Celtics notebook

Bradley gets quicker fixer-upper

No. 1 pick gets surgery, contract

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / July 3, 2010

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ORLANDO, Fla. — While the Celtics flew south to begin the summer league activities, their first-round pick, Avery Bradley, stayed behind in Boston, scratching two items off his to-do list.

Bradley had successful surgery yesterday morning on the ankle he sprained a week before the draft, then he signed his rookie deal.

The two-year contract will pay the guard $1.8 million the first year and $1.2 million the next, with team options for the third and fourth seasons, standard with all first-rounders.

Bradley’s surgery was the top priority after the Celtics took him with the 19th pick in last month’s draft. Initially, the plan was to have the procedure when Kendrick Perkins had his ACL surgery, but Celtics president Danny Ainge said the process went quicker than anticipated.

“[Bradley] had some swelling in him when he was here the day after the draft and they thought it was going to be another 10 to 12 days before his swelling went down before the surgery,’’ Ainge said. “But when he got back from home [in Washington], they decided to pull the trigger and do it.’’

Bradley will likely miss 6-8 weeks, but will be ready for training camp. Ainge said missing out on the head start that comes with summer league will take a toll on the 19-year-old, but not a great one.

“It hurts him,’’ Ainge said. “It would be better if he were here. But I think that Avery, he seems like a kid that will pick things up pretty quick. It’s not like it’s disastrous, but it’d be better if he were here.’’

Knowledge is good
Austin Ainge knows firsthand how good Oliver Lafayette is. Just three years ago, when Ainge was at Brigham Young, Lafayette was the pesky Houston Cougars guard that stayed in his pocket all night. The two crossed paths in the D-League this past season, but by then Ainge was coaching the Maine Red Claws and Lafayette was playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Now, Ainge is drawing up plays for Lafayette as the Celtics summer league coach.

“The guy can play,’’ Ainge said. “I always proclaim that he’s really, really good, because I played him in college once and he stole it from me like five times. Then, we played him a couple times in the D-League and he had like 30 on us every time. So, for my own pride, I say Oliver’s really good.’’

Surrounded by rookie free agents, Lafayette looked less like a D-League call-up and more like a veteran on the first day of practice at Rollins College’s Warden Arena, showing a comfort level that came from being around the Celtics from the last week of the regular season through the NBA Finals.

Lafayette and Tony Gaffney are the only players on the Celtics roster with NBA experience and Austin Ainge said it was noticeable.

“Oliver Lafayette is a big advantage because he’s been with the Celtics and he’s played in the D-League the last two years, and the rules are identical,’’ he said. “So you could see he was well in advance of everyone else today.’’

“I’m very comfortable,’’ Lafayette said. “I know what these guys want. First, defense and then running the team. So it’s very comfortable for me.’’

Home, sweet home
With the Celtics practicing in his backyard in Winter Park, Doc Rivers made an appearance on the first day, shaking hands with each player and staying for the first half of the two-hour session. Rivers handpicked Austin to coach the summer league team two weeks ago, even though his own future with the Celtics was uncertain. “It’ll be a good experience for Austin,’’ Danny Ainge said of his son. “Doc picked him while he wasn’t certain of where he was going to be this year. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.’’ In a sense, coaching summer league was a lot like coaching in the D-League, trying to get players who’ve never played together on the same page in a short amount of time. “This is every day in the D-League,’’ Austin said. “You get new guys and you have to teach things really quickly, kind of throw it all together, learn on the fly.’’ . . . Semih Erden, the Celtics’ second-round pick in 2008, will join the team in Orlando, but was still en route yesterday . . . Former Northeastern star Matt Janning was a late add to the Celtics’ roster. He was originally invited to Orlando by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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