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Report: Evan Turner ‘received interest’ from Celtics

07.14.14 at 11:20 am ET
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The Celtics have expressed interest in free agent swingman Evan Turner, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The second overall pick in 2010, Turner’s value may be at an all-time low since seeing a serious dip in production after being traded from the 76ers to the Pacers this past season. He averaged just 7.1 points (41.1 FG%), 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 27 games down the stretch for the Eastern Conference semifinalists.

Despite Philadelphia’s willingness to dump Turner for little in return (Danny Granger‘s expiring contract and a second-round pick), the Ohio State product has shown flashes of why he was picked behind John Wall in 2010. Turner also has a longstanding friendship with Celtics big and fellow former Buckeye Jared Sullinger.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Evan Turner, NBA,

The Rajon Rondo trade rumor mill begins in earnest

07.14.14 at 10:50 am ET
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Having missed out on Chris Bosh in free agency, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey‘s search for a third star to pair with Dwight Howard and James Harden continues with Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love, per ESPN’s Marc Stein.

The Celtics captain is reportedly a “longtime Houston target” on the trade market.

While the Rockets have created a boatload of salary cap wiggle room, trading both Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in addition to letting Chandler Parsons walk, Morey has few assets remaining to deal for either Rondo or Love, let alone both.

Houston reportedly dealt its 2015 first-round selection in the Lin deal and acquired a protected No. 1 pick from the Pelicans, but because teams cannot complete trades that could leave them without a top pick in consecutive seasons, the Rockets could not offer the Celtics or Timberwolves a first-rounder until 2017.

Likewise, following Parsons’ departure, the Rockets have few players to offer not named Howard or Harden. The newly acquired Trevor Ariza‘s four-year, $32 million deal by way of a three-team trade cannot be dealt for another two months.

While the Celtics and Rockets could both get themselves under the cap to complete a deal, Houston’s offer would have to include some combination of Terrence Jones (12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.1 apg, 57.7 TS%, 19.1 PER), Patrick Beverly (10.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 54.5 TS%, 12.4 PER) and unsigned first-round pick Clint Cappela. None of those names exactly scream equal value for either Rondo or Love.

Still, Rondo will be on the trading block should the Celtics not acquire Love themselves, and Morey is a creative GM capable of involving other teams in a package enticing enough to land the C’s point guard. This isn’t the first Rondo trade rumor you’ve seen, and it won’t be the last, but it may really be the beginning of the end of his Boston tenure.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Kevin Love, NBA

Paul Pierce agrees to 2-year deal with Wizards

07.13.14 at 6:31 am ET
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According to multiple reports, former Celtic Paul Pierce has agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards with an option to become a free agent after next season.

The 36-year-old replaces Trevor Ariza on the Washington roster after Ariza agreed to terms with the Rockets earlier Saturday. Pierce had drawn interest from the Rockets, Dallas and the Lakers before agreeing with the Wizards.

Pierce spent one year with Brooklyn, averaging a career-low 13.5 points per game, having totaled 21.3 points per game for his career.

 

 

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Report: Chris Bosh to stay with Heat following departure of LeBron James

07.11.14 at 6:25 pm ET
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Despite a strong push from the Rockets, Chris Bosh will reportedly take a five-year, $118 million deal to stay in Miami in wake of LeBron James‘€™ departure from the team. Bosh’€™s impending return to the Heat was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Bosh, James and Dwyane Wade all opted out of their contracts this offseason to become free agents after the three spent the last four seasons playing together. James announced Friday that he will return to Cleveland, where he began his career, on a four-year, $88 million contract.

According to multiple reports, the Heat are working to re-sign Wade as well. Wade has spent his entire career with the team since being drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft.

What LeBron James’ decision means to the Celtics

07.11.14 at 1:42 pm ET
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If for some reason you missed his announcement on Thursday, LeBron James is returning to the Cavaliers.

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” he told Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins. “I didn’€™t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

Over the next 24 hours, you’ll see thousands of stories about what LeBron’s decision means to Cleveland (everything), Miami (oh, man) and the NBA in general (those ripple effects won’t reach shore for quite some time), but what exactly does it mean for the Celtics?

LeBron’s arrival in Cleveland immediately makes the Cavs a contender. While James admitted the team’s rookie head coach and youthful roster makes a title this season far from easy, a supporting cast of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett and Anderson Varejao isn’t a bad start.

