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The official Celtics-centric Kevin Love timeline

06.19.14 at 9:02 pm ET
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The Celtics-centric story surrounding Kevin Love actually began before the All-Star break, but Boston’s Love affair reached “Fatal Attraction” levels when the three-time NBA All-Star spent three days in the city a few weeks back.

Since then, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and Celtics counterpart Danny Ainge have seemingly pulled the puppet strings masterfully, casting sources in a drama worthy of Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. The plot thickens every day, so here’s the storyboard updated through the latest episode.

For more analysis, read about Ainge’s final play for Love.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Love, NBA

Joel Embiid, the Celtics and an NBA foot fetish

06.19.14 at 4:12 pm ET
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Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Projected top-three pick Joel Embiid will undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, navicular stress fracture surgery requires 3-4 months of recovery, although fellow 7-footers Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Yao Ming needed more time following similar injuries. Embiid is scheduled for surgery on Friday; training camp is less than four months away.

If teams weren’t already fearful of a freshman 7-footer with just four years basketball experience who also sprained his knee and suffered a season-ending back injury in 2014, you better believe they’re rethinking their draft boards.

The question is whether Embiid will fall from a potential No. 1 overall selection and surefire top-three pick to the Celtics with the sixth pick. Teams haven’t always shied away from selecting injury-plagued bigs with the first few picks in the past, but the Greg Oden saga may have finally changed the landscape.

Take Nerlens Noel, for example. Once believed to be a lock at No. 1 in last year’s draft, the Everett native fell to the 76ers at six. Granted, Noel’s ACL injury necessitated a redshirt season of sorts, but the wealth of talent in this year’s draft may also force teams drafting in the top five to consider a healthy Dante Exum, Marcus Smart or Aaron Gordon over an injured Embiid, even if he could return sooner rather than later.

Likewise, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia spending a second straight lottery pick on an injured center. And given the presence of young centers Nikola Vucevic in Orlando and Enes Kanter in Utah, it’s certainly not inconceivable Embiid drops to the Celtics if the Cavaliers and Bucks pass on him with the first two picks.

If Joel Embiid falls to the Celtics, should they take him with the sixth pick?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid, NBA,

Antoine Walker on D&C: ‘I trusted people that I shouldn’t have trusted’

06.19.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Former Celtics power forward Antoine Walker joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the upcoming documentary on his financial struggles: “Gone in an Instant: The Antoine Walker Story.” To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The documentary, which is scheduled to be released in August, will chronicle the rise and fall of Walker’€™s career and his nine-figure fortune. Walker stated that he chose to do this documentary both in order to clear the air on some aspects of his financial turmoil as well as instruct young NBA players on how to be responsible with their money.

“€œI think there were a lot of false things put out there and I wanted an opportunity to get my chance to tell my side of the story the correct way,” Walker said. “I just felt like I was getting misjudged in the public eye, not so much about losing money but how I lost it and what were the things that went on to lose it. More importantly, I’€™m trying to use it as a learning tool for younger guys that come into the NBA, but also for kids. … I think, as an NBA player, we look at ourselves as a fraternity, so I try to make sure that I can give back and really turn this negative story into a positive.”

A three-time All-Star, Walker earned $108 million in salary during his NBA career. However, a combination of poor investing ventures, gambling and unnecessary purchases, such as a $400,000 Maybach car, led to Walker filing for bankruptcy in 2010.

“It took a while for me,”€ Walker said. “€œIt took 10-plus years in the league for me to start seeing a little difference in people, let alone my financial changes. I tried to take more risks, as far as investing. I started dipping and dabbing in real estate investments and making things a little bit more difficult than it had to be. I trusted people that I shouldn’t have trusted in. … I think the gambling piece got blown way out of proportion, so I wanted to bring that to light. … People got the wrong impression that I gambled my money away.”

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Read More: Antoine Walker, Celtics, Danny Ainge,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Cape Verde C Walter Tavares

06.19.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

Walter Tavares

Walter Tavares

WALTER TAVARES

Position: Center
Country:  Cape Verde
Age: 22
Height: 7-foot-3
Weight: 265 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-8.5

Key 2013-14 stats (ACB Spain): 6.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks

Scouting report: Let’€™s not split hairs: Tavares is a monster. At 7-foot-3 with a gargantuan 92.5-inch wingspan, the Cape Verdean big man is quickly rising up draft boards because of his size. Yet, it’€™s not just his height that has teams excited, because he has abnormally quick feet, which gives him potential as a star pick-and-roll defender.

But he might be years away from ever making that type of impact since he picked up a basketball for the first time in 2010 and is still learning how to play the game and how to use his strength. Tavares is a bit of a gentle giant and occasionally gets overpowered in a David vs. Goliath fashion. Likewise, as you would expect from such an inexperienced player, his fundamentals are poor, as he allows deep post positioning and misses rotations on the defensive end.

Despite the flaws, Tavares has already shown enough potential to warrant consideration as a late first-round pick. With his size and rebounding ability, only his mindset stand in the way of him making an impact in the NBA. If teams believe he has the right attitude to learn, then it would be surprising if he weren’€™t playing consistent minutes in a few years.

