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Free Pass Bass: No hard feelings for joining Lakers

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Brandon Bass brought a blue-collar work ethic that won fans over in his four seasons with the Celtics. AP Photo/John Bazemore

A player leaving the Boston Celtics to play for the Los Angeles Lakers would typically be sacrilege in these parts, but fans here are likely to make an exception for Brandon Bass.

It seemed unlikely from the start of the offseason that Bass would return to the Celtics and, when the team came to agreement on Day 1 of free agency with both Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko, it only confirmed that notion.

The 30-year-old Bass, a veteran of 10 NBA seasons, including the past four with the Celtics, agreed Sunday to sign with the rival Lakers.

Bass, a diligent solider who endured endless speculation about his future in recent years, appeared in every game the past three seasons for Boston (starting 76 percent of the team's games in that span).

While he didn't have the glitziest stat line -- Bass and his steady mid-range game averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds over 27.3 minutes per game during his four seasons in Boston -- Bass brought a blue-collar work ethic and won fans over with toughness and defensive versatility.

Bass earned the team's Auerbach Award during the 2013-14 season, an honor that celebrates the player who best exemplifies the spirit of what it means to be a Celtic through performance on the court and off. Bass embraced his community work while in Boston, even returning last month to lead a local zoo tour despite the likelihood that he would not be back this season.

Boston acquired Bass before the 2011-12 season in a swap with Orlando for Glen Davis. Bass was supposed to be a complementary piece to aid Boston's veteran big three, but his role became murkier two seasons later as the Celtics went into rebuilding mode and drafted young big men such as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.

Bass' name swirled in trade speculation each of the past two seasons, but he rarely let the whispers affect his play. And no matter his role, Bass came to work each day and endeared himself to this coaching staff.

The Celtics even got Bass to embrace stretching out his range to the 3-point line last season. After taking 21 3-pointers over his first nine seasons in the league, Bass hoisted 32 last year (and even made a couple of chucks from the corner).

For a Lakers team that tends to shun the triple, Bass should get a chance to rely on his bread and butter -- midrange jumpers and two-handed jams around the basket.

Celtics fans will find it odd to see Bass in purple and gold -- even if it will harken him back to his college days at LSU. Regardless, most Celtics fans were sincere in bidding Bass a fond farewell. About the meanest they could muster was suggesting they simply wish that Bass had signed with a true contender.