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Report: Celtics finally send Doc Rivers to Clippers

06.23.13 at 6:45 pm ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Pending league approval, the Celtics have finally agreed on a deal that will result in Doc Rivers coaching the Clippers next season, according to ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan.

The Clippers will send an unprotected first-round pick in the 2015 NBA draft to the C’s in exchange for releasing Rivers from the three years and $21 million remaining on his contract, per Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski. Rivers will reportedly receive the same deal to coach in Los Angeles.

Rivers and Celtics president Danny Ainge have tentatively scheduled a noon press conference on Monday, at which point the two are expected to explain the drama that led to their breakup after nine seasons together.

According to MacMullan, Rivers and Ainge worked side-by-side to reach a deal with the Clippers that benefits both the Celtics and Doc’s desire to avoid a lengthy rebuilding process. C’s ownership also reportedly was not wild about paying Rivers $7 million annually to coach a rebuilding team.

Talks between the C’s and Clippers were dubbed dead several times this past week — once when the NBA refused to allow a deal involving Rivers and any package of players, and then again when the Clippers insisted upon not sending anything beyond a second-round pick in exchange for Rivers.

However, discussion between the two sides heated up again on Sunday, when Chris Paul pressured L.A. to concede in sending a first-round selection to Boston, according to reports from Yahoo! and The Boston Globe.

Considering NBA commissioner David Stern‘s recent comments, another deal that would have sent Kevin Garnett to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and another first-round pick still appears dead. After a week of highly publicized negotiations involving the two teams, it will be nearly impossible for Ainge to convince the league office that a deal involving Garnett isn’t linked to the proposed Rivers deal.

Still, Ainge is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Paul Pierce, according to MacMullan, and The Globe relayed “better-than-average interest” in the 35-year-old Celtics captain. The C’s would also reportedly be open to picking up Pierce’s $15.3 million option for next season and shopping him at the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, Garnett has two years and $24.4 million left on his deal, and his no-trade clause further limits Ainge’s options in finding another destination outside Los Angeles for his 37-year-old center.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: North Texas PF Tony Mitchell

06.23.13 at 5:58 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Tony Mitchell (AP)

North Texas forward Tony Mitchell is a raw prospect with some considerable upside. (AP)

TONY MITCHELL

Position: Power forward

School: North Texas

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 213 pounds

Achievements: All-Sun Belt second team (2013), All-Sun Belt first team (2012), Sun Belt All-Tournament team (2012), Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (2012)

Key 2012-13 stats: 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks

What he brings: According to SB Nation’s scouting report of Mitchell, he has “the size of a power forward and the athleticism of a shooting guard.” He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and is an explosive leaper, making him an excellent shot-blocker and rebounder. He is strong around the rim and fights through contact to score from in close. He shot 43.9 percent from 3-point range his freshman year at North Texas.

His numbers dropped during his sophomore season of 2012-13. The knock on him is that he was lazy on defense last season and tended to stand and watch on the defensive glass. Mitchell also struggled with defensive positioning at times and got lost in dead ball situations. He is a raw prospect but could be the steal of the draft depending on how he responds to a professional environment.

Notes:  Mitchell, who hails from Dallas, committed to play at Missouri out of high school in 2010. However, he had some NCAA issues related to his academics (due mainly to a stint at Center of Life Christian Academy in Miami, a non-accredited prep school), so he instead chose to play as a partial qualifier at North Texas. If he is selected in the first round, he will be the first player to spend his entire college basketball playing at North Texas to do so.

Recent articles:

USA Today: Tony Mitchell doesn’t regret NBA decision 

Sports Illustrated: Ex-Mizzou recruit Mitchell ready to make comeback at North Texas

Video: Here is a highlight video of Mitchell.

And here is a feature video on Mitchell finding his home in North Texas.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Ohio State SF/PF Deshaun Thomas

06.23.13 at 12:57 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Deshaun Thomas (AP)

Deshaun Thomas led the Big Ten in scoring this past season, but there are concerns about how his game will translate to the NBA level. (AP)

DESHAUN THOMAS

Position: Small forward

School: Ohio State

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 225 pounds

Achievements: All-Big Ten first team (2013), AP All-America third team (2013), NABC All-America third team (2013), Sporting News All-America second team (2013), Hall of Fame Tip-Off Naismith Bracket MVP (2013)

Key 2012-13 stats: 19.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists

What he brings: Thomas does not have top-level athleticism, but he still led the Big Ten in scoring during his junior year of 2012-13. He is a combo forward who uses his jump shot to produce offense. Due to his lack of quickness, he is more effective in catch-and-shoot situations than shooting off the dribble.

