|07.01.13 at 9:56 pm ET|
While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis.
Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo: The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.
“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers and the pending trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics.”
|06.30.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s free agency period begins, the Celtics waived wing Terrence Williams on Sunday, just two days after the Chinese Basketball Association import’s 26th birthday.
Williams averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games since his signing in mid-February. After consecutive 10-day contracts, the C’s signed him for the remainder of the season with a non-guaranteed minimum contract for 2013-14.
The Celtics saved $200,000 that would have become guaranteed had Williams been on the roster at midnight. His arrest last month on gun charges that are still under investigation probably didn’t help matters.
After stints on the Nets, Rockets and Kings from 2009-12, Williams played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China this past winter before joining the injury-riddled Celtics for the stretch run.
In five playoff appearances, Williams made little impact, playing mostly as a 6-foot-6 backup point guard to Rajon Rondo.
Once the trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry becomes official on July 12, Rondo and expected starting 2-guard Avery Bradley are the only current players on the roster capable of playing the point. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has plenty of priorities this summer, and backup point guard has to be one of them.
|06.30.13 at 7:34 am ET|
According to Sportando.net, the Celtics and Grizzlies are the two teams most interested in signing Italian forward Gigi Datome, with the general manager of the player’s Virtus Roma team stating that the Celts are the “front-runners to sign him.”
The 25-year-old Datome is coming off the best season of his career, having been named Serie A Regular Season MVP after averaging 16.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
(Here is Datome’s Twitter account, although you better have Google translator at the ready.)
|06.29.13 at 5:01 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Mavericks have contacted the Celtics about possibly trading for Rajon Rondo.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Mavericks would “love having Rajon Rondo to chase (free agent) Dwight Howard” but Dallas would require the Celtics to take multiple contracts off the Mavs’ books.
The Mavericks drafted Miami point guard Shane Larkin, whom the Celtics reportedly had interest in prior to the draft.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that despite Rondo’s ACL surgery, the Celtics’ asking price for the point guard remains steep. Rondo turns 28 in February.
For more Celtics coverage, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.
|06.28.13 at 2:03 pm ET|
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reportedly will be shipped to the Nets in exchange for three first-round picks, as well as a five-player package highlighted by 2005 Celtics first-round draft pick MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries.
The reaction from media around the country is, well, about as one would expect. Many of them used one common phrase in particular in their pseudo-obituaries:
“An inglorious end to a glorious era.” — Paul Flannery, SBNation
“This era of the Boston Celtics was finally destroyed.” — Zach Harper, CBS Sports
“[Celtics fans] were experiencing the other end of the era.” — Ian Thomsen, Sports Illustrated
“An era ended in Boston as the deep-pocketed Nets loaded up for next year’s run.” — Chris Forsberg, ESPN
Indeed, the official end of the Big Three Era — a period that lasted twice as long as many expected it to — has come, and with it a new one dawning in Brooklyn.
Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York assesses the trade from the Nets’ point of view, and held nothing back about the Celtics’ rebuilding
“So make no mistake,” O’Connor writes. “This is a great night for the Brooklyn Nets, even if it doesn’t lead to the title Garnett and Pierce won for the Celtics, who are busy becoming a D-League team in the hope of winning banner No. 18 in a resurgent season to be named (much) later.
“[Nets owner Mikhail] Prokhorov and his industrious GM, Billy King, saw an opening and pounced. The Nets got older and slower in the process, but they also got a lot better, especially in a playoff context.”
|06.28.13 at 1:45 pm ET|
Doc Rivers, making an appearance Friday on The Dan Patrick Show, explained why he took a shot at ESPN’s Bill Simmons during the network’s draft coverage Thursday night.
Rivers objected to Simmons repeatedly saying he quit on the rebuilding Celtics, and said: ““I would like to call him an idiot, but I’m too classy for that. That’s just his opinion. That didn’t happen. He really needs to know the whole truth, which he doesn’t.”
A day later, Rivers wasn’t backing down.
“Bill’s a fan,” Rivers told Patrick. “Is he qualified to do the NBA? Well, we can debate that all day. But Bill’s a fan. And I get that. Not a friend of mine or a fan of mine, and he never has been. I rarely respond. You know that. I don’t do it very often. But I’d just kind of had enough of that. I thought it kind of ruined the broadcast last night, ’cause he kept bringing it up. It was almost like he had an agenda. I was just getting tired of it.”
While acknowledging he fared well by moving to the Clippers, Rivers said the Celtics had a strategy and they stuck to it.
“I think last night happened exactly the way Danny the Celtics wanted it to,” he said. “They wanted to unload contracts for draft picks, and I happened to be one of those contracts.”
Added Rivers: “Clearly, yeah, I had a selfish motive. I had a chance to not rebuild and go to a team that is in a different phase of their franchise so everybody benefited. And I clearly, at least I hope, I benefited from it. But this is done together. This is not me walking into the Celtics and saying I quit or anything like that.”
|06.28.13 at 10:28 am ET|
NBA insider Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the Sports Illustrated senior writer commended Danny Ainge and the Celtics for pulling off a blockbuster trade Thursday, agreeing to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for a package headlined by the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks.
The trade stings a bit at first, sure, Mannix said, but the Celtics got great return for a pair of older players with big contracts.
“Boston got the most they could possibly get for both these players,” Mannix said. “I’m going to be honest guys, I’m not sure they could’ve gotten a better haul for them. I’m not sure there is another team out there that would have absorbed one or both of those players and given the Celtics more in return.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow because in the short term you don’t get a whole heck of a lot in the players they get back. … Regardless, they get immeasurably worse in the short term, but I don’t know if they could have gotten more for those players.”
Mannix said Thursday’s deal is a very, very risky one for Brooklyn. The organization has in effect given itself a one-year window to win, and it could very well “backfire in their faces.”
“The Nets are throwing all of their eggs into this one season and hoping they can find a way to get the chemistry to come together and challenge for a championship,” Mannix said. “Throw in the fact that I have no idea how Jason Kidd is going to be able to coach these guys. I say this half in jest, but I’m almost expecting Kidd to resign in midseason and activate himself and hand over coaching responsibilities to Lawrence Frank so he can get one more ring as a player as a backup. It’s just a bizarre situation out there.”
The Celtics, meanwhile, could flip Humphries to the Bobcats for guard Ben Gordon, a deal Mannix said Brooklyn and Charlotte may have explored earlier.
Mannix also expects the Celtics to center their rebuilding around Rajon Rondo. That fact that the team didn’t take a point guard in the first round of the Thursday’s draft when there were several available speaks volumes about the Celtics’ plans.
“It’s a big risk, because nobody has any idea what Rondo’s reaction is to all this, how he’s going to handle being the focal point of a team that’s probably going to be really bad next year,” Mannix said. “There’s no reason to believe they can’t try to build around Rondo these next couple of years and see what happens. If it turns out he’s not capable of doing it, if it turns out it’s not working out, you can always flip him at the trade deadline or at the start of the following season for something better in return.”