More surgery for Bradley
WINTER PARK, Fla. — The Celtics were already intensifying their search for a shooting guard when Ray Allen defected to the Miami Heat. Now the team’s projected Opening Night starter at the position may have his shoulder in a sling when the season begins.
About six weeks after having surgery to repair repeated dislocations of his left shoulder, Bradley will undergo another procedure on his right shoulder Tuesday at New England Baptist Hospital and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. Team officials said Bradley is progressing well from the left shoulder surgery, but had to wait until that shoulder healed enough before having surgery on the right.
It is unknown when Bradley will be able to resume basketball activities, but coach Doc Rivers and assistant general manager Austin Ainge are prepared for Bradley to miss time.
“I have no idea, I really don’t,” Rivers said as the team’s summer league entry practiced Sunday. “I hear the beginning of the year he’ll be back, [or] until mid-December — probably somewhere in-between.”
Bradley’s emergence because of his defensive prowess and offensive improvement was the team’s biggest surprise last season. He took over for Allen as a starter in April and flourished until being sidelined during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers. His shoulder was dislocated after a collision with the 76ers’ Lavoy Allen during Game 5 and the team decided to shut Bradley down for surgery.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Saturday that the team is in search of another shooting guard and there is interest in Houston free agent Courtney Lee, but the mostly likely way he could be acquired, unless he would accept the veteran’s minimum or the biannual exception of $1.95 million, would be a sign and trade.
The Rockets would sign Lee and trade him to the Celtics for a matching salary. Lee averaged 11.4 points per game in 58 games for the Rockets last season, but Houston is not interested in re-signing him. He shot 40.1 percent from the 3-point line.
There is a possibility the Celtics could get something in return for Allen.
They could work out a sign and trade with the Heat, meaning that they would sign Allen to a three-year, $18 million deal and then trade him to Miami for a player or draft picks. That would allow Allen to earn more money and the Celtics to get a player back.
But according to Rivers, that is not likely to happen.
“I doubt it,” he said. “I don’t know if they have anything to give us. I mean, if they want to give us [Dwyane] Wade, then yeah.”
Allen accepted half the money the Celtics were offering ($3 million per season) to sign with the Heat.
Mike Naiditch, the agent for center Greg Stiemsma, said his client did not receive a $3 million offer sheet, as had been reported.
Naiditch said he had a meeting scheduled with Timberwolves general manager David Kahn Sunday night, but he didn’t expect an offer until the Timberwolves get a final answer the Trail Blazers about Nicolas Batum, whom Minnesota signed to a $45 million offer sheet.
“It went well in terms of knowing that they’re interested in Greg,” Naiditch said of an earlier meeting. “But there’s an outstanding issue that they have a verbal agreement with these players until the 11th; they don’t really know exactly how to implement that. There’s a lot of dynamics to their cap flexibility that the Celtics just don’t have.”
Naiditch said there are essentially two ways for Stiemsma to return to the Celtics: if the club offers him its biannual exception starting at $1.95 million, which is unlikely, or if he receives a 125 percent raise from last year’s rookie minimum. Naiditch said he hopes that teams such as Portland and New Orleans, which are under the salary cap, bid for his client.
“Just because Greg would get an offer more than the biannual doesn’t mean he would take it,” Naiditch said. “If the Celtics were to offer him the biannual, and he had a choice between the biannual with the Celtics and may a little bit more with another team, I’m quite certain he would still go with the Celtics.”