Defensively, analysts note that he does not have the foot speed to keep up with most NBA small forwards and does not have the size to play against most NBA power forwards, leaving him without much of a role on the defensive end. He is not a strong rebounder, too, averaging only 6.0 rebounds per game last season — 4.2 of which came on the defensive glass.

Notes:  Thomas refused to give the Spurs his cell phone number in an interview at the combine, raising some eyebrows from a prospect who is projected to be drafted late in the second round. “I can’t go around giving it out to everyone,” Thomas told the Akron Beacon Journal. “Now if they want to draft me, I’d be happy to give it to them.”

Recent articles:

News Sentinel: In his words: Deshaun Thomas talks on professional future

Ohio.com: Former Ohio State star Deshaun Thomas refuses to give NBA team his phone number at combine

Video: Here is a video that shows Thomas’s journey as one of the nation’s top high school players to one of the top college players.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Indiana G Victor Oladipo

06.22.13 at 2:22 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Victor Oladipo (AP)

Victor Oladipo can deliver at both ends, earning recognition as one of the nation’s best defenders in addition to scoring in double digits this past season at Indiana. (AP)

VICTOR OLADIPO

Position: Guard

School: Indiana

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 214 pounds

Achievements: All-American (AP, Sporting News, John Wooden) (2013), NABC co-Defensive Player of the Year (2013), All-Big Ten first team (2013), Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2013)

Key 2012-13 stats: 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 44.1 3-point field goal percentage

What he brings: The Hoosier has transformed from a defensive specialist his freshman year to a more well-rounded player, averaging 12.2 points per game the last two seasons while starting all but two games. As a junior this past season, he shot 59.9 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from beyond the arc — drastic improvements from his marks sophomore year (47.1 and 20.8, respectively).

Still, Oladipo’s relentless and effective work at the other end is his marquee asset. His 6-foot-9 wingspan surely helps, and he’s been known to accrue steals by straight up stealing the ball from dribblers (as opposed to intercepting passes gone awry). He is also widely credited with consistently playing hard, which, as cliché as it is, makes a real difference.

Notes: Oladipo overloaded his final semester at Indiana in order to get his degree after just three years. He majored in sport communication broadcast. … He snubbed his hometown Wizards, who invited him to work out at the Verizon Center last week. Oladipo said last month he doesn’t think Washington would be a good fit. … In the debate between Oladipo and Kansas guard Ben McLemore, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner gave the edge to the Hoosier due to his defensive prowess and potential offensive upside.

Recent articles:

Washington Post: Indiana’s Victor Oladipo: ‘I’m just abnormal’

Detroit Free Press: Work ethic took Indiana’s Victor Oladipo from off the radar to lottery pick

Sporting News: Indiana guard Victor Oladipo’s NBA future, as fellow Hoosier Cody Zeller sees it

Video: Here’s a video from last month with highlights of one of Oladipo’s workouts.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: NC State F C.J. Leslie

06.22.13 at 8:21 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

C.J. Leslie (AP)

C.J. Leslie showed he could score at the college level, but there are concerns that he won’t have near the same success at the next level, partly due to his lanky frame. (AP)

C.J. LESLIE

Position: Forward

School: NC State

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 209 pounds

Achievements: All-ACC third team (2013), All-ACC second team (2012), ACC all-freshman team (2011), McDonald’s All-American (2010)

Key 2012-13 stats: 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 turnovers, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks

What he brings: If nothing else, Leslie, who wrapped up his junior season in March, is consistent on the offensive end, having scored double digits in 31 of his 35 games in 2012-13. Scout.com lists his explosiveness and speed/quickness among his strengths, both of which factor into his adeptness around the basket and help his ability to finish.

There are some concerns, however, that his size/skill set combination may not smoothly translate to the NBA game. Slimmer than a typical power forward, Leslie averaged only 7.3 rebounds per game in his three years at NC State. But NBAdraft.net notes he played a lot of small forward, and Scout.com credits him with greatly improving his jump shot.

Notes: Coach Mark Gottfried‘s arrival at NC State for Leslie’s sophomore campaign coincided with increased consistency in the lanky forward’s play. … When he played at Word of God High School in Raleigh, N.C., he was teammates with John Wall, the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. … Leslie was suspended the first three games of the 2011-12 season for impermissible benefits. … In May 2011, he made news for a few homophobic tweets that he quickly deleted.

Recent articles:

Newsobserver.com: N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie rolls with criticism

Yahoo!: C.J. Leslis suffers minor injury to shooting hand

Video: Via the ACC, here are Leslie’s official highlights from his time with the Wolfpack.

