Bass eager to please
New acquisition has multiple skills
WALTHAM - Brandon Bass knew something was up when he received an urgent text message last Friday morning from his agent, Tony Dutt.
“Brandon, call me ASAP,’’ Dutt wrote.
Unable to immediately respond because he was at his newborn daughter’s first doctor’s appointment, Bass waited until he got into his car to contact his agent.
Bass soon realized the reason for the urgency.
“He told me, ‘Brandon, you’ve been traded to Boston,’ like it was nothing,’’ Bass recalled yesterday at the Celtics’ practice facility. It was Bass’s fourth day in Boston since being traded by the Orlando Magic in exchange for his childhood friend, Glen Davis.
“I called my agent back and he told me I had been traded and then he goes, ‘Here’s Danny Ainge,’ ’’ Bass said. “It was just like that. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It was just so shocking to me. My head was spinning.’’
Swept up in a whirlwind weekend deal that landed him in an exciting new NBA home, Bass basically traded places with Davis, with whom he grew up in Baton Rouge, La.
“It’s crazy, man,’’ Bass said. “My family and friends back home, they went crazy about it. It was a big topic back home. People said it was just funny that two guys, who grew up together, would get traded for each other in the NBA.
“It was always a goal of ours, growing up, to make it to the NBA and to play against each other,’’ Bass said. “So, getting traded for each other is part of it, I guess.’’
Bass started 51 of the 76 games he played last season in Orlando, his second with the Magic and sixth in the NBA. He averaged career bests with 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds, averaged 26.1 minutes, and shot a career-best 51.5 percent from the floor.
“In previous years, I came off the bench and I felt comfortable doing that,’’ said Bass, a second-round pick (33d overall) of the New Orleans Hornets in 2005.
“Last year I began to start and that felt good, too,’’ he said. “But I can play in either role.’’
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there was much to like about Bass, a 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound forward who is under contract through 2013. Bass signed a four-year, $18 million contract with the Magic in 2009.
“I like his motor,’’ Rivers said of Bass, who will earn $4 million per year the next two seasons. “I like his consistent elbow jump shot. I like the fact that we can lean on him at times, offensively. He’s an offensive player. I like his speed.
“I think you can see when he first got there with Stan [Van Gundy], he wasn’t known as a defender in Orlando,’’ Rivers said. “But by the time he left, he had become one and I think, basically, in my opinion the more Stan taught, the more you have to be a willing participant, and I thought he became that.’’
Bass accepted the perception he was replacing Davis, but he was quick to point out the differences between the two.
“Baby, he’s a little heavier than me, but I play more above the rim,’’ Bass said. “I think we play with the same amount of energy and passion and things like that. But we’re different in our own ways.’’
But Bass and Davis were brothers born of the bayou, through and through, both winding up at Louisiana State after their high school careers (Bass went to Capitol High, Davis to LSU Lab School).
“We worked out together and hung out together many days,’’ Bass said. “We grew up 10 minutes from each other and he’d come over and spend the night at my house.’’
Asked if Davis made any raids on the refrigerator, Bass broke into a smile.
“Oh, my goodness, he could eat,’’ Bass said, chuckling at the recollection. “And he still can. We were roommates in college [at LSU] as well, and he can really eat.’’
It was then Bass was asked which team got the better of the deal, Orlando or Boston.
“Wow,’’ Bass said, caught off guard by the question. “We’ll see. I hope Glen does well in Orlando and I want to do well here. At the end of the day, we’re family and I want to see him succeed and I know he wants to see me succeed.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.