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James Young on MFB: ‘Definitely wanted to come here’ to play for Celtics

06.30.14 at 3:37 pm ET
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New Celtics guard James Young joined Middays with MFB on Monday afternoon, following his introductory press conference, and the former Kentucky standout said he’s “honored” to have been selected 17th overall. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“I definitely wanted to come here,” Young said. “When I came out here for my last visit, me and coach [Brad Stevens] really had that connection from right there, and Danny [Ainge] was a great guy to talk to. So, this is a place that I definitely wanted to come to.

“When I got my name called I was very surprised and happy. I was just very glad that my parents got to support me. They were very happy with my choice, too. I’m glad that I landed here.”

Young said he thinks he’ll fit in at shooting guard, wing or wherever the team wants him to play.

“I’m very versatile,” he said. “Length definitely helps me. I can shoot the ball very well and come off pick and rolls, definitely a thing that I’ve been working on. But playing the 2 spot is what I’ve been playing a lot. I’m definitely good at playing the 3; that’s what I played this past season, switching off like that. I played the 1 and the 4, too, so we’ll see how that goes.”

A Michigan native who grew up rooting for the Pistons, Young said his game is comparable to that of Rockets guard James Harden, who like Young shoots left-handed.

“I feel like James Harden, his game’s just all-around good,” Young said. “He’s a great left-hander, shoots the ball very well and attacks the basket with aggressiveness, just aggressively attacks the basket. I kind of tried to [model] my game after him, just try to study his game a little bit.”

The 18-year-old said he and fellow first-round pick Marcus Smart have established a fast bond despite never having played with or against each other before.

“I feel like we’re going to connect really well on the court,” he said. “We have that connection off the court, so I definitely feel like on the court. If one of us is having a bad game and can’t get open, we’ll definitely look for each other just to get it going.”

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Brad Stevens, James Harden, James Young, Marcus Smart

Travis Ford on MFB: Marcus Smart ‘just a warrior’

06.30.14 at 2:49 pm ET
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Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford joined Middays with MFB Monday afternoon to discuss his former player, Marcus Smart, who was taken by the Celtics with the sixth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

While Smart has been praised for his defense, passing, leadership and ability to drive to the basket, the Texas native was punished this past season for shoving a fan during the closing seconds of Oklahoma State’€™s 65-61 loss against Texas Tech on Feb. 8. Ford said the incident is a non-issue going forward.

“That seems like it has passed. … For a solid week or two, that’€™s all that was being talked about,”€ Ford said. “€œI hated it for the kid. There’€™s no question that he made a mistake and he’€™s the first one that would admit it. … It was just a moment in time –€“ a two- to three-second moment in time — that does not define Marcus whatsoever.”

Ford added that Smart, who averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 32.7 minutes a game as a sophomore in 2013-14, will bring a lot of attributes to the parquet floor.

“I think they just loved his competitiveness. Marcus is a winner,”€ Ford said. “€œThere’€™s not many players period that I’ve ever been associated with that are as competitive as he is on a daily basis. He has a motor that just doesn’t quit. … He’s all about giving it everything he’s got and trying to win whatever it is. … Marcus is just a warrior, and I think that’€™s what impressed [Boston] the most.”

Smart put the college basketball world on notice during his freshman season with the Cowboys, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists en route to being named a first-team All-American by Sporting News and a unanimous selection as Big 12 Player of the Year.

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Read More: Celtics, Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Travis Ford

2014 NBA free agent power forwards available to Celtics

06.30.14 at 2:35 pm ET
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With NBA free agency opening Tuesday, we continue our annual examination of the options available to the Celtics at each position. Today’s focus: Power forwards. Unlike recent seasons, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is expected to have more flexibility than any summer since 2007 when the league’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted and the salary cap (an estimated $63.2 million) is officially set on July 10.

The Celtics have eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 for $48.5 million (Rajon Rondo $12.9M; Gerald Wallace $10.1M; Jeff Green $9.2M; Brandon Bass $6.9M; Joel Anthony $3.8M; Vitor Faverani $2.1M; Kelly Olynyk $2.1M; Jared Sullinger $1.4M) as well as $4.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young. Pending decisions on or by Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, the C’s could have as much as $10 million in cap space — or more if they use the stretch provision on Wallace.

As currently constituted, the Celtics already have a logjam at power forward with Bass, Sullinger and Olynyk on the roster, but all three of those names will continue to be raised in trade discussions as Ainge straddles the fence between rebuilding and reloading this summer. As the C’s retool the roster, any combination of that trio could need replacing through free agency. Just don’t hold your breath for Chris Bosh or Dirk Nowitzki.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at their options, separating the current free agents into three categories.

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Read More: 2014 NBA Free Agency, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger

Cedric Maxwell: Rajon Rondo requested $100 million contract

06.30.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is rumored to be seeking the equivalent of a max contract, according to radio analyst Cedric Maxwell. That combined with the selection of Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft could spell the end of Rondo’s tenure in Boston, Maxwell added.

