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Wyc Grousbeck says Red Auerbach ‘would be very happy’ with Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens

06.01.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Back in the day, Red Auerbach did the job Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens do now and won nine NBA titles, including a remarkable eight straight. 

Obviously, the NBA world of today is significantly more complicated and involved and it takes two people like Ainge and Stevens to try and win just one championship. 

Still, these are the Celtics, and anytime you talk long-term goals, as was the case Wednesday with the extensions of Ainge and Stevens, you go back to Auerbach for a reference point. That’s what owner Wyc Grousbeck did Wednesday at the press conference at the Celtics practice facility. 

“These jobs – the president of basketball operations and the head coach of the Boston Celtics are storied positions. Both were held by the incomparable Red Auerbach,” Grousbeck said. “I personally believe that Red would be very happy. This is the right thing for the Celtics, you represent excellent and Celtic pride on and off the court. These are the exact people we want to run the Celtics.

In signing Ainge and Stevens long-term, Grousbeck believes the team is setting a foundation for years to come.

“It’s the principal job of ownership to find the very best people, to run the basketball side, to find them, recruit them, bring them in and offer them all the support and encouragement we can and retain them – create an environment where they want to stay. These conversations happened recently, very forthrightly,” Grousbeck said. “There was great interest on both sides. They were easy conversations. It just represented a great re-commitment from Brad and Danny to the Celtics.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, NBA

Danny Ainge on unified Celtics with Brad Stevens: ‘Great things will happen in Celtics history’

06.01.16 at 5:25 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics sound like a unified group heading into what co-owner Stephen Pagliuca called the “most complex” offseason the franchise has had in the 13 years of the current stewardship. 

In announcing the contract extensions of president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens, the common theme Wednesday afternoon was one of unity and commitment. 

“This foundation we have is very unique in the world we live in — pressure-packed, public world in pro sports,” Ainge said. “The fact we have such great unity with ownership I think is unique. I value that premium. It’s a great working environment, I have a great relationship here, stronger trust, year in and year out. As we work together I believe great things will happen in Celtics history.”

Perhaps most intriguing about Ainge’s opening comments Wednesday was his admission that it really didn’t take much to get him to sign on the dotted line to extend his current contract, which owner Wyc Grousbeck acknowledged expired before that of Stevens, who still had three years left on his initial $22 million deal signed in 2013. 

“To tell yoju a little bit, our negotiation was basically Stay, and I said Wyc, do you want me to stay? We had a 10 or 15 minute negotiation, and then our focus turned to Brad,” Ainge said. “It turned to what we need to do. We all understand it’s emotional and very challenging, him with two kids at home and all you have to manage. I’ve been there. We’re lucky to have Brad and Tracey with us in a long term situation.

“They don’t have to answer any more questions about Indiana and Butler, and Duke, North Carolina. We’re very excited to have Brad. Who he is and what he does on the court is unmatched. We’re grateful he wants to stay with us. In the three short years he’s been with us, and it’s good he’s making a long-term commitment to us as well.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Indiana

NBA draft prospect profile: Syracuse SG Michael Gbinije

06.01.16 at 3:20 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

MICHAEL GBINIJE

Position: Shooting guard

School: Syracuse

Age: 23 (turns 24 on June 5)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.9 steals

Scouting report: Gbinije is a fundamentally sound player who excels at passing and handling the ball. He often played point guard at Syracuse, but with his height and wingspan he’ll likely have to convert to an off-the-ball perimeter player in the NBA. Fortunately for him, Gbinije is a respectable shooter both off the catch and off the dribble, and he can finish at the rim with ease at times. He has a solid basketball IQ and anticipates passes on the defensive end. Most importantly, his play at the NBA draft combine garnered some attention.

“I’m very happy with the way things went this past week,” Gbinije told Syracuse.com after the May combine. “I played with and against some of the guys I knew before going to college and it was just a good experience overall.”

Besides his passing, there isn’t really a part of Gbinije’s game that he truly excels at. His ball handling could be more consistent, and his free throw percentage (66.3) is uncharacteristic of a guard. His age also is a factor, as he is one of the oldest players in this year’s draft. He may be close to his potential, something that will drive away NBA teams.

Notes: Gbinije made both the All-ACC second team and the All-ACC defensive team. He also helped carry Syracuse to an improbable Final Four berth.

Related articles:

Syracuse.com: Michael Gbinije checks in at NBA draft combine: ‘He’s done a heck of a job preparing’

The Daily Orange: How Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson fared at the NBA draft combine

WTVR.com: Syracuse star Michael Gbinije credits success to time at Benedictine

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Michael Gbinije,

NBA draft prospect profile: Oakland PG Kay Felder

06.01.16 at 12:57 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

KAY FELDER

Position: Point guard

School: Oakland

Age: 21

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 177 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 24.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists

Scouting report: Don’t let the height fool you. Felder is one of the elite scorers in this year’s draft. A very good athlete, Felder has the type of perimeter shooting that opens up the rest of his offensive game. He is an excellent ball-handler, is good at changing speed and direction quickly, and can even make impressive plays above the rim. His passing can be just as strong as his scoring — his 9.3 apg easily led the nation.

As far as his height, Felder says that as the season went on and his stellar play continued, he heard less and less about it. “I used to hear about the height thing all the time,” Felder said at the NBA draft combine. “Now, I’m rarely hearing about it. It still is in the back of their minds, but I barely hear about height and things like that.”

As efficient as he is at scoring, there’s no doubting that Felder’s height will affect his defense. He has quick feet and good instincts on that end of the floor, so there’s potential that he’ll become a reliable defender at the next level. He has shown poor effort on the defensive end in the past, likely a result of his large offensive role and averaging over 36 minutes per game.

