much as $218 million in cap space around the league. That number could of course change based on the potential destinations for the big boys, but it represents a reasonable proxy for what is out there.

    Put Lance Stephenson aside, haven't we seen these exact effects in the market? Rotation players getting substantially more than expected. Marvin Williams got 14 million over 2 years. 37 year old Vince Carter got 12 over 3. Trevor Booker 10 over 2. And despite free agents coming off the board like crazy, you've still got teams like the Hawks sitting 18 million under the salary cap line. Teams who'd seemingly jump at the opportunity to get Bradley
  • One final thing to consider; years 3&4 of Avery Bradley's team could end up being a bargain in light of the NBA's new TV deal (The Wall Street Journal reported today that the NBA is looking to double their current deal) as the NBA salary cap is directly tied to league revenue. For reference, the cap increased this past season by roughly 7.7% just by being in good shape currently. The effects a substantial increase to the NBA's TV deal could have on the cap are incalculable (that's probably not true, I just can't), but it's not hard to imagine an 8 million dollar contract taking a much smaller fraction of the cap as it does today.

When healthy, Avery Bradley is the prototype for a complimentary shooting guard. There is next to no doubt that his skill set is worth the contract he's been given, even if he weren't to mature further (which seems unlikely given the annual improvement he's showed).

He is an elite, and unreletentless on-ball defender, who infamously had at least one point guard begging Bradley not to defend him. He has transformed himself into an excellent shooter, and he probably doesn't get enough attention for it (he shot .395 from 3 last year on 3.3 attempts, and shot over .400 2 seasons before).

Off the ball he's nothing short of brilliant. Not only is that an unusually unique skill to have in the league, it's immensely valuable when playing alongside a ball-dominant point guard like Rajon Rondo. If you can, take the time to watch the compilation I embedded below. The video does a great job displaying how active Bradley can be, how well timed his cuts are, and how strong of a finisher he is.

His abilities on the court really shouldn't be questioned. His health should. I'm not a doctor, I can't give much insight past that the injuries have been seemingly unrelated, and on a recent podcast with Bill Simmons, Zack Lowe mentioned that the Celtics rely very heavily rely on the input of their medical staff. There are players like Luol Deng who are plagued by unrelated injuries early in their career and get over that, and there are players like Andrew Bogut who can't seem to shake the injury bug.

Again, I won't pretend like I know how he'll end up, but I do think he's worth the risk.