|01.12.15 at 10:54 pm ET|
In a back-and-forth game which featured 14 lead changes, the Celtics finally managed to protect a late lead and seal a victory in the final frame.
Here are five things we learned in the game:
Davis is a superstar
Given the Celtics’ inability to defend big men, it was expected Davis would dominate. For the first three quarters, the Celtics did a solid job of containing him, limiting him to 21 points, but in the fourth quarter, the NBA’s best player not named LeBron James took over, scoring 13 points over the final 12 minutes.
Beyond the box score, Davis impacted the game with his mere presence in the paint at both ends. The Celtics rarely drove the lane out of respect to his shot-blocking ability (three blocks), and in defending the pick and roll, the Celtics overplayed Davis, leaving Eric Gordon alone to score a number of points at the rim.
Sullinger is ready to step up
With the recent trades, Sullinger is now the most talented player on the Celtics. Just like Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green before him, Sullinger was the final Celtic to be announced during introductions. Sullinger had a great night, scoring 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He was dominant on the offensive glass, accounting for six of his 10 rebounds. He did an excellent job using his large posterior to keep Davis from getting position deep in the paint.
|01.12.15 at 11:53 am ET|
The Celtics officially announced the Jeff Green trade for an unidentified future first-round pick, Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and Austin Rivers, son of former C’s coach Doc Rivers.
Green, whose 17.6 points per game currently lead the Celtics, joins a Grizzlies team battling for home-court advantage in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Memphis sends Quincy Pondexter and a second-round pick to a Pelicans squad in search of a playoff spot.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported the deal, the Celtics will receive a first-round pick from Memphis that won’t come to fruition until 2019 and are expected to send Rivers elsewhere in exchange for a second-round pick and expiring contracts. Surprisingly, the Clippers have been mentioned as a potential trade partner, potentially pairing Rivers with his father in Los Angeles.
Prince’s expiring deal will give the Celtics as much as $30 million in cap space this summer.
Following the trade’s completion, Green posted his appreciation for Boston on Instagram.
|01.09.15 at 7:05 pm ET|
Mere moments after finalizing a deal with his former assistant general manager, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge phoned another erstwhile front office employee to make a separate trade on a wild Friday night.
According to multiple reports, Ainge has agreed to trade Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s expiring $7.7 million contract and a protected first-round draft pick. The two teams are reportedly waiting on a third team to facilitate the deal. Green remained active for the C’s game against the Pacers on Friday, but was replaced in the starting lineup by Jae Crowder. The deal cannot be finalized until Monday, offering either team a chance to back out.
The news of Green’s imminent departure comes shortly after the Celtics sent newly acquired Brandan Wright to the Suns for another protected first-rounder.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough was once Ainge’s assistant, and Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace held the same position in Boston from 1997-2007. In a strange twist, current Memphis vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger had this to say of Green in 2012 while a writer for ESPN.com:
I can’t stress this enough: Green is 26 and played four full seasons in the league, and after all that time there’s no evidence he’s actually any good and considerable evidence that he’s a health risk. Yet he’s being paid like a second-tier star. This was, without a doubt, the worst contract of the summer.
The deals give the Celtics as many as 11 first-round selections over the next four seasons, although that number will more likely be nine based on the protection of picks acquired in exchange for Green, Wright, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers and Jordan Crawford. In addition to their own No. 1 picks through 2018, the Celtics also have the rights to the following:
|01.09.15 at 6:01 pm ET|
The Celtics traded recently acquired and underused forward Brandan Wright to the Suns for a future draft picks(s), the team announced on Friday night. Yahoo Sports guru Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the trade on Twitter.
In exchange for Wright — seemingly the prized jewel in Celtics president Danny Ainge’s trade of Rajon Rondo — Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is sending a Timberwolves pick to his former employer that is top-12 protected for this season and next before turning into a pair of second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
The 6-foot-9 Wright came to the Celtics with the league’s highest field goal percentage (74.8 percent), but then played in just eight games for Boston, averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in only 10.8 minutes a night.
In essence, the Celtics have turned Rondo into Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson’s relatively low $2.73 million expiring contract, a late 2016 first-round pick from Dallas and two second-round picks from Minnesota in 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are nearing a deal that would send Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and a future first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski, likely giving Ainge nine No. 1 selections over the next four seasons.
|01.09.15 at 12:05 pm ET|
On Dec 18 Brandan Wright was acquired by the Celtics as part of the deal that shipped Rajon Rondo to Dallas. That date was no accident — it leaves enough time for Boston to trade the players it received in the deal after 60 days, just before the Feb 19 deadline.
CSN Washington is reporting that Brandan Wright has already been told by Danny Ainge “that he’s on the block and should expect to be on another team.” Obviously, Wright is a very attractive piece to other teams, so the idea of him being traded again this season isn’t far-fetched. It is, however, odd that Ainge would already tell Wright that he should expect to be gone.
