Of course Keith Bogans wants to play.
The 11-year NBA veteran might have a lovely $5 million contract, which he agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets to facilitate their July trade with the Boston Celtics, but money isn’t everything to him. A contributor to four playoff teams, including last season’s Nets, Bogans opened up about how tough it is to be chained to the bench this season.
“Money is good, but if you’re not happy doing what you love to do … I want to play basketball,” Bogans told HoopsWorld’s Jessica Camerato. “So anybody can say, yeah, I’m happy, I’m getting money, but come on now.”
This really shouldn’t be a surprise, nor should it be considered much of a problem. Bogans did not volunteer those comments, just answered the questions that were posed. All season long, he has refused to criticize Celtics coach Brad Stevens and has been the most supportive teammate on Boston’s bench.
Bogans is a professional, though, and naturally wants to do more than just sit there and cash a check. Stevens recognizes that and has had conversations with Bogans about the shortage of minutes.
“He’s a pro, he’s always ready, and he’s a proven guy on a winning team to play his role exceptionally well,” Stevens said, according to Camerato. “And so I trust him.”
It’s easy to pile on the Celtics now. They have lost four out of five games and had to diffuse a minor controversy stemming from a verbal altercation between Jeff Green and Brandon Bass during Tuesday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks. But these comments from Bogans seem to be a whole lot of nothing.
Of course Bogans wants to play. Of course he’s not content to simply collect a paycheck. He has done nothing to undermine team chemistry, however, and he is the least likely person to cause a problem in the Celtics’ locker room. The problems will start when Bogans — or any player — becomes OK with not competing anymore. The Celtics should be thankful they are not at that point yet.