The Boston Celtics barely missed out on the biggest fish in the sea this past week when Andre Drummond opted to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet, that’s not to say Boston’s buyout market hopes are completely over. With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, a number of serviceable veterans have found themselves in precarious positions and may be best served to quickly negotiate an exit from their new squads.
One player in particular that falls under this category is Avery Bradley. A 30-year-old, former All-NBA First-Team defender with Championship pedigree, it’s safe to say Bradley doesn’t quite fit the Houston Rockets’ current M.O.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin has already floated the idea of the aforementioned Lakers — who he won a title with this past season — making a run at veteran guard. Yet, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale believes the defending champs “better get in line,” pointing towards another one of Bradley’s former teams as a highly likely suitor.
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Celtics Among Favorites to Land Avery Bradley
Bradley was part of the Victor Oladipo trade this past week that also yielded Houston the services of yet another familiar face, Kelly Olynyk. While Rockets’ GM Rafael Stone hinted at both former Celtics staying put for the near future, Favale doesn’t believe that’s the best route to take when it comes to Bradley.
“Negotiating a quick divorce is best for both sides,” the B/R columnist declared. “Bradley’s team option for next season could complicate matters, but Houston has roughly 1 trillion guards after its fire sale. A 30-year-old could-be free agent isn’t going to top the list of priorities, and he shouldn’t have trouble securing a multiyear pact over the summer that nets him noticeably more than the $5.9 million he’s owed next year.”
As Favale put it, the Rockets “are done playing meaningful games this year.” Through the first 47 games of the season, Houston owns a dreadful record of 13-34, the second-to-worst record in the entire league. As touched on above, Bradley offers championship-caliber traits. He remains an adequate one-on-one defender, and has shot above 40% from beyond the arc this season. That type of skill set would seemingly go to waste on a team such as the Rockets who are in the midst of a full-blown rebuild. Favale would seemingly agree as he predicts that Houston will eventually budge and negotiate a buyout with Bradley. From there he sees the Celtics, Lakers and Denver Nuggets as the prime landing spots for the former C’s draft pick.
Bradley is Getting Healthy
Prior to being shipped to Houston, Bradley had been sidelined since early February with a calf strain. However, he returned to action this past Monday and has since appeared in two games with the Rockets, seeing his minutes climb to 21 on Wednesday.
Bradley’s most prolific seasons of his career came during the latter end of his Celtics tenure, where he averaged at least 13.9 ppg in his final four seasons in Beantown. Since leaving the team following the 2016 campaign, Bradley has averaged double-digit points per game just twice. He has, however, established himself as a viable threat from 3-point range, shooting nearly 39% from such range since 2018.