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Report: Celtics sign rookies Ben Bentil, Demetrius Jackson to contracts

07.27.16 at 12:56 pm ET
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Mar 16, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Providence Friars forward Ben Bentil (0) shoots the ball during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at PNC Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics reportedly have signed Ben Bentil. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics inked a pair of their second-round picks, signing 45th overall pick Demetrius Jackson to a four-year, $5.5 million deal while signing 51st overall pick Ben Bentil to a three-year deal, according to the Boston Globe.

A 6-foot-1 guard out of Notre Dame, Jackson did not turn many heads in the summer league, averaging 5.3 points, 1.3 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 16.6 minutes per game over eight appearances.

The deal seems nothing more than a rational protection of assets, with a number of Celtics draftees from recent years playing overseas — including Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele, both of whom were taken in the first round of the 2016 draft.

Jackson averaged 36 minutes per game in 2015-16 with the Fighting Irish, scoring 15.8 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. He also averaged 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.5 boards per game. 

He was projected by DraftExpress to go 24th overall, but ultimately fell much later in the draft.

Don’t be surprised if Jackson ends up in Maine to start the season in the D-League with the Celtics already carrying quite a bit of young depth at the guard position with John Holland, James Young and R.J. Hunter, all of whom are still working to earn their spot on the roster.

The 6-foot-9 power forward Bentil is also a likely candidate to start the season in the D-League seeing as the C’s now have 18 players on the roster with a maximum allowance of 15 on an active roster.

Bentil was taken following a standout sophomore year at Providence College, where he averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. While with the Celtics during the summer league, he averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 boards per game. Though the financial figures of the deal are unknown currently, the first year of his deal is reportedly guaranteed.

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Full Court Press: Resetting Celtics roster, Abdel Nader, Boston no-go for 2017 All-Star Game

07.23.16 at 5:34 pm ET
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Apr 8, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Zeller will be rising to the occasion again for the Celtics after signing a two-year deal. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

These are very fluid times at the bottom of the Celtics roster. 

The news Saturday that the Celtics have reached agreement in principle on free agent deals with Tyler Zeller (their own through restricted free agency) and Gerald Green (1 year, $1.5 million) brings the Celtics roster to 17 players for the upcoming season. 

In the NFL, when a significant free agent is signed in the offseason, it is presumed that free agent will be with the team come training camp. With the Celtics, that is not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination, especially when that imagination belongs to Danny Ainge. 

Several sources around the league have indicated that Ainge is far from done with his offseason maneuverings and would like to reshape the roster once more before the team heads to camp in late September.

The Celtics were able to get a max deal done (4 years, $113 million) with Al Horford, who comes to Boston still in his prime at the age of 30.  

Even with Tom Brady on their side, they just missed out on Kevin Durant. 

They drafted a confident swingman in Jaylen Brown, who blossomed late in Summer League and started to show the glimpses of brilliance that gave Ainge and his staff reason to take him third overall. 

Horford and Brown are definitely new pieces that will give Brad Stevens more to work with in 2016-17. Zeller and Green may or may not play a big role. 

If you include the guaranteed contract of Brown and pending deals with Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson, the Celtics will actually be at 18 players. 

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Source: Celtics to re-sign Tyler Zeller (2 years, $16 million), ink Gerald Green (1 year, $1.5 million)

07.23.16 at 3:26 pm ET
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May 7, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Gerald Green (14) reacts after scoring against Toronto Raptors during the third quarter in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald Green has agreed on a one-year deal to return to Boston. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics are trying to make the best of what’s left of the free agent market.

League sources confirmed Saturday to WEEI.com that the team will re-sign 26-year-old center Tyler Zeller for two years and $16 million, with the second year consisting of a team option. The news was first reported by the Boston Herald and later by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne

The Celtics are following through on their intentions after extending a $3.7 million qualifying offer in June to Zeller, who like Jared Sullinger was a restricted free agent. 

Sullinger left for bigger money in Toronto. 

Zeller, the 17th overall pick of the Mavericks (traded to Cleveland) in the 2012 draft, appeared in 60 games for the Celtics this season, just a season after starting 59. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3 rebounds over 11.8 minutes per game last season.

The Celtics are also going back to the future and signing 30-year-old Gerald Green. A league source confirms that Green and the team have agreed on a one-year deal for the league veteran minimum of $1.5 million, as reported by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. 

Green was the No. 18 overall pick of the Celtics in the 2005 NBA draft. He played his first two seasons with Boston before being dealt to the Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007. Green averaged 8.9 points per game in 69 games for the Heat last season, including 14 games as a starter.

Green, entering his 10th season, was a productive sixth man for the Heat in the first half of the season but mysteriously fell off and played little down the stretch and in the playoffs against Charlotte and Toronto. Green indicated publicly he had hoped to return to Miami. Green is a career 36.1 percent shooter from 3-point range. During the 2013-14 season with the Suns, Green shot a remarkable 40 percent on a career-high 510 attempts.

Per a league a source, the signings of Zeller and Green appear to be a “fall-back” position for the Celtics, should they want to enter the season with the roster they have constructed. There is still the possibility that these pieces, along with others, could be used in trades down the road, like for Jahlil Okafor of Philadelphia. Both the Herald and Globe have indicated from sources that it’s more likely than not that the roster will definitely be adjusted significantly before the start of camp in late September. 

