- Chris Forsberg, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- On the eve of restricted free agency, Avery Bradley reaffirmed a desire to be back with the Celtics, but said his offseason focus remains on simply improving as a player and letting his future take care of itself.
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 guys know that. When the time comes, we'll just see what happens, and see if we come to an agreement."
After four seasons, Bradley went out of his way to stress a desire to be in Boston moving forward, and that sentiment was echoed later Monday by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
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]."
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.
Bradley didn't read too much into the fact that the Celtics utilized their two first-round picks to select players that have some overlap with his position in Smart and swingman James 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.
On the eve of restricted free agency, Avery Bradley reaffirmed a desire to be back with the Boston Celtics after the team made a $3.6 million qualifying offer on Monday.