“I think it basically gives you an indicator of what the Celtics want to do,” Maxwell told Yahoo Sports Radio. “Rumor has it that Rondo has asked for a $100 million extension. You’ve got Smart, the young kid, and you’ve got Young, the other kid from Kentucky — both guards. And in the NBA system right now, the way they’re being paid, you would pay both those guys probably about $4 million for one year instead of the $100 million right now that Rondo wanted to ask for.

“So, if you’re Rondo, you might want to start calling that moving company and say, ‘Eh, come get my stuff. I don’t think I’m going to be here too long.'”

Maxwell is correct in his assumption that Smart and Young are slotted to make $4.1 million this coming season, but the Celtics can’t technically sign Rondo to a $100 million extension this summer. They could offer him a three-year, $44.8 million extension, but Rondo cannot command his five-year, $104.7 million max deal until reaching unrestricted free agency in 2015.

2014 NBA free agent small forwards available to Celtics

06.29.14 at 8:54 am ET
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With NBA free agency opening Tuesday, we continue our annual examination of the options available to the Celtics at each position. Today’s focus: Small forwards. Unlike recent seasons, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is expected to have more flexibility than any summer since 2007 when the league’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted and the salary cap (an estimated $63.2 million) is officially set on July 10.

The Celtics have eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 for $48.5 million (Rajon Rondo $12.9M; Gerald Wallace $10.1M; Jeff Green $9.2M; Brandon Bass $6.9M; Joel Anthony $3.8M; Vitor Faverani $2.1M; Kelly Olynyk $2.1M; Jared Sullinger $1.4M) as well as $4.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young. Pending decisions on or by Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, the C’s could have as much as $10 million in cap space — or more if they use the stretch provision on Wallace.

With Green, Wallace, Johnson and Young all under their control for at least the next two seasons, the Celtics seem locked into the position at first glance. Upon closer look, Ainge will surely shop the two years and $18.4 million left on Green’s contract if the youth movement continues, Wallace could be jettisoned, too, Johnson’s contract isn’t guaranteed and Young is just 18 years old. This year’s free agent small forward crop is as good as the shooting guard list is bad, so don’t be surprised if the C’s are linked to every name out there except LeBron James.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at their options, separating the current free agents into three categories.

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Read More: 2014 NBA Free Agency, Boston Celtics, Gordon Hayward, NBA

Celtics extend qualifying offer to Avery Bradley

06.29.14 at 8:50 am ET
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As expected, the Celtics have extended a $3.58 million qualifying offer to guard Avery Bradley, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

With free agency looming on July 1, the move was inevitable, allowing the Celtics  to match any offer Bradley receives on the market this summer.

During a press conference regarding first-round draft picks Marcus Smart and James Young, Ainge appeared confident the Celtics will bring back Bradley. Reports have indicated he could command between $7-9 million as a restricted free agent, and the limited crop of available shooting guards makes it more likely he could end up earning the higher end of that estimate.

After earning Second Team All-Defensive honors in 2012-13, Bradley made significant improvements offensively this past season, averaging 15 points and shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. However, the added offensive load left him off the All-Defensive roster, and he missed significant time for a second straight season due to injury. Still, losing Bradley would be a serious blow to the Celtics this summer. Still only 23 years old, he has All-Star potential and the work ethic to reach it.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, NBA,

2014 NBA free agent shooting guards available to Celtics

06.28.14 at 9:58 am ET
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With NBA free agency opening Tuesday, we continue our annual examination of the options available to the Celtics at each position. Today’s focus: Shooting guards. Unlike recent seasons, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is expected to have more flexibility than any summer since 2007 when the league’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted and the salary cap (an estimated $63.2 million) is officially set on July 10.

See also2014 NBA free agent point guards available to Celtics

The Celtics have eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 for $48.5 million (Rajon Rondo $12.9M; Gerald Wallace $10.1M; Jeff Green $9.2M; Brandon Bass $6.9M; Joel Anthony $3.8M; Vitor Faverani $2.1M; Kelly Olynyk $2.1M; Jared Sullinger $1.4M) as well as $4.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young. Pending decisions on or by Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, the C’s could have as much as $10 million in cap space — or more if they use the stretch provision on Wallace.

Given Bradley’s unrestricted free agency and potential to command as much as $9 million annually, the Celtics face a difficult decision with no reliable shooting guard on the roster and limited options to upgrade the position through free agency. Ainge sounded optimistic about the possibility of re-signing Bradley when discussing the potential of a Rondo-Smart-Bradley guard rotation after the draft, but he’ll still need to bolster that corps in the coming months.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at their options, separating the current free agents into three categories.

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Read More: 2014 NBA Free Agency, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Jimmer Fredette
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