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Proposed change to NBA draft lottery would be big improvement

07.18.14 at 1:16 pm ET
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Last season the NBA took a ton of criticism regarding teams tanking games in order to land a better draft pick. In the end, the Cavaliers jumped up to win their third top overall pick in the last four years. But the Bucks and 76ers — the two worst teams respectively — wound up drafting second and third, selecting potential franchise-altering players.

As expected, altering the draft lottery system has been a major topic of the NBA offseason. Zach Lowe, from Grantland.com, now is reporting that the league has officially submitted a proposal that would allow all 14 teams that miss the playoffs to have significantly more similar odds of taking home a high draft selection.

From Lowe: ‘€œUnder the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to No. 1.

‘€œThe league’€™s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the No. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the No. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.’€

Firstly, it’€™s pretty clear that there would be a shift in balance amongst the 14 teams eligible to win the lottery. All of them would have between an 11 percent and 2 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, while the worst four teams essentially would have the same odds to win it.

Secondly, rather than the lottery only awarding the top three picks, changes in this format would now allow the top six selections in the draft to be raffled off. This would provide teams with far less incentive to finish lower in the standings with so many picks now to be randomly determined. Imagine tanking to be the worst team and ending up with the No. 7 pick! That would not sit well with any fan base. Problem solved.

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Report: Celtics legend Bill Russell collapses

07.17.14 at 3:32 pm ET
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Celtics legend Bill Russell collapsed during a speaking engagement in Lake Tahoe, according to WCVB-TV’s Scott Isaacs. He is reportedly conscious and “doing OK.” Russell, 80, underwent open-heart surgery in 2012.

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Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins calls Rajon Rondo best PG in NBA

07.16.14 at 1:52 pm ET
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Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins sat down with Grantland’s Bill Simmons to talk about a variety of topics, including his list of the top players in the league.

Cousins said Celtics star Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the league, saying, “Absolutely” when questioned on it. He denied that his team’s feud with the Clippers and Chris Paul had any role in his thinking.

There have been rumors that the Kings were interested in trading for Rondo, although there hasn’t been much speculation lately.

Rondo and Cousins both went to Kentucky, although they were separated by three years.

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Where 2014-15 Celtics roster stands

07.16.14 at 10:52 am ET
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As the clock struck midnight, Phil Pressey joined a list of 14 Celtics under guaranteed contract, leaving only one roster spot for summer league standouts Chris JohnsonChris Babb, Colton Iverson and Mike Moser.

Obviously, Danny Ainge could have a trade or 10 coming down the pike, but the Celtics president of basketball operations currently has more than enough players available to fill out another hodgepodge of a roster in 2014-15.

Barring another deal, here’s the current salary structure for the coming season.

Rajon Rondo: $12.9 million
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Marcus Thornton: $8.6M
Avery Bradley: $7.2M
Brandon Bass: $6.9M
Keith Bogans: $5.3M (non-guaranteed)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Marcus Smart: $3.2M
Vitor Faverani: $2.1M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.1M
Tyler Zeller: $1.7M
James Young: $1.7M
Jared Sullinger: $1.4M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M (non-guaranteed)
Chris Babb: $0.8M (non-guaranteed)
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
TOTAL: $78.7M ($71.7M guaranteed)

While Ainge will do his darnedest to pair Kevin Love or another franchise-altering player with Rondo before conversely considering deals for his All-Star point guard, it becomes more likely with each passing week that the Celtics will enter the season with 15 of these 17 players under contract.

Even without the trio of Bogans, Johnson and Babb, the Celtics are $8.6 million over the salary cap and $5.1 million under the luxury tax level. (Ainge would love to deal Bogans’ attractive $5.3 million non-guaranteed contract before cutting ties with the veteran waste of cap space.) Unless the C’s somehow become playoff contenders, they’re not paying that tax, leaving only the mid-level exception, bi-annual exception or minimum contracts to add free agents.

Unless Ainge can work his magic on a sign-and-trade for Greg Monroe, the Celtics will whiff on the NBA’s impressive 2014 free agent class. That’s strike two after the lottery pick came up sixth in the equally remarkable 2014 draft class, by the way. The trade market is all that’s left before the C’s strike out looking this summer.

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Report: Phil Pressey contract guaranteed for 2014-15

07.15.14 at 10:43 pm ET
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The Celtics have seen enough to believe little Phil Pressey can be a big part of their immediate future.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Pressey’s contract will be guaranteed next season after passing the midnight Tuesday deadline.