How he fits: The Celtics would get the rim protector they so desperately desire, but they’€™d have to wait at least one year for him to really make an impact. Tavares works out with the team this week, and they’ll likely decide whether they really want to draft him or not.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Scouting Spain: Which international bigs could the Celtics have interest in drafting?

NBA.com: Walter Tavares prospect analysis

Video: Walter Tavares video scouting report

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA. His 60-page 2014 NBA Draft Guide is available for download here.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Walter Tavares,

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Why Kevin Love deal has to happen soon

06.18.14 at 9:59 am ET
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As this year’€™s highly anticipated NBA draft creeps even closer, the Celtics continue to do their homework.

Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens are busy students, having brought in several groups of prospects to get a better look at them in person. Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Marcus Smart have been the headliners so far, along with local products Noah Vonleh and Shabazz Napier. Clearly Ainge and Stevens are preparing for the draft as if they will be using both of their first-round draft picks.

That’€™s their job, after all. Which doesn’€™t necessarily mean Ainge is going to use the picks. He simply has to be ready to do so.

ESPN insider Chad Ford‘€™s recent mock draft provided us with the most positive Kevin Love outlook to date from a Celtics standpoint. Ford’€™s take:

The Celtics were very busy last feel, holding workouts with Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott, essentially everyone they would consider with the No. 6 pick.

I still believe that Vonleh, Gordon and Smart are the heavy favorites if Boston keeps the pick, with Gordon being the choice right now given the way we have the draft board playing out.

But I continue to get strong signals that the Celtics are trying hard to use pick No. 6 and 17 along with future No. 1s and young players such as Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk to persuade the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade them Kevin Love. One source close to the Wolves said that while Flip Saunders does not want to trade Love, he realizes the team likely will lose him this summer and the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he’s going to get. Given the strength of the draft, picks 6, 13 and 17 could land them three young starters to help them rebuild their roster quickly.

As Ford implies, a trade along these lines not only makes sense for both sides, but Boston has to be considered the team with the most to offer.

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Flip Saunders, Kevin Love

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Michigan State G Gary Harris

06.18.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

Gary Harris

Gary Harris

GARY HARRIS

Position: Combo guard
SchoolMichigan State
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-4.5
Weight: 205 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2013-14 stats: 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists

Scouting report: Harris is one of the best defenders in the draft and can easily defend multiple positions despite being undersized. He’€™s a lockdown defender in man-to-man situations, but also is excellent off-ball, constantly displaying top-notch awareness by hitting his rotations and by sticking to players running through screens.

The 19-year-old also has complementary scoring skills on the offensive end, as he is an improving 3-point shooter and ball-handler. Some teams even project him as a “modern point guard” because he is a solid passer and tends to make the right play in pick-and-roll situations.

Harris does have his problems as a scorer, though, as he was extremely inefficient in the half-court, with only a 49.5 effective field goal percentage and a 43.1 at-rim field goal percentage, according to Hoop-Math.com. Part of the reason for those struggles is his lack of a floater or mid-range game to compensate for his finishing ability at the rim.

Overall, Harris has a lot of skill at his age and should continue to improve on the offensive end. Even if he doesn’t, his defense is still good enough for him to carve out a role as a defensive specialist.

How he fits: Harris could work as a contingency plan in case Avery Bradley can’t be re-signed or is used in a sign-and-trade deal. Harris brings a similar skill set and could potentially have even higher upside than Bradley.

Related articles:

ESPN Insider: Why Harris is a lottery pick

SB Nation: The big Gary Harris scouting report: The 3-and-D prototype

Video: Gary Harris pre-draft workout and interview

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA. His 60-page 2014 NBA Draft Guide is available for download here.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Gary Harris,

Austin Ainge is sold on Shabazz Napier as an NBA point guard: ‘He’s going to make it’

06.17.14 at 1:05 am ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics may or may not get a chance to take Shabazz Napier in the June 26 NBA draft. But team personnel executive Austin Ainge made one thing clear his opinion Monday after Napier’s workout for the team: Napier will be playing somewhere in the NBA eventually.

“Shabazz is so clever and shifty,” Ainge said. “He is very hard to stay in front of because he really changes directions very well. He’s quick but he is even shiftier than he is quick. He’s very clever and he can make shots.

“Shabazz is not physically overwhelming, but he has toughness, intelligence and skill and that extra savvy, so he more than makes up for it. He’s going to make it is my guess. He’s a good player.”

Napier stands just 5-feet-11 and weighs 180 pounds, with a wingspan just over 6-feet-3 and a reach of 7-feet-9. But to Ainge and the Celtics, his ability to lead a winning program on the court has its own rewards in the eyes of basketball evaluators.

“It’s big. It’s big,” Ainge said. “We all can look at physical tools. But the league is full of guys that don’t fit most athletic, physical but still are successful. Shabazz certainly checks the box as to how well physically he can play.”

But those numbers certainly don’t count for everything, like winning two national championships at one of the most prestigious college basketball programs in the country — UConn — and staying at school and playing all four years.

“You can certainly see it,” Ainge said of Napier’s pure skill. “It’s obvious watching Shabazz. Then I think it’s measured in all the other stats. He gets assists, points in the paint and his teams win. All those things can be measured.

“In a college game you learn a lot. But in this, you learn different things. We’re putting him against NBA athletes in NBA positions. That’s probably the biggest advantage for us.”

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Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, NBA, Shabazz Napier
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