Given the youth surrounding the game’s best player — only 29 years old himself — Danny Ainge‘s job just became that much more difficult for the foreseeable future. Conservatively, the Cavaliers could be contenders through 2020.

Of course, LeBron will also lure more talent to Cleveland. Chief among his recruits could be Kevin Love, who the Celtics have coveted for the past several months. The Cavaliers could offer Wiggins, Waiters, Varejao’s expiring contract and a future first-round pick for Love, potentially beating any offer Ainge could create. (Ironically, the Cavs still own a protected No. 1 pick from the Heat as a result of LeBron’s sign-and-trade in 2010.)

If the C’s lose out on Love to Cleveland, Ainge would only have himself to blame, since his recent three-team deal created the cap space necessary for the Cavs to sign James. Still, it’s hard to hold Ainge entirely responsible for LeBron landing in Cleveland, since Dan Gilbert would have created space come hell or high water.

The Celtics also acquired a first-round pick from the Cavaliers in the trade for Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller, so LeBron’s decision just made that pick a whole lot less attractive. However, the Celtics own Miami’s second-round pick in 2016, and that could be somewhere in the 30s should Chris Bosh sign in Houston as expected.

Wherever James ultimately landed — Miami or Cleveland — the Eastern Conference was always going to go through LeBron for the next several years, so in that regard little else has changed for Ainge. In fact, the currently constructed Cavaliers may not be the immediate force that the Heat have been for the past four years. Regardless, Ainge’s focus remains on landing Love, and LeBron’s return to Cleveland just made that more difficult.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Love, LeBron James, NBA

Celtics drop Orlando Summer League finale to Pacers

07.11.14 at 12:14 pm ET
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Despite the efforts of Celtics summer league standouts Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart, the Pacers rode an 11-0 run down the stretch to capture the fourth-place game in Orlando, 95-86.

Olynyk and Smart led the C’s scoring effort with 20 and 19 points, respectively, despite shooting a combined 13-of-37 from the field. Entering the game making just 28.0 percent of his field goal attempts (19.2 3P%), Smart finished 6-of-18 in the loss, but converted 4-of-9 3-pointers in an encouraging effort.

Phil Pressey (12 points, 13 assists), Mike Moser (16 points, 10 rebounds) and O.D. Anosike (13 points, 10 rebounds) added double-doubles in defeat. Chris Johnson and Chris Babb finished a combined 1-for-11.

Donald Sloan led Indiana with 20 points and 10 assists, helping the Pacers transform an 82-81 edge into a commanding 93-81 lead.

The Celtics finished 3-2 in the Orlando Summer League.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart shows promise in another summer league victory

07.10.14 at 7:52 pm ET
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The Celtics improved their record to 3-1 in the Orlando Summer League with a 76-67 victory over the Magic on Thursday evening.

Boston got the win without its top scorer, Kelly Olynyk, who took the day to rest. Other lineup changes included shifting Phil Pressey to the bench, which meant No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart received his first start at point guard.

The rookie responded fairly well, putting up a game-high 19 points, but his shooting struggles continued. While Smart shot 5-for-14 from the field overall (7-for-8 at the free throw line), 3-point shooting was his downfall.

The Oklahoma State product was just 2-for-9 from downtown (the two baskets came on back-to-back possessions late in the game while it was tight). Clearly, shooting is still an area that Smart needs to improve — although he did convert on 3-of-5 attempts inside the arc, something he should look to do more.

Smart finished with five assists, three rebounds and a steal to go with his 19 points in 30 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, the transition to coming off the bench was not kind to Pressey. He shot an atrocious 1-for-15 on field goals, only converting  an early layup. Nothing would go down all game for the crafty point guard. Pressey totaled just five points along with five boards and three helpers. It will be interesting to see how coach Jay Larranaga chooses to use Pressey next game.

Chris Johnson (12 points), Mike Moser (12 points), Colton Iverson (10 points) and Edwin Jackson (10 points) joined Smart as the Celtics players to score in double figures in the game.

The Magic were led by Seth Curry, who scored 15 points off the bench on a barrage of 3-pointers. While Victor Oladipo rested, all eyes were on Orlando’s rookies to carry the team.

Aaron Gordon scored seven points while collecting eight rebounds, but it was Elfrid Payton who was the better rookie on this day. Payton flirted with a triple-double, going for a Rondo-esque eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

The Celtics will play in the third-place game on Friday morning at 10 a.m. They will face either the Pistons or Grizzlies (determined by late Thursday night games). It will be Boston’s final game in Orlando before heading west for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA,
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