Notes: Felder, projected to go in the middle to latter part of the second round, was named Horizon League Player of the Year and was a Wooden Award finalist. He recorded the most assists in the country (324) and led the Horizon League in several categories, most notably field goals (269), points (853) and Player Efficiency Rating (28.7).

Related articles:

Pacers.com: NBA teams sizing up Felder

SB Nation: Small school, big dreams: Kay Felder is turning heads

Detroit Free Press: Oakland guard Kay Felder invited to NBA combine

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Kay Felder,

Wyc Grousbeck extends Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens: ‘[They] represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for’

06.01.16 at 11:40 am ET
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Sep 25, 2015; Waltham, MA, USA; Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, during media day at the Boston Celtic Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck have lots to smile about in the future. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics have made their first big move of the offseason. 

No, they haven’t added or subtracted players yet. Owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca just recommitted themselves to the people who will be making those decisions. 

The team announced Wednesday that they have extended the contracts of President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Head Coach Brad Stevens. Terms of the deals, including the length of the extensions, were not disclosed.

“Danny and Brad represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for: excellence on and off the court,” Grousbeck said in a statement. “With their long-term deals in place, we are continuing to build towards competing for Banner 18. Our ownership group thanks them for their hard work and their re-commitment to the Celtics.”

 Ainge, who just completed his 13th season as Celtics President of Basketball Operations, has compiled a record of 565-484 (.539) during his tenure, making 10 trips to the post-season, three Conference Finals appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals, including winning the NBA Championship in 2008. That season, fellow NBA executives voted Ainge the Executive of the Year for the 2007-08 season.

 “I am grateful to continue to work in an environment where I’m surrounded by so many people that are an integral part of our success,” Ainge said in the team release. “We have had great stability in this organization since the ownership group bought the Celtics. We know our strengths and weaknesses and as a group we work well together. Wyc, Irv, Steve, Rich, Brad and I have a common goal in pursuing Banner 18 and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in Boston Celtics history.”

As for Stevens, he completed his third season as the team’s head coach, guiding the team to a 48-34 record and clinching the team’s second consecutive playoff berth. Stevens is a two-time NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month winner, most recently for games played in February 2016, where he led the Celtics to the best record in the Eastern Conference (9-3) and a 6-0 mark at the TD Garden.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Stephen Pagliuca

NBA draft prospect profile: Utah C Jakob Poeltl

06.01.16 at 9:56 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JAKOB POELTL

Position: Center

School: Utah

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Oct. 15)

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 240 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 64.6 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Not many big men run the floor like Poeltl, who has a blend of athleticism and speed not seen in many true centers. An efficient scorer, he did most of his work one-on-one on the block, making opponents pay with his size and impressive footwork. He also uses that footwork on the defensive end, defending the pick-and-roll as well as anybody.

Poeltl, projected to be drafted in the top 10 as the first center off the board, believes his game best resembles that of Pau Gasol. “He’s a guy who has good touch around the basket and is a very good passer,” Poeltl told the Los Angeles Daily News of the Bulls center. “He can dribble the ball. He’s even stepping out and shooting 3’s. I hope I can get there, too. He’s a winner and won championships. I can do that, too.”

Poeltl may dominate in the paint, but he struggles scoring from anywhere else, and his free throw shooting needs work. It remains to be seen if he can be efficient in an offense where he isn’t the focal point. Also, he lacks the explosiveness to truly defend the rim.

Notes: Poeltl likely will become the first Austrian-born player to play in the NBA. He was the 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year and made All-Pac-12 first team in the process. He also was a finalist for both the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award.

Related articles:

SB Nation: How high is Jakob Poeltl’s ceiling?

Fansided: Jakob Poeltl the top center option?

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jakob Poeltl,

Why Celtics shouldn’t and probably won’t trade 2017 Nets pick

05.31.16 at 2:11 pm ET
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Duke recruit Jayson Tatum is considered one of the best prospects in next year's NBA draft. (Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports)

Duke recruit Jayson Tatum is considered one of the best prospects in next year’s NBA draft. (Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports)

With the NBA draft three and a half weeks away, the Celtics’ ability to acquire an impact veteran has come into focus.

One school of thought has the C’s offering not only this year’s third overall pick, but next year’s New Jersey pick as well to acquire a veteran like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Here’s why that approach is flawed — next year’s draft class is loaded, and might actually represent the team’s best chance at landing a franchise player.

ESPN draft guru Jeff Goodman told Bradford and Giardi recently that the Celtics shouldn’t trade next year’s Brooklyn pick, which could easily end up in the top five.

“I wouldn’t trade next year’s pick,” he said. “Absolutely no way would I trade next year’s pick. Next year’s draft is absolutely loaded.”

The consensus top three, not surprisingly, are all high school seniors, led by a pair of Duke recruits.

The first pick right now would probably be big man Harry Giles, a 6-foot-10 force who has committed to the Blue Devils. He’s considered an athletic marvel, though he has already undergone a pair of ACL surgeries.

Next is Kansas swingman Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-8 inch dynamo who might already be an NBA-level defender, followed by Duke’s Jayson Tatum, the 2016 Gatorade High School Player of the Year, a 6-9 scorer with a developing 3-point touch.

Add Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, and Arizona bomber Terrance Ferguson, and this has the makings of the best draft class of the decade.

So don’t be surprised if Ainge is hesitant to part with next year’s pick.

 

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2017 NBA draft, Celtics, Harry Giles
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