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Celtics to play preseason contest in Italy this October

06.03.15 at 9:49 am ET
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The Celtics will be going international to open their preseason this fall.

The NBA, in conjunction with Euroleague Basketball and RCS Sport, confirmed Wednesday that the Celtics will play a preseason game on Oct. 6 against Olimpia Milano in Milan, Italy, as part of NBA Global Games Europe 2015.

The 17-time NBA champion will play the three-time Euroleague champion and 26-time Italian League champion Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan.

“On behalf of the Celtics organization, we are proud to return to Milan for NBA Global Games 2015,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “I have particularly fond memories of playing in Europe almost 30 years ago, and I am sure our current players will relish this unique opportunity.”

“It is an honor to represent the Celtics and the NBA in Milan,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “I know there are passionate NBA fans in Italy and we look forward to an electric atmosphere on game night.”

“We’ll play in Chicago and New York against Maccabi and then head home to Italy to play the Boston Celtics which will be an exciting week for us as a team,” Olimpia Milano president Flavio Portaluppi said. “We appreciate the opportunity to play such a spectacular opponent in front of our loyal fans.”

This will mark the Celtics’€™ seventh game in Europe and second contest in Milan, having previously played in 2012. Olimpia Milano features Alessandro Gentile, Samardo Samuels and MarShon Brooks, who was selected 25th overall in the 2011 NBA draft out of Providence. Brooks also was part of the blockbuster deal in July 2013 that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets.

Tickets can be purchased beginning June 8 at ticketone.it.

The Celtics also will play a regular-season game in Mexico City next season as part of NBA Global Games 2015, which will feature additional games around the world, including:

· China: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Charlotte Hornets in Shenzhen on Oct. 11 and Shanghai on Oct. 14
· Brazil: Orlando Magic vs. Flamengo in Rio De Janeiro on Oct. 17
· Mexico: Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings in Mexico City on Dec. 3 (regular season)
· Additional games and locations will be announced at a later date

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Milan, NBA, NBA Global Games 2015

Celtics bring in a pair of UMass players for Wednesday pre-draft workouts

06.03.15 at 9:33 am ET
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WALTHAM — As pre-draft workouts continue, the Celtics are hosting another six players on Wednesday at their practice facility.

One day after working out four point guards, the Celtics are turning their focus to six big men, as it widely assumed they will be focused on bringing in a young impact forward/center to help with defense and rebounding in the paint.

Two of the six players scheduled Wednesday are from UMass. The six players scheduled to work out Wednesday are:

Kevin Capers –€“ Florida Southern (D-II)
Maxie Esho — UMass
Alpha Kaba — France
Cady Lalanne –€“ UMass
Larry Nance — Wyoming
T.J. Price €– Western Kentucky

Read More: Boston Celtics, UMass,

Brad Stevens details exactly what Celtics get out of pre-draft workouts

06.03.15 at 9:15 am ET
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Brad Stevens is in a good place right now.

The Celtics coach is coming off a season in which his team surprised everyone by making the playoffs, winning 15 of their final 21 games to make the postseason for the first time in the Stevens era.

Now, Danny Ainge and son Austin are bringing in players who could serve as reinforcements to a roster that was overhauled midway through the season, and it’s Stevens’ job to identify players they might want to scoop up with any of their four picks they have in the upcoming draft.

“There have been some guys that been through that I think could help, but there are also some guys that have been through that are pretty impressive [who play positions where] I think we have pretty good depth,” Stevens said. “So then it becomes a decision of do you draft a young guy and develop him at a position where you already feel pretty strong, or do you try to fill positional needs? Luckily that’s above me and I just run the workouts.”

That is somewhat unusual for an NBA head coach, as assistants are usually delegated to such tasks. But with Stevens, he prefers to be hands on and have some input into what he might be working with next year.

“I really like it,” Stevens said. “You get a chance to really interact with guys, meet them face to face, spend time with them, watch them go through tough things, watch them go through good things, and respond to both. It’s good. These guys [front office] have said it many times, and I totally agree with it: it’s not the end-all, be-all. These guys have watched these guys play for years in games, this year, so for me you can maybe go and watch film on some of these guys, and then the workout validates what you saw. Or maybe it doesn’t. So it is fun to have them in here.”

Tuesday was a day to focus on point guards, as the Celtics brought in five, including Boston College product Olivier Hanlan.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, NBA, NBA Draft

Austin Ainge walks fine line in pre-draft workouts

06.02.15 at 6:03 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Austin Ainge is walking a tightrope at this time of year.

It’s the time of year when the Celtics‘ director of player personnel has to watch what he says about every prospective draft pick that comes through the door of the team’s practice facility for pre-draft workouts.

