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Celtics sign O’Neal for two years

07.08.10 at 1:53 pm ET
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Scratch another item off Danny Ainge‘s to-do list. Multiple outlets are reporting, and WEEI.com has confirmed, that the Celtics have signed free agent center Jermaine O’Neal for two years at the full mid-level exception.

O’Neal’s addition shores up the center spot, which is in flux following Kendrick Perkins‘ knee surgery and the expected retirement of Rasheed Wallace. By using the full MLE, the Celtics now are shopping for players with the the veteran minimum contract and the allure of playing on a championship contender.

The length of O’Neal’s deal also completes the framework of the Celtics’ window of opportunity with their veteran group. O’Neal’s deal will expire at the same time as Kevin Garnett‘s and Ray Allen‘s. (Allen has a player option for the second year).

The only players signed beyond the next two seasons are Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and rookie Avery Bradley.

As noted earlier today, Ainge still has Wallace’s contract to dangle in trade talks, should Wallace follow through on his intention to retire. Ainge can also re-sign his own team’s own free agents, with Tony Allen figuring to be the next Celtics target.

Here’s the Celtics’ updated roster as of this afternoon:

PG: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Oliver Lafayette (non-guaranteed contract)

SG: Ray Allen

SF: Paul Pierce, Luke Harangody (second-round draft pick)

PF: Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Tony Gaffney (non-guaranteed)

C: Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine O’Neal, Semih Erden, Rasheed Wallace

Read More: Jermaine O'Neal, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

Haywood to re-sign with Mavs for $55 million

07.08.10 at 1:46 pm ET
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After being courted by the Heat and Cavaliers, 30-year-old center Brendan Haywood reportedly has re-signed with the Mavericks, with a six-year, $55 million contract.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears initially reported the signing. Haywood, who averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds last season for the Mavs in only 28 games, spent his first 8½ seasons with the Wizards. With a number of teams (including the Celtics) looking for help at the center position, it’s not surprising that Dallas locked him up long-term.

Read More: Brendan Haywood, Dallas Mavericks, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

Report: Jermaine O’Neal will sign with C’s

07.08.10 at 1:28 pm ET
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Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Jermaine O’Neal has agreed to sign with the Celtics. The report credits a league source with the information.

The 6-foot-11 O’Neal is a 13-year veteran who played the last two years in Miami. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 70 games last season after three injury-plagued seasons prior. The 31-year-old also reportedly had been considering offers from the Nuggets and Mavericks.

Read More: Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

LeBron Watch, 1 p.m.: James reportedly prepares for South Beach celebration

07.08.10 at 1:04 pm ET
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Wherever LeBron James decided to play next season, he’ll be in Florida this upcoming weekend for a celebration on his announcement, according to a magazine report.

Two sources confirmed to UsMagazine.com that James has rented six cabanas at the W Hotel South Beach for the weekend, which could be telling after reports that he’s leaning toward playing for the Heat.

Meanwhile, Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst tweeted that Cleveland is in trade talks for Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn, who is represented by the same agent as James.

Read More: Jonny Flynn, LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

Nets reach agreement with Outlaw

07.08.10 at 12:32 pm ET
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The Nets and forward Travis Outlaw have reached an agreement on a five-year, $35 million contract, writes Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The contract is fully guaranteed and Outlaw is expected to officially sign next week.

The 25-year-old played last season with the Clippers after being dealt from the Trail Blazers as part of the trade that sent Marcus Camby to Portland.

In seven NBA seasons, Outlaw has averaged 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds after being drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2003.

Read More: NBA Rumor Mill 2010, New Jersey Nets, Travis Outlaw,

LeBron Watch, noon: Cleveland is ‘cautiously optimistic’

07.08.10 at 12:04 pm ET
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Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com joined Eric Frede and Mike Giardi on the Dale & Holley show Thursday morning to talk about the upcoming LeBron James announcement. Goodman said he hears strong indications that James is heading to Miami but no one can know for sure. Stationed in Cleveland, Goodman gauges the city as being “cautiously optimistic” and having hopes that its hometown star will stick around.

Meanwhile, in Greenwich, Conn., the site where James will make his announcement Thursday night, Jeff Valin of the Hartford Courant writes that everything is normal 11 hours before the event. The Greenwich Boys & Girls Club shut out the media, forcing it to wait outside the building. Fifteen-year-old Knicks fan Mike Correa of Stamford appears to be the first fan to have arrived, hoping to get a chance to see one of his favorite players.

Outside James’ house in Ohio, the Bath Township police department is tightening up security, reports Michael Sangiacomo of the Plain Dealer.

Police Chief Michael McNeeley is hoping to avoid a large gathering outside of James’ home.

“Whether we get loads of happy fans or unhappy fans showing up outside his home, we will be prepared to keep the traffic moving,” he said.

Read More: LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

Mannix on D&C: LeBron still wouldn’t make Miami the favorite

07.08.10 at 10:33 am ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined guest hosts Bob Ryan and Bob Neumeier on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to weigh in on the LeBron James situation and offer his opinion on the validity of reports that James is headed to Miami.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On  Miami’€™s position to compete in the Eastern Conference if LeBron joins Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh:

I think next season it would be extremely difficult. Now, I’€™m convinced that Michael Beasley is going to stay on the roster because they can’€™t give him away for a ham sandwich. They’€™re trying to pass him off on every team in the league, which is a little mind-boggling considering that two years ago this guy was the No. 2 pick in the draft. We were arguing about being possibly the No. 1 pick with Derrick Rose. Their willingness to just give him away is a little baffling.

But you make the point, even if those three guys sign, you’€™re left with Mario Chalmers suddenly becomes the Rajon Rondo of the Miami Heat, where he sort of he’€™s sort of an unknown commodity and he has to play exceptionally well for them to succeed. But the other problem is they don’€™t have a Kendrick Perkins equivalent. There’€™s no center down there. There’€™s nobody down there. They’€™re going to have to sign a Mikki Moore to play center for that position. They’€™re going to have fill up the rest of the roster with veteran minimum salary players.

I think come next year, if maybe Beasley proves himself he can be a trade shipment and you can use that whole mid-level exception to use on one guy and maybe spread it out over two guys,  I think that next year they’€™re in a better position. But I’€™m not convinced guys that even if those three guys come together ‘€” and I’€™m sure they’€™re going to win 65 to 70 regular season games ‘€” I’€™m not convinced they’€™re getting out of the Eastern Conference. I mean, if Boston can get their act together and Kendrick Perkins can come back in the second half of the season and give them something close to what he gave them last year, I think they’€™re still going to be considered the favorite. I just think they still have enough left in the tank to make one more run and chemistry-wise and talent-wise, I think even though they have all the stock power down there in Miami, I don’€™t believe they have enough to get past the Celtics or even maybe Chicago in the conference finals. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mike Miller,
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