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A mom’s NBA draft diary: Michael Carter-Williams visits Dallas, New Orleans, OKC as draft approaches

06.21.13 at 12:46 pm ET
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Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

Hamilton resident Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, the mother of Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and the girls basketball coach at Ipswich High School, is chronicling the days leading up to the June 28 NBA draft through blog entries for WEEI.com. Carter-Williams, who prepped at Hamilton-Wenham High School and Rhode Island’s St. Andrews School before spending two seasons at Syracuse, is projected to be a lottery pick.

When I started to write this, there were 10 days until the draft. Between my twins’ last week of school and all the eighth-grade events that go with it and dealing with our insurance company for the fire, my week got a little crazy!

Michael went from Sacramento to Dallas. He arrived in Dallas on the 12th. Jeff [Schwartz], his agent, sends him a full itinerary for each trip via email. Michael just has to follow the instructions and be on time. I had a feeling Michael was going to like Dallas, and he did. He liked everything about it. The people, the coach, the GM, the facility and his stay. It felt good. He played well. He was very happy with his workout and enjoyed dinner after with the coach and GM. I think Dallas would be a great fit. The Mavericks need a point guard, it is a terrific marketing venue and they have won there. Joining a franchise that has won presents different opportunities than a team that is building.

It is tough to spend your first years on a team that has lost a lot. The fans are edgy waiting for wins and the team attitude can be overcome with frustration. Losing over 50 percent of your games when you play 82 games makes for a long season.

The Orlando Magic lost 62 games this year. It has to be very hard for a rookie to manage proving himself to a team, moving to a new city and learning to live as a young adult on your own. Then add losing a lot of games and the stress that comes with that, and life in the NBA can quickly become overwhelming. Many players are asked if they would rather go later in the draft to a team with a winning record or go high in the lottery to a team that has lost a lot. If you go high in the lottery, you make a lot more money your first two to three years and you play on a team that has lost a lot of games and needs to win. Playing on a losing team, unless you are the type of player who really does not care about winning, takes the fun out of your job.

I spoke to a player who played on a team that was in the lottery last year and is in the lottery again this year. For those of you who don’t know, that means that this team’s record finished in the bottom 14 of all NBA teams. That is a lot of losing in two years. He was a rookie last year. I asked him if he was enjoying himself. Without hesitation he said he would prefer to be back in college and the only thing he enjoys are Thursdays. Thursdays are payday. Now, to be fair, I asked him at the end of the season. After that conversation, reality hit that the NBA is a job whether you are winning or losing. You can’t pick the team that you go to, but we can hope that Michael lands on a team that is a good fit.

What makes a good fit? I really can’t completely answer that. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out where he should go. Some teams have a new coach, new GM and even new owners. I think it may be tough for a rookie to walk into a new system, but it could also turn out great if everyone meshes right away. Michael is great in the open court, so it would be nice if he was with a team that likes to run. Coaches all have a style of play, and a coach that likes to push the ball would be good for Michael.

Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Cal SG Allen Crabbe

06.21.13 at 12:06 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Allen Crabbe (AP)

Allen Crabbe knows how to score, and that’s the something the Celtics could use. (AP)

ALLEN CRABBE

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

School: California

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: Pac-12 Player of the Year (2013), All-Pac-12 first team (2012), Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (2011), Gatorade California High School Player of the Year (2010), ESPN California Player of the Year (2010)

Key 2012-13 stats: 18.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 81.3 free throw percentage, 36.2 minutes

What he brings: Crabbe does not possess the exceptional athleticism of some of the other potential draftees, but he is a strong shooter from mid-range and beyond. He may be best suited to fill a catch-and-shoot type of role — the bulk of what he did early in his college career. He did, however, grow into a more well-rounded player in his three years with the Golden Bears by improving his rebounding and defensive game.

His defense generally is thought to be a work in progress helped by a wingspan measuring at 6 feet, 11.25 inches. His ballhandling also is said to be suspect, though that can be hidden in part by the fact that he won’t be running the floor.

Notes: Earlier this month, Crabbe hurt his foot while working out for the Nets. … He is most often praised for his smooth shooting stroke. Crabbe is said to have regularly put in many extra hours in gyms when he was younger, sometimes staying until he made 1,000 baskets. … Synergy Sports Technology had Crabbe making just over half of his attempts on unguarded catch-and-shoot chances in 2012-13. … His 3-point field goal percentage dropped to 35 percent junior year after he hit 40 percent of those shots as a sophomore.

Recent articles:

New Jersey Star-Ledger: Guard Allen Crabbe confident his shooting will translate well in NBA

California Golden Blogs: Insight on Cal basketball’s Allen Crabbe

Video: Here is a highlight package of Crabbe.

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