It’s easy to forget about Brandon Bass if you’re not specifically looking for him.
Since arriving in Boston on the eve of the 2011-12 season, Bass has been a quiet, steady contributor to the Celtics’ cause. Acquired to be a backup after the Celtics’ courtship of David West came up empty, Bass became a starter in his first season in green and gradually became one of the Celtics’ most reliable players. During the 2012 playoff run when the Celtics came oh-so-close to reaching a third NBA Finals in five years, Bass’ defense on LeBron James was a significant factor in Boston pushing the Heat to seven games. He showed that was not a fluke by hassling Carmelo Anthony in the Celtics’ first-round playoff run this past season.
Now, though, with an obvious rebuilding job in the works, the Celtics must consider whether it is fair to keep Bass around for two years of fringe playoff contention, at best. It seems like Bass has been around forever, but the eight-year veteran is still only 28 years old. He’s far too young to settle for a background job as a mentor on a young team, yet he’s far too old to expect to be around when — or if — Danny Ainge‘s plan comes to fruition.
But some team, somewhere, could use a physical power forward with a soft shooting touch. Bass is not quite the “stretch-four” type that has become in vogue of late, but he’s cash money from 15-18 feet off the catch and in the pick-and-pop. His strides as an on-ball defender under Doc Rivers only upped his value, although he is still a long way from a defensive stopper.
Bass has two years and $13.35 million left on his contract — not an unreasonable sum, but not an amount the Celtics can just absorb as a sunk cost while they groom Kelly Olynyk to possibly be the power forward of the future. Due to make $6.45 million this season, Bass could be packaged with Rajon Rondo to take back a bigger, expiring deal in a trade while also staying with the point guard who has created so many open looks for him in the last two years. Bass’ work ethic alone makes him valuable to the Celtics, who would love to instill his hard-working attitude in its new generation. But he has other tangible skills that could make him valuable to a contender, too.
In his time as a Celtic, Bass’ contributions have been overlooked while the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett shined. Once Bass is gone, however, will the Celtics discover just how much they miss him? Vote in the poll below.
To kick off the official start to the NBA offseason, NESN.com will ask fans whether they think the Celtics should keep or move on from each player. The following day, we will provide the fans’ verdict. Here is the schedule*:
Thursday, July 11: Avery Bradley (Verdict: Keep him, 88 percent)
Friday, July 12: Brandon Bass
Monday, July 15: Rajon Rondo
Tuesday, July 16: Courtney Lee
Wednesday, July 17: Shavlik Randolph Thursday, July 18: Jeff Green
Friday, July 19: Gerald Wallace
Monday, July 22: Kris Humphries
Tuesday, July 23: Keith Bogans
Wednesday, July 24: Fab Melo
Thursday, July 25: Jared Sullinger
Friday, July 26: Kris Joseph
Monday, July 29: MarShon Brooks
Tuesday, July 30: Jordan Crawford
Wednesday, July 31: D.J. White
Thursday, Aug. 1: Colton Iverson
Friday, Aug 2: Kelly Olynyk
*Subject to change pending any moves