On Tuesday, another four, all point guard prospects worked out for Brad Stevens, Ainge and his father Danny, showing off their skills. One of them, Olivier Hanlan, is very familiar to Boston and New England fans, as he played three seasons at Boston College. Another, Andrew Harrison has declared for the draft after two stellar seasons at Kentucky, including a national title game appearance in 2014 and run at immortality this spring before UK lost to Wisconsin in the national semis.

Also on hand was Louisville guard Terry Frazier and Tennessee’s Josh Richardson. Another, Corey Walden out of Eastern Kentucky suffered a minor hamstring injury early on and had to sit out most of it and another missed his flight because of weather issues.

But when asked his impressions, Ainge was coy because he has to be.

“When you guys ask me questions about the guys, I say like one positive sentence about everybody,” Ainge said. “Really, what else can I do? If I say anything negative, their agents will be mad at me. If I get too glowing, you guys [will write about it].”

Where does Ainge get his background info?

“We ask the players. Obviously, the [other NBA] teams won’t tell us. So we ask, ‘Hey, where did you work out last? Who was there? How’d they look?’ So we ask them. They’re allowed to tell the truth.

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Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics,

Report: Celtics assistant Darren Erman to become Pelicans associate head coach

06.02.15 at 9:14 am ET
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According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans have agreed in principle with Celtics assistant Darren Erman to become their associate head coach under Alvin Gentry.

This past season was Erman’s first season with the Celtics, although he did serve as an assistant on Doc Rivers‘ staff during his time in Boston. Erman then spent two seasons with the Warriors turning around their defense before returning to the Celtics last season. He reportedly will focus on the defense with the Pelicans.

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Celtics really should be eyeing these free agents this offseason

05.31.15 at 1:53 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk gets entangled with Kevin Love in Game 4 of their playoff matchup. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Kelly Olynyk gets entangled with Kevin Love in Game 4 of their playoff matchup. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Celtics are heading toward a big summer in 2015, as Danny Ainge will do his best to reel in a top-tier free agent who could help the Celtics become a top team in the Eastern Conference next season.

The Celtics, who were swept by the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, need help in the front court. The Celtics didn’t have a go-to scorer, nor did they have anyone who could rebound against Cleveland. Scoring and rebounding are two statistical categories the Celtics most need help in.

Ainge will take a crack at signing unrestricted free agents such as Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but chances are those players will end up staying in Memphis and Portland, respectively. Same goes for restricted free agents like Golden State’s Draymond Green and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard; two players who will stay where they are or go to another title contender out west.

But there’s still plenty of talented free agents available who could be looking for a change of scenery. Here are four free agents the Celtics could sign this summer.

Greg Monroe, PF/C
2014-15: 16 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists

The unrestricted free agent will be attracting attention from a lot of teams this summer. Monroe is a good rebounder whose consistent offense is something the C’s need out of their front court. He can score with his back to the basket and is the most realistic free agent candidate on this list for the Celtics. This past season, Monroe averaged a double-double for the first time in his career. Adding Monroe to the offense would make the Celtics a top-five team in the East next season. Even though Ainge may have Kevin Love listed above Monroe on his free agent wish list, Monroe most likely will sit atop of Ainge’s list after Cleveland ultimately signs Love back for one more season.

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Read More: Celtics, Greg Monroe, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love

Danny Ainge asks for Isaiah Thomas’ input during free agency

05.26.15 at 12:11 pm ET
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With the Celtics expected to active in free agency this offseason, Danny Ainge has reportedly asked for Isaiah Thomas‘€™ input during the process.

“Danny said if there’€™s any free agent out there I’€™m interested in, to let him know,” Thomas told The Boston Globe. “That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’€™m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball.

“It means a lot, and it’€™s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys.”€

With a void at the center position, this year’€™s Sixth Man of the Year said that he would like to see the Celtics bring in a rim-protector.

“€œA defensive-minded player,”€ Thomas said. “It’€™d be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something.”

After being traded from the Suns midway through the season, Thomas quickly became an integral part of coach Brad Stevens‘€™ pick-and-roll offense. He led the team in scoring (17.5 points per game) and assists (seven per game).

When asked about his recruiting pitch to potential free agents, Thomas kept it simple.

“€œThe history behind the Boston Celtics is what you want,”€ he said. “And the city of Boston is definitely a sports city. They love their players and support their players. Really, everything you want in a basketball team and organization is here.

“€œIt might not be Miami or LA with the weather, but what’€™s most important is the culture. And I can only imagine, when we really get good, what the city would be like.”

Read More: Danny Ainge, Isiah Thomas,
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