WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered insight Tuesday into how the team will maneuver in advance of this week's deadline on future options and extensions.
Ainge reaffirmed that he's been in negotiations with representatives for Avery Bradley. The 2009 draft pick is eligible for an extension in advance of the Halloween deadline, but Ainge wouldn't elaborate on the potential for a deal. Said Ainge: "I’ve been in contact with Avery and his people. Avery’s a big part of our future regardless of what happens at this deadline."
If no extension is reached, the team can extend a $3.6 million qualifying offer after the season and make Bradley a restricted free agent, which would allow the sides more time to negotiate. But it also exposes Bradley to potential suitors, allowing a deep-pocketed team to potentially run up his price tag.
For his part, Bradley said, "“I try not to focus on [contract negotiations]. I’m just focused on the game [Wednesday]; I’m excited about the first game. I haven’t really been worried about it. But if the opportunity comes where I do re-sign, I definitely would be happy to stay in Boston.”
A look at the three other options/extensions the Celtics have looming this week:
* Jared Sullinger: The Celtics own a $1.4 million third-year option on Sullinger, the 21st pick in the 2012 draft. It's a no-brainer to pick that up and Ainge indicated the team will do such this week.
* MarShon Brooks: Ainge said the team is unlikely to trigger a $2.2 million team option for the swingman. Noted Ainge: "With MarShon, we haven’t enough chance to evaluate him in a fair way and so we probably won’t pick up his extension. But we will retain his Bird Rights and I’m sure he’ll get plenty of opportunities this year to see if he fits our system." Bird Rights are an exception that allows teams to exceed the salary cap in order to re-sign their own free agents. That would help Boston retain Brooks, if they desired next offseason, even if they decline to pick up next year's option.
* Jordan Crawford: Like Bradley, the 2009 draft pick is eligible for an extension on his rookie pact. Said Ainge: "We’re not doing an extension with Jordan right now. We’ll retain his Bird Rights as well."
Asked also if any of the four training camp invites that were released last week -- Chris Babb, Damen Bell-Holter, DeShawn Sims and Kammron Taylor -- would be assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League as affiliated players, Ainge indicated he'd be open to all of them landing there (the team can assign all four since Sims was previously an affiliated player). Alas, it's up to the players to elect to take the low-salary spots or pursue better paydays overseas. "I don’t know how many of them are going to play there," said Ainge. "We’ll see."