Brandon Bass To Opt Out From Lakers

Brandon Bass will turn down his $3.135MM player option for next season and become a free agent this summer, a league source tells Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). A formal decision isn’t due until June 21st, but it appears the Lakers power forward intends to hit the open market.

The 11th-year veteran experienced statistical declines as he assumed a bench role in L.A. this season after having spent four years primarily as a starter for the Celtics. His 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 20.3 minutes per game were his fewest in each category since the 2009/10 season. Still, he spoke fondly in March of his role as a veteran mentor and won praise from coach Byron Scott, whose chances of remaining with the team appear to be improving.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said in December that he remains high on Bass, who said shortly before then that he’d planned to play out the rest of his career with Boston until the C’s signed Amir Johnson instead last summer. The Tony Dutt client turned to the Lakers, signing a two-year, $6.135MM contract in July. The Lakers reportedly made Bass available for trades over the winter, but offers were unappealing.

Johnson’s contract for next season is non-guaranteed and Jared Sullinger is a restricted free agent, so the Celtics stand to enter next season thinner at the power forward position. Bass could serve as a mentor for Jordan Mickey, last year’s 33rd pick, but it remains to be seen if Boston will pursue a reunion with Bass.

The Lakers liked Bass’ contract, and with 2014 No. 7 pick Julius Randle still in need of development, it’s conceivable L.A. will give Bass a decent offer to re-sign. Still, he turns 31 later this month, so he probably wants either a short-term deal with a team that would offer more playing time and a chance to up his value or a long-term contract that would secure his future as he ages.

Where do you think Brandon Bass ends up playing next season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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