The roster, after these two signings, will be at 17, including the non-guaranteed contract of John Holland and the guaranteed deal of No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown. The team must cut to 15 players by the start of the season. The Celtics already have freed up the spaces of Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic, both of whom will play overseas next season. 

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Jae Crowder on Kevin Durant choosing Warriors: ‘It was like a slap in the face for us’

07.21.16 at 6:19 pm ET
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Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder isn’t happy with Kevin Durant. And he’s not pulling any punches talking about it.

Speaking to Tom Westerholm of MassLive prior to his 60 Days of Summer appearance at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts the forward was remarkably candid in discussing how he feels after the Celtics were snubbed.

“We were the only team in the NBA to beat both (Cleveland and Golden State) on their home court — the only team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics,” Crowder said. “We told him that. We played him clips from both games and told him basically the scouting report of how we guarded Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) — our entire game plan, basically. That’s what made me mad. We (expletive) told him everything we do to beat these guys, and we beat them, and he went and joined them. I mean, that’s part of the process, but I did not think he would go to those two teams … I felt like afterward, I was talking to Isaiah, like maybe after you sit back, you shouldn’t have told him everything, but who the (expletive) thought he was going to Golden State, realistically? It was like a slap in the face for us, basically.”

Durant made his dramatic announcement via The Players’ Tribune on July 4, stating he would be joining the squad that had denied him a chance to take the Thunder back to the NBA Finals mere weeks ago.

The Celtics pulled out everything they had to try and swing the most prized free-agent their way. They brought some of their impact players like Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk to their meeting in the Hamptons. They also brought Tom Brady — Durant’s favorite athlete. Just prior to the decision, they inked big man Al Horford, who Durant had long shown interest in playing alongside.

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Read More: Jae Crowder, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook

Report: C’s draftee Guerschon Yabusele agrees to contract with Shanghai

07.21.16 at 12:52 pm ET
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Forward Guerschon Yabusele, who was taken by Boston with the 16th overall pick in last month’s NBA draft, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a report from The Boston Globe.

A 6-foot-8 forward, the 20-year-old Yabusele averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year for Rouen Métropole Basket in the French A division.

For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.

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5 takeaways from Celtics summer league

07.16.16 at 10:55 pm ET
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Celtics summer league action ended Friday night, as the C’s finished out their Vegas season losing to Portland 80-75. Boston ended up with a 1-4 record in Vegas after sweeping the four-team Utah Summer League. However, this is summer league, where players are competing for roster spots, and the wins don’t really matter.

With that said, here are the C’s players who made the best and worst cases for playing at the Garden.

 1. Terry Rozier stands out

If only to resurface the backcourt talent log jam issue, which seemed to clear after Evan Turner signed with Portland, Terry Rozier is showing a lot of promise on the dawn of his sophomore season.

Averaging 20 points per game along with 5.3 rebound and 3.5 assists, Rozier could be the Turner replacement the Celtics are looking for. He was the facilitator of Boston’s offense throughout summer league, showing efficiency and a solid stroke throughout July. And of course, he made a last-second shot to win the C’s the Utah Summer League title, just to add to an already impressive summer league resume.

With Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart making the thought of cracking the point guard rotation difficult, Rozier will most likely be better suited to backing up Avery Bradley at the two. Granted, Rozier’s level of play could also mean that he would be a strong trade asset, or a solid replacement for another Celtics guard, should Boston want to sweeten their side of a major deal, such as the rumored three-team Blake Griffin trade.

2. Jaylen Brown silences draft day boos

Celtics fans were ready to welcome a superstar to Boston in exchange for the No. 3 pick in the draft on June 23, or at least bring home Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield or Marquese Chriss. Instead, they ended up with Jaylen Brown, who had much to prove in summer league after his selection was greeted with some boos at TD Garden and defended by Danny Ainge afterwards. Read the rest of this entry »

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Full Court Press: The real cost of Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin, summer league stars Terry Rozier, Abdel Nader

07.16.16 at 4:00 pm ET
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Will Russell Westbrook (0) scores a three point basket against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Will Russell Westbrook land in Boston this summer? (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Is the time finally right for Danny Ainge to cash in? 

The Celtics president of basketball operations has been stacking his place at the NBA poker table with lots of blue chips. The question is whether now is the time to head to the to the casino office and get the final pieces that will help Brad Stevens and the team get back to the NBA finals. 

There have been reports this week that the Celtics are lead contenders for either Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin in a potential trade. 

But either one of those deals would almost certainly require the Celtics giving up their ownership of Brooklyn’s unprotected pick next year, which could very easily be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Not only that, a team like Oklahoma City, with the always forward-thinking general manager Sam Presti, likely is going to want another top pick, either in 2017 or from the multitude of picks listed below. The Celtics also own Brooklyn’s first-rounder in 2018. The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Jason Terry trade of July 2013 keeps on giving. 

If there’s any general manager with the wherewithal to pull off a major deal involving future picks and not entirely forfeit the future, it’s Ainge. Here, in full detail, is the remarkable portfolio Ainge has to work with: 

2017 first-round draft pick from Brooklyn
Boston has the right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick; if Boston exercises this swap right, then Boston will convey its 2017 second-round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished). [July 12, 2013]

2017 second-round draft pick from Cleveland
Cleveland’s 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from Cleveland, Sept. 25, 2014]

2017 second-round draft pick from L.A. Clippers
Clippers’ 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from L.A. Clippers via Phoenix, Jan. 15, 2015]

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Read More: blake griffin, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA
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