|07.23.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
Pierce said he knew he was either going back to his hometown to play for Los Angeles, or he would return to the Wizards.
Thomsen wrote that Pierce watched the Clippers’ series with the Rockets and was “horrified” as they let slip a 3-1 lead in the series and allowed Houston to score 51 of the final 71 points in Game 6.
“No way — if I was in that locker room — I would have allowed that to happen,” Pierce told Thomsen. “You picture yourself being that voice or being that guy on the court that can help in those situations. I think I fill a pretty big need for them.”
His career with the Celtics in the books, as the 37-year-old is trying to “cement [his] legacy in both” L.A. and Boston, saying that helping win the Clippers’ first championship would be “storybook.”
“It’s going to be great, the accountability of it — not only the team, but with Doc and his coaching staff,” Pierce told Thomsen. “It made this whole process a lot easier, especially the position the team was in. If the Clippers weren’t a team that was contending, or if it wasn’t home for me, then this wouldn’t have been a destination for me. It’s all working out the way I want it to.”
Pierce also said that he ran into Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently, who told him, “When you’re ready, we have a spot for you.”
“I think he was meaning as a player, but maybe it was in the front office …” Pierce said to Thomsen.
He added that he could see a position for himself in the Clippers organization as well with Rivers because the coach “respects [his] basketball mind,” and also noted that being in Boston as a young player was probably better for him than if he had been in his hometown.
“You’ve got to know yourself,” he told Thomsen. “I know how difficult it would have been for me, being from here — a young immature kid playing at home. I wouldn’t want that. That would be a whole other monster, with all of the distractions and that. Things happen for a reason. This is all destiny, I believe.”
|07.23.15 at 11:41 am ET|
Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.
Up top, let’s dispense with the least consequential trades of the Danny Ainge era.
- June 25, 2003: The Celtics traded Darius Songaila for Sacramento’s 2003 second-round pick (Brandon Hunter) and 2005 second-round pick (Orien Greene). The Boston faithful should be encouraged by the fact this ranks among the worst deals of Ainge’s career.
- Oct. 13, 2006: The Celtics traded Dwayne Jones for Luke Jackson. Whatever.
- Feb. 17, 2009: The Celtics traded Sam Cassell in a salary dump for Sacramento’s heavily protected 2015 second-round pick, which never came to fruition.
- Feb. 19, 2009: The Celtics traded Patrick O’Bryant, whose psyche had been destroyed by Kevin Garnett, for Toronto’s protected and since extinguished 2014 second-round pick.
- June 23, 2011: The Celtics traded the No. 25 overall pick (MarShon Brooks) to Brooklyn for the No. 27 pick (JaJuan Johnson) and the Nets‘ 2014 second-round pick (Russ Smith), which was later used as part of a package to acquire Kelly Olynyk. Both the C’s and Nets made massive mistakes in selecting Brooks and Johnson over No. 30 pick Jimmy Butler.
- June 27, 2013: The Celtics traded cash for Indiana’s No. 53 overall pick Colton Iverson, who has played overseas ever since and remains under Boston’s control.
- Aug. 15, 2013: The Celtics traded Fab Melo for Donte Greene in a salary dump.
- July 19, 2014: The Celtics traded Kris Humphries to Washington for a $5.3 million trade exception and a heavily protected future second-round pick that will never be realized. Boston rolled that $5.3 million TPE into a larger $12.9 million TPE in the Rajon Rondo deal.
With that out of the way, here’s No. 25 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.
|07.21.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
The Celtics are expected to sign first-round pick R.J. Hunter to a contract early next week, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The Celtics have historically offered first-round picks the full 120 percent of the rookie salary scale, meaning the No. 28 overall pick is expected to receive a four-year, $5.86 million deal — roughly $860,412 more than the record-breaking deal second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed Monday. Hunter is expected to be a restricted free agent in 2019, when the Celtics can offer him a $3.37 million qualifying offer.
After going scoreless in his first two outings of summer league, Hunter averaged 16.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20 minutes over his final six games in Utah and Las Vegas, including a 22-point outburst against the summer league champion Spurs over the weekend.
It would follow that fellow first-round pick Terry Rozier would also have his contract in place early next week. C’s second-round pick Marcus Thornton will reportedly sign in Australia.
With the Jae Crowder signing and David Lee trade also reportedly expected next week, it appears the Celtics are done dealing, as this series of moves would eat their remaining cap space. Once Hunter, Rozier, Crowder and Lee are officially added to the roster, the Celtics will have 16 players under guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season, requiring at least one cut.
|07.20.15 at 1:12 pm ET|
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce told The Boston Globe from Sunday night’s NBA Players Association awards show in Las Vegas. “I grew up a Laker fan, but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams … there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”
After spending 15 years in Boston and adding a 17th banner to the rafters of TD Garden in 2008, Pierce left with co-star Kevin Garnett to the Nets. Following one full season in Brooklyn, Pierce signed with the Wizards, which took him back to the playoffs, where he thrived. Despite rave reviews from his teammates, Pierce opted out of his contract and reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.
