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Report: Celtics on shortlist of teams Kevin Durant will meet with in free agency

06.25.16 at 12:26 am ET
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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Celtics may not be frontrunners in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, but they’ll at least get an audience.

According to Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics and other interested clubs will travel to a central location to meet with Durant and his representatives from Roc Nation Sports starting on July 1.

The other teams that Durant will meet are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and his incumbent Thunder, according to the report.

Oklahoma City remains the favorite to retain Durant, since it can offer him a two-year deal with an opt-out that makes him a free agent again next offseason. The Warriors are also considered strong contenders if he wants to join Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to build the league’s next super team.

But the Celtics at least have a seat at the table, which is more than interested clubs like the Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks, Rockets, and Durant’s hometown Wizards can say. The C’s can sell Durant on their cap space, as well as the presence of coach Brad Stevens on one of the better up-and-coming teams in the relatively weak East, which could provide a clearer path to the Finals than the loaded West, even with the defending champions from Cleveland and LeBron James standing in the way.

Durant, 27, is a seven-time All-Star and former MVP who led the Thunder within a win of their second NBA Finals this season. He averaged just over 28 points a game.

According to the Yahoo report, he’d like to decide on his future by July 9, when he begins a publicity tour in the Far East.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics rumors, Danny Ainge, Kevin Durant

Jaylen Brown: ‘I’m here in Boston. I’m ready to rip somebody’s head off’

06.24.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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WALTHAM – On Friday afternoon, Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told WEEI’s OM&F that Boston fans should give their No. 3 pick a chance because “they don’t know who Jaylen is.”

During his introductory press availability with the Boston media, Jaylen Brown went a long way to giving everyone a clearer idea of not only who he is but how confident he is that he can help the Celtics take the next step right away. 

“I’m overly confident. I believe in myself 100 percent,” Brown said. “I believe in my game and I believe in my work ethic. I don’t think anybody works as hard as me, especially not in this draft class. I’m going to go out and show what I can do. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’ll take time. You’ll see.

“It’s set in but it but it hasn’t hit me yet. I haven’t like broken down emotionally. I’m just super ready. I haven’t had time for it to set in. I’ve been traveling. Things have been kind of a whirlwind but I’m ready for Summer League and show the Boston Celtics fans what I can do.”

Maybe it’s the fact that he played his one year of college basketball in the backyard of the Golden State Warriors but Brown believes his versatility will make him a big-time contributor, even in his rookie season, when he will be only 20. 

“If you look at kind of the way the league is progressing, you look at the best teams in the world, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, a lot of those guys can play multiple positions and lot of those guys are around the same size as me,” Brown said. “You look at like Draymond Green, LeBron James, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, they play a lot of multiple positions and are able to defend multiple spots on the floor and it helps their team be extremely successful. So, following that [model] has been extremely helpful for me and I think that’s what Brad Stevens, and I’m willing to follow it.” 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cal, Jaylen Brown

Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge on OM&F: ‘Boston fans don’t know who Jaylen [Brown] is’

06.24.16 at 1:45 pm ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

Amidst Celtics’ fans frustration with Boston’s selection of Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 overall pick, Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria to defend his pick and discuss the Celtics’ upcoming offseason. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

“Boston fans don’t know who Jaylen is. If you want a really good picture of Jaylen you should call Bill Walton. I think he broadcast 10 or 12 of Jaylen’s games in the Pac-12 last year,” said Ainge. “The first thing is that with Jaylen, I don’t think he is going to reach his potential three, four, five years from now, fully, but the good thing about Jaylen is with his physicality and his body, athleticism, strength and maturity he can play in an NBA game right now. He can contribute now, he won’t reach his full potential to later.

Added Ainge: “I think that you are missing what we have seen him do for the two years prior to this years college season. You guys know this I’m sure, but he was a guy that was projected at no.2 in the draft at this time last year … Usually those are fairly close to accurate. If a guy is not that high he is usually pretty close with a few exceptions. Jaylen was a guy we were watching for a longtime. We have seen him play against good players that are in the NBA right now with great success and be the better player. I have seen him in two draft workouts against really good college players or guys that were drafted yesterday and watch him make shots and I’m not so concerned. I am concerned with those numbers (referring to Brown’s 29 percent field goal rate). I think there are some things that with the way Cal played with two bigs all the time and with a non-shooting point guard. They didn’t have the greatest spacing. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. Jaylen is not a perfect finished product. He has been able to overpower kids throughout his time because of his body and power and explosive athleticism.

“Yeah, he’s got to make some better decisions, but again I focus on what he can do, I look at the things Jaylen Brown can do. With all these kids, we have gone through them with a fine tooth comb. We have looked at everything they have done offensively, defensively with their character, how hard they work. We look at every bit of their background; we talk to a lot of different people in regards to them, so we see the good, the bad, the ugly and the great.”

Ainge also reiterated that the Celtics did try to trade the pick before making the selection.

