Bradley: 'I want to be here' in Boston

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
12:17
PM ET
BOSTON -- On the eve of restricted free agency, Avery Bradley reaffirmed a desire to be back with the Boston Celtics, but said his offseason focus remains on simply improving as a player and letting his future take care of itself.

[+] EnlargeAvery Bradley
Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images
The Celtics formally extended a $3.6 million qualifying offer on Monday that gives them the chance to match any outside offer that Bradley receives when free agency opens at midnight. The two sides failed to reach an agreement on an extension to his rookie pact before a late-October deadline, but talks should resume now with outside interest likely to play a part in Bradley's final price tag.

"I haven’t been worried about [free agency]," said Bradley, wearing a Celtics cap and colors as he instructed campers on the final day of his Avery Bradley Skills academy at UMass-Boston. "I’ve been worried about getting better. I try not to think about anything I can’t control. All I can do is continue to try to get better every single day, and I know everything else will work out."

Asked about talks with Boston, Bradley added, "We really haven't [spoke about] any numbers or anything. Obviously, I want to be here. And I let those guy know that. When the time comes, we’ll just see what happens, and see if we come to an agreement."

Bradley went out of his way to stress a desire to be in Boston moving forward. He joked how some of his young campers simply assume he's from the region having watched him play for the Celtics the past four seasons.

This being his first trip through free agency, Bradley did admit that he'll probably be more inquisitive with his representatives during the process, but is trying not to stress about his situation. Deeming himself 100 percent healthy after battling some ankle woes this past season, Bradley said he's eager to use the summer to advance his game.

After introducing the team's first-round picks -- combo guard Marcus Smart and swingman James Young -- at an afternoon news conference, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stressed a desire to see Bradley back in Boston.

"Avery is a big part of our future," said Ainge, while expressing a desire to have a deep guard rotation that features the likes of Bradley, Smart, and Rondo.

Later Ainge added: "I think Avery can be a very key player in us winning the championship. He does things that other players can’t do. His shooting continues to improve, we all have all seen his terrific defensive abilities. I think Avery is a big part of [the team's future]."

Bradley didn't read too much into the fact that the Celtics utilized their two picks this year to select players that have some overlap with his position in Smart and Young.

"You can’t really worry about that," said Bradley, who offered high praise for Smart and his on-court toughness. "Whoever is on the team, the coaches and the management, they’ll make sure they we all work together. I try not to worry about that; all I can do is worry about how hard I can play, and whatever team I am on -- and hopefully it’s the Celtics -- just what I can bring to that team, however I can help my teammates. That’s my only focus."

Bradley, who is spending much of his summer in Austin, Texas, said some Celtics trainers visited him early in the offseason to help install a program for him. He said he's up to 200 pounds -- about 20 pounds above his usual playing weight -- and Bradley said he's developed a fondness for yoga, which he does most mornings before a basketball workout later in the day.

Bradley said one area of focus on the court has been his 3-point shooting. He shot 39.5 percent beyond the arc last season and said that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his teammates encouraged him to continue to develop that area of his game.

Bradley will have to do such without Ron Adams, Boston's former top assistant who recently agreed to join the Golden State Warriors. The two were actually next-door neighbors locally and Bradley gushed about what Adams meant for his offensive development.

"I love Ron Adams, he’s an amazing coach. He’s so happy and Golden State is so lucky to have a guy like that," said Bradley. "He’s an amazing guy and I know that we’re all going to miss him, the players and the coaches."

Bradley added: "Every single day he gave me that confidence [in my shot]. Even throughout the game, he would help me. But not only me, everyone. We were next-door neighbors, so we became a lot closer than some of my other teammates. I respect him so much and he really helped me out a lot, I’m going to miss him."

Bradley experienced a lot last season, including the birth of his first child, Avery Bradley III, and the death of his mother. The early part of the offseason gave him time to spend with his son and family, while also reflecting on all that has happened.

"I went through a lot last year," said Bradley. "I also got time to sit down and think about everything else. Everything’s been good for me. I’m totally blessed and I have a chance to have a camp in Boston. That’s been my dream since my first year here. I wanted to do it, me and my family thought about how cool it would be. Now it’s happening. I’m looking forward to having one every single year."

Bradley is holding a series of camps this offseason, including one in his native Tacoma and another in Las Vegas. He'll have two here in Boston, with another planned for August in Roxbury.

Bradley laughed noting the difference between styles at his camps. He said the kids in Washington like to shoot 3-pointers and focus on offensive skills; the kids in Boston drive to the basket and want to play his familiar brand of physical defense.

"Boston is my home now," said Bradley. "I’ve been living here for four years. I feel like the community, they know me. I feel like they think I’m from here because I’ve been living here for so long. They see me around -- a lot of these kids know me from just coming to their school, because I do so many [community] events [during the season]. It's just so cool for me to be able to have that chance, be blessed enough to give back to the community."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9