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Celtics notebook

Bass will opt out of last year

Agent says forward wants to come back

By Gary Washburn and Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / June 15, 2012
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After playing a pivotal role in the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals, Brandon Bass has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

His agent, Tony Dutt, said Bass would like to return to the Celtics but also wants the option of exploring the free agent market. Bass averaged a career-best 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in 59 regular-season games.

He had his best performance of the playoffs in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals when he led the Celtics with 27 points, including 18 in the third quarter.

Bass was acquired from the Orlando Magic for Glen Davis and Von Wafer, immediately paying dividends as a power forward to team with Kevin Garnett.

He was scheduled to earn $4.25 million in the final year of a four-year, $18 million deal he signed with the Magic in July 2009.

“If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have said the same thing,’’ Dutt said. “I think Brandon was ready for a breakout year. At the same time, we made the decision to take less money [in Orlando] and that’s one of the reasons we got the option in the first place. We felt like Boston was a good fit.’’

Bass has repeatedly said that he enjoyed his experience in Boston and wants to return. The Celtics have salary cap space with the expiring contracts of Garnett, Ray Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal, and Bass desires a considerable raise.

“Like everybody else, it’s always been Brandon’s dream to go to the Finals, and I think he felt very comfortable with everybody and they came to respect his game and they did everything they could to help him grow as a player,’’ Dutt said.

“He took less money to go to Orlando, so money has never been his main motivator. But then again, you want [to be] valued based on your performance, and Brandon does the work in the summer to make sure he gets better. And we want a situation where someone makes Brandon part of their family, so to speak.’’

Bass will become a restricted free agent July 1 and can sign a contract July 10.

Does Pietrus fit again?

Mickael Pietrus is hoping that another operation on the right knee that was surgically repaired less than a year ago can help his agility after a painful season with the Celtics. Pietrus, an unrestricted free agent, underwent surgery Wednesday and will be sidelined about six weeks, according to agent Bill McCandless.

“I don’t see how he played with what was in his knee,’’ McCandless said. “There was a lot of fragmentation floating around, including a couple of pieces the doctor said would really create discomfort.’’

McCandless said Pietrus considered going to Germany to have a regenerative procedure similar to the ones undergone by the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.

Like Bass, Pietrus expressed a desire to return to the Celtics.

“Mike enjoyed his year there and I think he gave Boston a significant lift in the playoffs,’’ McCandless said. “Obviously, the Celtics have to consider who, what, and where for their team. Does Garnett come back? Does Ray come back?

“The reality is, Mike really enjoyed the season and he loves Boston, he really does.’’

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