 

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge last year signed the 5-foot-11 Pressey, Chris Johnson and Chris Babb to separate four-year non-guaranteed contracts. Under terms of the contracts, Pressey, Johnson and Babb will be paid under a million dollars annually through 2016-17. Pressey made approximately $490,000 last season, the rookie minimum.

After going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, Pressey signed with the Celtics to play in the 2013 Orlando Summer League. He was no stranger to the Celtics. Pressey’s AAU team had practiced at the team facility in Waltham where the Celtics first had eyes on him. His performance in the Summer League led to Pressey signing a deal on July 22, 2013.

Pressey became valuable as the Celtics began the season without four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who was still rehabbing his ACL, torn in Jan. 2013. Pressey made his regular season debut in the 2013-€“14 Celtics season opener Oct. 30 at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto. He did not play in the next three games, but after the Celtics got off to an 0-4 start, head coach Brad Stevens shuffled the lineup.

On Nov. 6, at home against the Utah Jazz, Pressey recorded the first three assists, first steal and first field goal of his career. On Jan. 22, with Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless all sitting out and Pressey making his second career start, Pressey scored a career-high 20 points against Washington before fouling out.

He posted a double-double on April 5 against the Detroit Pistons with 12 points and a career-high 11 assists. On April 11, he had another career high with 13 assists as part of a 10-point double double against the Charlotte Bobcats. He matched the 13 assists the following night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He finished the season averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 assists in 15.1 minutes in 75 games for the Celtics.

This month, Pressey traveled with the Celtics to Orlando for the 2014 NBA Summer League, where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game in five games.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA, Phil Pressey

Danny Ainge on Avery Bradley: ‘We’re ecstatic to have him back’

07.15.14 at 8:48 pm ET
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The Celtics confirmed Tuesday what had been known for over a week – Avery Bradley is coming back to Boston.

Before the Celtics headed to Florida to take part in the Orlando Summer League, the restricted free agent and the team came to terms on a four-year deal worth a reported $32 million. On Tuesday, the team made the signing official, but did not disclose the financial terms.

“We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18,” Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, said in a statement. “He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We’re ecstatic to have him back.”

The Philadelphia 76ers were among the teams rumored to be interested in the defensive shutdown specialist, likely driving up his price. The other factor that also figured in the $8 million per season pricetag was the uncertain future of Rajon Rondo with the Celtics. If the Celtics come to an agreement to deal Rondo, they did not want to be left without an established guard in the backcourt. Bradley and Rondo currently lead a backcourt group that also includes Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, Keith Bogans and Chris Johnson.

The Boston Herald reported that Bradley was in town Tuesday for his physical and to sign his new deal that begins with an annual salary just north of $7 million per season and escalates from there. The paper also reported that Bradley’s trip to town likely ends speculation that the Celtics were considering a sign-and-trade similar to the one that sent Kris Humphries to Washington this week.

The 6-foot-2 guard, considered the top defender on the team and one of the best defensive guards in the East, is coming off a breakout 2013-14 season where he recorded career-highs in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (3.8), minutes (1855), field goals made (361), three-pointers made (79) and free throws made (90).

Bradley matched a career-high with 28 points against Brooklyn on March 21 and led the Celtics in scoring in 17 games and recorded 20 or more points in 16 contests. He recorded his first career double-double when he recorded 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against New York on Dec. 8.

Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, Bradley recorded his 1,000th career point in the opening game of the season against Toronto on October 30.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA

Report: Kris Humpries off to Washington after Celtics and Wizards complete sign-and-trade

07.15.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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The Kris Humphries era is over in Boston.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Washington Wizards will sign the big man to a three-year, $13 million deal after the two teams complete a sign-and-trade deal.

Humphries and Jared Sullinger were Boston’s most consistent low-post threats last season. Humphries averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 69 games. The Celtics limited his time to only 19.9 minutes per game, looking to give younger players like Kelly Olynyk more playing time.

On Monday, Humphries told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that he “could definitely return” to Boston after becoming a free agent this summer.

Humphries came to Boston in June 2013 as part of a trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Celtics. The Celtics received Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks in exchange for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.

In June, 2013, the Brooklyn Nets and Celtics and four other players (plus three future draft picks) to Boston in exchange for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry.[19] The deal was finally completed on July 12, 2013.

Prior to his time in Boston, Humphries was most famous as the one-time husband of Kim Kardashian.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett, Kim Kardashian
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