Avery Bradley, Celtics Maintain Mutual Interest

Avery Bradley reportedly turned down a four-year, $24MM extension offer from the Celtics this past summer, but shortly thereafter, he and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made it clear that they want to continue their partnership. Bradley hasn’t altered his position as his restricted free agency draws near, observes Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com, and neither has Ainge, as Rohrbach notes via Twitter. Bradley says he relishes the opportunity to play alongside Rajon Rondo and wants to keep doing so.

“I would love it,” Bradley said. “I would love to play for Boston, and I would love to play with Rondo, so I wouldn’t mind it at all. I’m pretty sure any guard in the NBA would love to play with Rondo.”

Rondo was something of a trade candidate before the deadline this season, though Ainge made it clear that it would take a monumental offer to pry the point guard from Boston. There’s been plenty of speculation that the Celtics could be more inclined to trade Rondo as time goes by, since he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015. Rondo has nonetheless said he wouldn’t mind spending the next decade in Boston, so he certainly doesn’t appear anxious to leave.

A report before the deadline pegged Bradley as a trade candidate, too, suggesting that the Celtics would send him out if they could only find a taker for him. There was little other chatter indicating the C’s would do so, and the 23-year-old defensive stalwart remains in Boston.

Ainge says now that he has “every intention” of having Bradley with the team in the future. Bradley was apparently seeking $8MM a year when he turned down the extension offer, and Rohrbach believes the $2MM gap in annual salaries shouldn’t be difficult to bridge this summer.

Ainge and company reportedly eyed Iman Shumpert last summer, but they lost interest in him as Bradley continued to develop this season. Several NBA executives believed in December that Bradley would wind up with a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $30MM, which suggests that the Celtics might be the ones who’ll have to budge the most when they resume negotiations with Mitchell Butler, Bradley’s agent. Bradley has continued to help his case since then, having put up a career-high 14.3 points per contest this season as he’s become a significant part of Boston’s offense. The former Texas Longhorn has also pushed his rebounds per game to a new high of 3.8, which isn’t shabby, considering he’s only 6’2″.

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