|07.02.16 at 12:40 am ET|
NBA free agency has officially gone crazy. Here’s where things stand in relation to the Celtics as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off:
— According to the Boston Herald, the Celtics met with free agent center Al Horford on Friday and were prepared to offer him a max contract of four years and $113 million. Horford also met with the Wizards and Rockets.
He’s very much available at the moment because the Hawks signed center Dwight Howard to a three-year, $70.5 million deal, though NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo reported that Atlanta hadn’t closed the door on retaining Horford.
That seems unlikely, since the Hawks also agreed to a $70 million extension with Kent Bazemore. At the very least, Atlanta would have to reshuffle the roster to make room for a max Horford deal.
— Things with Horford get even more interesting, because according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Celtics were hoping to sign Horford in time to bring him to Saturday’s meeting with free agent superstar Kevin Durant.
Horford and Durant are close friends, and the Celtics believe that one could help them land the other, even if it ends up being next offseason, when Durant is expected to jump back into free agency if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal this week.
— Speaking of Durant, multiple reports said he was “blown away” by the Clippers on Friday during a meeting in the Hamptons with owner Steve Ballmer, head coach Doc Rivers, and stars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, among others.
In Los Angeles, Durant would join a top-heavy group of stars that also includes vacationing point guard Chris Paul, but with almost no supporting cast to speak of. The Celtics, by contrast, offer a deeper roster with more financial flexibility to improve.
Durant also met with the Warriors on Friday, incidentally. He is expected to meet with the Spurs and C’s on Saturday and the Heat on Sunday before circling back to the Thunder and making a decision next week.
— Elsewhere around the league, contracts continue to spiral upward, backed by $24 billion in TV money that will be flooding ownership’s coffers over the next nine years.
Memphis point guard Mike Conley, a nice player who has never sniffed an All-Star team, became the highest-paid player in NBA history when he signed a five-year, $153 million deal to remain with the Grizzlies. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan signed a $139 million deal that made him the second-highest paid player. The Pistons gave Andre Drummond $130 million. And so on.
— One of the beneficiaries of this largesse? Former Celtics guard Evan Turner, who signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Trail Blazers and will join their starting lineup. Turner thanked Celtics fans and the organization for two great seasons that resurrected his career.
|07.01.16 at 10:33 pm ET|
With free agents vanishing from the radar screen at a steady clip, the Celtics appear poised to make an aggressive run at one of the premier names on the market — Hawks center Al Horford.
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics plan to offer Horford a max contract on Friday night. The four-year, $113 million deal would give the Celtics one of the best defensive big men in the game, while also positioning them to make a run at Horford’s good friend, free agent prize Kevin Durant, either this offseason or next.
Horford is considered a winning player whose contributions exceed what appears on a standard stat sheet. He averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds last year while leading the Hawks to the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by LeBron James and the eventual champion Cavaliers. Before that, he helped the Hawks oust the Celtics in six games from the first round.
Horford, who just turned 30, is a four-time All-Star. The Hawks selected him third overall in the 2007 draft. According to the Herald, the Celtics want Horford whether or not they can sign Durant, and with Dwight Howard inking a three-year deal in Atlanta, Horford should end up with a new home next season.
It appears the Celtics are intent on making that home Boston.
UPDATE: And just to make things more interesting, now there’s this news . . .
It seems Celtics want to sign Al Horford, then bring him to their meeting with Kevin Durant tomorrow. May intrigue KD (especially in East).
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 2, 2016
|07.01.16 at 7:12 pm ET|
This will probably come as a relief to plenty of Celtics fans, but Yahoo is reporting that Dwight Howard has signed a three-year, $70 million contract with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.
Howard had been expected to meet with the Celtics in the coming days, but he canceled all of his remaining visits after striking a deal with the Hawks.
Howard, 30, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy by the Magic. He has averaged 17.8 points and 12.7 rebounds for his career, and has also played with the Lakers and Rockets.
He reached the Finals in 2009 by knocking out the defending champion Celtics in the second round after the C’s had taken a 3-2 series lead. He averaged 16.4 points and 17.1 rebounds in that series before losing in the Finals to the Lakers.