“Throughout this entire draft we were trying to get players and talk to most every team in the NBA for the different picks. We were still trying to trade, but we weren’t able to for a couple of reasons,” said Ainge. “I think that the difference in the NBA now, then it was even just five years ago, is that there is not very many teams that have full 15-man rosters right now and are looking to dump contracts and dump cap space because everybody has cap space for the next two years. For the next two summers you are going to see that, as the TV money has doubled the salary cap. It is a unique time where we are and those kind of deals are just harder to get. I’m not saying that you expect to get a star at 16 or 23 in the draft, but sometimes you can get an OK player … I think it is dangerous to draft a guy to just be able to have a higher trade value because first of all we don’t know who has higher trade value.”

Ainge believes that Boston is an attractive destination for free agents once the signing period begins on July 1.

“I have to believe this it is my job to sell a product, there are players out there that have shown interest in Boston in the past and we have come very very close and we didn’t lose out because we were Boston or we didn’t lose out because we didn’t have another star guy in those cases it just there is always some reason,” said Ainge. “I am still optimistic that our Boston Celtic organization and the city of Boston and our history can be an attractive place for some, even though it has never happened in the history of the Celtics with the exception of KG, which was, yes, a trade but also he had to agree to sign here on an extension before a trade was made.”

In addition, Ainge addressed how the Celtics would approach free agency.

“It is need based in free agency, but the need of a really good player at any position is a need,” said Ainge. “So it will be need based. But there will be some needs that if we strikeout a list of players that we seek our A list, we go to our B list, our C list , our D list. We will put an immediate call into Evan [Turner] out of respect if nothing else. But we do have interest in Evan, or we may use his cap space to sign a different player. We will be taking trades even before free agency begins, we are back at it today.”

Read More: Danny Ainge, Jaylen Brown,

Danny Ainge defends Jaylen Brown pick, admits ‘it was a tough choice, we grew very fond of Jaylen’

06.24.16 at 8:39 am ET
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The announcement of Jaylen Brown as the Celtics’ first draft selection prompted boos and heckles on the floor of the TD Garden Thursday night. 

Owner Wyc Grousbeck even came out to try and explain the pick but was drowned out by the disappointed fans. 

Then Danny Ainge, hours after completing the draft with five more selections, came out to explain himself and the organization and what they were thinking. 

“So, there was a lot of discussion over the last couple of months with the No. 3 pick. And a lot of study and hard work by my staff. We had some, like I said, a lot of discussion and even trading that pick and trading down in the draft and trading for future picks and so forth. Ultimately, there wasn’t anything to our liking.

“We grew very fond of Jaylen. He’s a great kid; 19 years old who has a man’s body, great athleticism, sort of a vogue new type of player in the NBA, of the versatile player, the versatile wings, can play multiple positions, defensively. And we think he has a lot of upside but we think he’s a 19-year-old kid that can get on the court and play with the big boys right out of the gate.” 

To read his WEEI.com draft profile, click here

Was Brown always the guy at No. 3?

“No, it was a tough choice,” Ainge added. “There was a lot of good players, lot of good players at (No.) 3. So that was never really done completely. There’s a lot of different views, internally, and we went back-and-forth many many times. But everybody unanimously really liked Brown as well, there was other guys as well.”

The biggest concern is Brown’s shooting touch at Cal in his only season there as a 19-year-old. The 6-foot-7 projected wing shot only 29.4 percent from 3-point range. 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cal, Danny Ainge

Poll: Did Celtics make right choice by taking Jaylen Brown 3rd in draft?

06.24.16 at 12:58 am ET
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The NBA draft is over and Celtics fans seem decidedly mixed on the selection of Cal forward Jaylen Brown. But don’t take our word for it. We want to hear from you. Did Danny Ainge make the right move?

Did the Celtics make the right choice keeping the third pick and selecting Jaylen Brown?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Jaylen Brown,

Celtics make 3 selections in 2nd round

06.24.16 at 12:43 am ET
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After trading away their first two second-round picks for a lottery protected pick in 2019, the Celtics did end up making three second-round selections. 

With the 45th pick, they took Demetrius Jackson, a point guard from Notre Dame. This past season Jackson averaged 15.8 points and 4.7 assists. Jackson was projected by some to be a first-round pick, so this could be considered a good value pick for the Celtics, but it will be difficult for Jackson to earn playing time on a roster that already features Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier at the point guard position. 

At 51, the C’s went with Ben Bentil, a 6-foor-8 stretch forward from Providence. Bentil averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds this past season as a sophomore. Bentil is a decent scorer, both from the outside and attacking the basket, but struggles as a rebounder and a defender. 

With the 58th and final pick, the Celtics drafted Abdel Nader, a senior forward from Iowa State. It has been reported that Nader has agreed to play for the Maine Red Claws next year. 

Celtics trade 31st and 35th pick to Memphis for 2019 lottery protected first-round pick

06.23.16 at 11:05 pm ET
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As first reported by ESPN, the Celtics have traded the 31st and 35th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft to the Memphis Grizzlies for the Los Angeles Clippers first-round pick in 2019, which the Grizzlies owned. The 2019 pick is lottery protected and will only convey if it falls between 15 and 30. The pick is also lottery protected in 2020 and will turn into a second-round pick in 2022 if it is not conveyed by then. 

 

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