Pierce already has had a big impact on his new organization as he was part of the group that holed up with DeAndre Jordan in the center’s Houston home to keep him from honoring his verbal commitment to the Mavericks. Of his experience with the team so far, Pierce admits that it’s not what he expected.
“It’s been pretty wild,” Pierce said of convincing Jordan to remain with the Clippers. “I think that whole saga took a form and shade of its own. It got a lot bigger than it was supposed to be.
“I made my decision to be a Clipper. DeAndre changed his mind to be a Clipper.”
Pierce will fill the void at small forward left by Matt Barnes, who recently was traded to the Grizzlies. Last year Pierce averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as he helped lead the Wizards to a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|07.20.15 at 12:46 pm ET|
The Celtics have signed Jordan Mickey to a four-year, $5 million deal, according to a source, making the 33rd overall pick the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in NBA history.
The first two years of Mickey’s contract are guaranteed. Years 3 and 4 are team options.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward out of LSU averaged 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.1 minutes over eight summer league games, ranking among the leading rebounders and shot blockers in both Utah and Las Vegas.
In many ways, Mickey benefited from falling to the second round. C’s No. 28 overall selection R.J. Hunter is expected to sign a four-year, $5.86 million deal with three years guaranteed, a team option in Year 4 and a $3.38 million qualifying offer in restricted free agency in 2019, when Mickey will become an unrestricted free agent.
Granted, the year-over-year salary increases helped Mickey earn his status as the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in league history, but that distinction also illustrates how impressed the Celtics have been with the first of their two second-round selections, particularly since his deal will push the C’s to 16 guaranteed contracts.
“We thought, like many thought, he would probably be gone by the time we picked at 33,” Stevens told the media on draft night, “so we were really lucky to get Jordan.
“I think Jordan is a versatile athlete from a defensive standpoint. He can guard 4’s. He can switch a little bit. He’s a great shot-blocker when you look at his numbers for a smaller guy in height, but then you look at his length and his reach, and he’s really, really long, and gets off the floor extremely quickly. He’s one of those guys that probably shoots to about 16 or 17 feet right now, but can impact the game in a lot of different ways. Another good worker.”
Mickey and the Celtics could have reached a one-year deal at the rookie minimum of $525,093. He then would have been a restricted free agent next summer, potentially earning a big payday in 2016 a la K.J. McDaniels, who just signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Rockets one year after being drafted 32nd overall by the 76ers. Instead of agreeing on a more traditional second-round rookie contract (2-year minimum salary, 1-year guaranteed), Mickey received a heftier guaranteed deal over his first two seasons (roughly $2.4 million) while the Celtics maintained control for an extended period.
Mickey joins a crowded Celtics frontcourt that includes Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Perry Jones, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. The Celtics have yet to announce the Crowder signing and Lee trade, leaving roughly $6 million in cap space flexibility for the team to play with before finalizing the roster.
The Celtics will have to part ways with one of their guaranteed contracts prior to the start of the season. Because first-round picks Terry Rozier and Hunter have yet to officially sign, they are still eligible to be traded, as is James Young. Otherwise, the C’s would have to start considering trades involving a member of last year’s core.
|07.17.15 at 6:36 am ET|
Marcus Smart dislocated two fingers on his right hand during the Celtics‘ summer league game Thursday night in Las Vegas, the team announced.
Midway through the second quarter, Smart was attempting to track down a rebound when he dove over Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh and landed on his hand. Smart immediately left the game for X-rays, which showed no break, and he was diagnosed with dislocations of his index and middle fingers.
Smart tweeted later: Thanks to everyone for the prayers thanks to the staff for all that they did to help just a minor set back for major comeback.
The 21-year-old Smart is preparing for his second season after being selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft. He averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 27 minutes in 67 games last season.
|07.15.15 at 11:30 am ET|
Pressey’s $947,276 deal would have become guaranteed had he remained on the roster through midnight on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old son of three-time NBA All-Defensive selection Paul Pressey averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes over 50 games this past season, his second since arriving in Boston as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri.
Pressey’s 36-minute averages of 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals are rather impressive, but his size (generously listed at 5-foot-11) and inability to shoot from the perimeter (25.7 career 3-point percentage) limited his impact on both ends of the floor despite above-average playmaking instincts.
The former Waltham High star became expendable when the C’s added first-round pick Terry Rozier to a point guard mix that also featured Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, but his work ethic and attitude could help him land an NBA job elsewhere.
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