Howard had been linked to the Celtics this offseason, but his back-to-the-basket game didn’t necessarily fit Brad Stevens’ system. The C’s are expected to make a hard push for Hawks big man Al Horford, who becomes expendable with Howard now in the fold.
|07.01.16 at 6:58 pm ET|
Say goodbye to Evan Turner.
One of the symbols of the resurgent Celtics under head coach Brad Stevens, Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday before taking to social media to thank the Celtics and their fans for two transformative years.
Boston, this was definitely one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. I can’t say enough how appreciative I am for all the love and support. Every night I played at TD garden was like a dream come true. Thank you for showing me how a REAL sports city does things! You’ll forever be in my heart!! C’s up ☘☘☘
Turner told the Boston Globe that the Blazers told him to sit tight while they negotiated with forward Chandler Parsons, who ended up signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers immediately turned their attention to Turner, telling him that he’d be a starter on a team that went 44-38 and won a round in the playoffs before being dispatched by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semis.
Turner, 27, averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists last season. He signed with the Celtics as a free agent before the 2014-15 season, and over the next two years remade himself from bust of a No. 2 overall pick into a solid jack-of-all-trades on a playoff team.
“It’s tough to leave,” Turner told the Globe. “I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice. If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise.
“I was just having fun playing again. When I played in Philly, it was pure hell. But to go to Boston and rock out and play was crazy. And to play in Portland is going to be fun, too.”
|07.01.16 at 6:40 pm ET|
It won’t just be Isiah Thomas helping the Celtics recruit free agents this weekend, as Jae Crowder reportedly will as well.
According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Crowder will be present at the meetings with both Kevin Durant and Al Horford.
The meeting with Horford is reportedly Friday night, while the meeting with Durant is reportedly on Saturday.
According to a league source, Jae Crowder is expected to be part of the Celtics’ delegation at Kevin Durant meeting.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 1, 2016
Jae Crowder will also be a part of the Celtics’ meeting with Al Horford tonight, league source says.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 1, 2016
|07.01.16 at 11:34 am ET|
WALTHAM – While Danny Ainge and the front office staff is furiously trying to build their roster for next season as free agency is officially underway, the Celtics have set one roster. The group that will head out and compete in the two Summer Leagues were announced Friday.
2016 Draft Picks Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Ben Bentil, Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader will join current Celtics Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and James Young as members of the team’s Utah Jazz and Las Vegas Summer League squads.
Young, the 17th overall pick of Boston in 2014, sticks out on this list as he is the only two-year veteran. But at 20 years, 11 months, he’s still the third-youngest on the roster.
They will be joined on the roster by 2015 Celtics second round draft pick Marcus Thornton, free agents Malcolm Miller and Corey Walden, who both appeared on the 2015 Celtics Training Camp roster, and JayVaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou, a pair of Villanovans, neither of whom played on this year’s national championship squad. Pinkston played this past season for the Maine Red Claws.
The Celtics continued Summer League practices Friday in Waltham. The team leaves Sunday for Salt Lake City.
The Celtics’ first game in the Utah Summer League will be Monday, July 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics’ three-game schedule in Utah continues with match-ups against the host Utah Jazz on July 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET and the San Antonio Spurs on July 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Beginning on July 4, all Celtics games for Utah Summer League will be televised on CSN New England.
The Celtics will then travel to Nevada for the Vegas Summer League and compete in three preliminary round games from July 9-12 before being seeded in a tournament that starts on July 13 and concludes with the Championship Game on July 18. Their first game is on Saturday, July 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET against the Chicago Bulls.
|07.01.16 at 11:09 am ET|
According to CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely, the Celtics are discussing bringing back former big man Kris Humphries via free agency.
Humphries spent the 2013-14 season with the Celtics and he played in 69 games averaging 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
The forward has been around the league quite a bit as in his 12 years in the league he’s played for eight teams, most recently the Wizards last season where he averaged 6.4 points per game.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) July 1, 2016
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
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