Wright has taken on a much lesser role since arriving in Boston, somewhat odd considering how big of a role he played for the Mavericks — a much better team than the Celtics. But with so many players of similar talent levels in Boston, as well as young projects to develop, Wright has seen a dip in his minutes, including a DNP Wednesday in Brooklyn.
Wright is shooting 72.4 percent from the field so far this season, and his 24.27 PER ranks 10th in the league as of Friday morning. Ainge won’t be able to command two first-rounders like the desperate Cavs gave up to Denver for Timofey Mozgov, but Wright certainly has some value on the trade market. If this report it true, we will find out exactly what Wright’s value is on the day of the trade deadline.
|01.08.15 at 3:53 pm ET|
A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team — something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career (and now once again by trading Rajon Rondo). Here are some trades that make sense for the mess that is the Boston Celtics. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is part three.
In part two we looked at the idea of re-swapping Jeff Green and Kendrick Perkins, the idea being that Boston could add a young player like Jeremy Lamb while not having to possibly pay Green next season (since Perkins is an expiring contract). A deal like this makes sense, but in all likelihood would never actually happen. Green remains the subject of part three, but this time there’s some actual traction to the idea. Here’s the proposal:
Marc Stein of ESPN.com is reporting this deal is being discussed, and Zach Lowe of Grantland.com tweeted that there had been three-way trade discussions that would have landed Green in Memphis in a deal that also involved the Cavs. Now that Cleveland landed Timofey Mozgov from Denver, they likely have no incentive for the trade talks anymore, meaning Boston and Memphis would have to work a deal straight up (or find another trade partner to create a three-way deal with).
It’s safe to assume that the reason this deal has only been talked about, but has not yet happened, is that Ainge is asking for too much in return. Ainge likely is set on getting either a first-rounder or Kosta Koufos (the young center that would have gone to the Cavs in the three-way) in exchange for his best player now that Rondo’s gone. That’s not going to happen.
Either this deal is going to fall apart, or Ainge is going to lower his standards. It should be the latter. Rondo only commanded one first-round pick on the market — and a late one at that — so there’s no way Green is worth that high of a pick to any team. Ainge should shift his focus to trying to gain a couple of second-rounders before he has so settle for just one. He would be able to acquire the Grizzlies second-round pick in this upcoming draft if he acts quickly, and then barter for another one a couple of years down the line to be included. That’s a fair asking price.
Prince simply plays the role of Perkins in the Oklahoma City trade from part two. His expiring contract means there is no way he can count against the salary cap next season, whereas Green has the option to opt in for $9.2 million. In addition, Prince makes only $7.7 million this season. The $1.5 million difference would save Boston just under $1 million this season — hey, every little bit counts when you’re in a rebuild. But more importantly, Ainge has to stop overvaluing what has once again become a very inconsistent Green and get a deal like this done to continue moving in the direction he has already committed to.
|01.07.15 at 8:40 pm ET|
A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team — something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career (and now once again by trading Rajon Rondo). Here are some trades that make sense for the mess that is the Boston Celtics. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is part two.
Part 1 of this series involved sending Rondo to the Kings, that obviously didn’t happen. But in the time since, Rondo has been shipped out West and the Celtics have begun to fall apart. No more “build around Rondo” arguments exist, which means the direction of the team is clear: Any trade Ainge makes will either create cap space or add assets.
Here’s a proposal that helps that direction:
THUNDER GET: Jeff Green and a future second-round pick
Yes, Perkins and Green were swapped for each other in 2011, and obviously that has not worked out as planned for either side. It would be humbling to see Ainge and Sam Presti (the general manager in Oklahoma City) admit their wrongs and swap these players back, and it makes sense now in 2015.
The Thunder just added Dion Waiters from the Cavs, which tells us a couple of things about them:
1. They are buyers
This is good in the sense that Presti could be interested in Green. With the emergence of Steven Adams and the small-ball philosophy of the league, Perkins is almost valueless in Oklahoma City. Adding Green would not only provide the Thunder with another starter/sixth-man to go along with Waiters, but with Kevin Durant hobbled this season, Green could provide spot starts for Durant throughout the regular season to help the team into the playoffs.
2. Lamb is no longer needed there
The UConn product has barely been playing of late, but with Waiters in town, Lamb’s role is pretty much diminished. Using him as a piece to help acquire Green makes total sense for Presti given Lamb’s demotion. Lamb is a nice prospect too — really, he’s the reason the Celtics do this deal. Boston is a place Lamb could have some value. The former lottery pick would be another asset in Ainge’s pile that is so often referred to.
Boston may need to use a second-round pick to sweeten the deal for the Thunder, but it would be worth it to shed Green’s contract for Perkins’ contract — one which we know will expire at the end of this season, whereas Green has a player option — as well add Lamb to the mix. The players’ familiarity with the organizations, including Lamb going to school in the New England area, only helps this whole deal fall into place.
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