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Giddens eager to prove himself

07.06.09 at 8:36 am ET
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J.R. Giddens wants to show the Celtics just how important he can be. As the team rebuilds its bench this summer, he is eager to capitalize on this opportunity.

This week he will make his case when the Celtics participate in the Orlando Summer League.

‘€œI just want to go out to Summer League and show the Celtics that I have an all-around approach to the game,’€ Giddens said in a telephone interview. ‘€œI can defend and rebound and I can score. I can bring a lot of different things to the table, and I feel like it’€™d be beneficial for them if I can show them I can help them win ball games.’€

Giddens, 24, understands the importance of a strong performance in Orlando as he looks ahead to his second season.

The 6-5 guard from New Mexico was drafted by the Celtics with the final pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. He experienced life as a rookie on a championship team, which meant stints in the D-League and more watching than playing. He recorded just eight minutes for the Cs.

Giddens has dedicated this summer to improving his game and continuing to adapt to the NBA. He has hit the gym every day for lifting and conditioning. The coaching staff, he says, has been pleased with this work ethic.

‘€œ[I’ve been] working on my ball handling and my free throw shooting and just trying to extend my range and get used to that three-point line because it’€™s a lot deeper in the NBA than it is in college,’€ Giddens said. ‘€œSo just doing the little things that I need to tighten up on my game.’€

Playing time is up for grabs next season and it’s not just reserved for free agent signings. There is basically one spot to fight for between Giddens and fellow sophomore Bill Walker. Giddens wants to be prepared if he gets the nod.

‘€œThere’€™s a lot of opportunities and you have to realize basketball is a business,’€ he said. ‘€œ A lot of changes are going to be made and you just have to be ready when your name’€™s called in any situation.’€

The Celtics will kick off Summer League action on Monday against the Utah Jazz. Click here for a complete schedule and roster.

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, J.R. Giddens,

The need for Sheed

07.05.09 at 10:57 pm ET
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Once the Celtics interest in Rasheed Wallace became known, and once the other free agent prizes began to find teams, it became more and more apparent that the Celtics had to get a deal done with Wallace. Not because Cleveland traded for Shaquille O’Neal or because Orlando added Vince Carter, but because Wallace is exactly what the Celtics need, and there is no one else remotely like him available.

The Celtics came into this offseason with three identifiable areas of need: A backup point guard who can run the team competently when Rajon Rondo goes to the bench, a versatile swing man–preferably one who can guard at least two positions, make a jump shot and give Paul Pierce some real rest–and a big man. Already in luxury tax territory and armed with the mid-level exception the Celtics had one big play to make and to that end they wisely stayed out of the limited point guard pool and the big-money small forward arms race. In zeroing in on Wallace, the Celtics identified their biggest need and spent accordingly.

Wallace’s agent, Bill Strickland, made noises during the courtship that a selling point for Wallace was assurances that the Celtics were not done making moves. They still have the bi-annual exception (projected to be around $2 million) and if they can land someone like Grant Hill, that would represent the best-case scenario. But there are still a few solid veterans looking for new homes, like Marquis Daniels, Quinton Ross and Anthony Parker, as well as in-house options like Brian Scalabrine, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. The Celtics have options, in other words.

But landing a quality big man was always the top priority and in Wallace the Celtics not only get an intelligent, versatile veteran who has been on a championship team, they also get something they did not have at all last season: protection in case Kevin Garnett or Kendrick Perkins gets hurt.

Wallace is much more than an insurance policy, however. His offensive game may have gotten a little too perimeter-heavy last season, but his style of play fits perfectly in the Celtics system which rarely utilizes a low-post option. Additionally his ability to guard power forward and centers, particularly centers, is a huge addition for the Celtics who haven’t really had that player during the Big 3 era (except for PJ Brown’s playoff run), and they have had to ask undersized power forwards like Leon Powe and Glen Davis to play out of position.

The Celtics still need a backup point guard and seem content to try to lure one with the veteran minimum like maybe Ty Lue (one of Kevin Garnett’s best friends) and that small forward, but they just solved their biggest offseason problem with the addition of Rasheed Wallace.

Read More: Celtics, free agency, Rasheed Wallace,

Wallace to sign two-year deal with Celtics

07.05.09 at 8:46 pm ET
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Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and FoxSports.com has learned from a source Rasheed Wallace will sign a two-year deal with the Celtics for the mid-level, which is worth approximately $5.7 or $5.8 million per season. Free agents can sign on July 8.

The Celtics made an aggressive bid for the four-time NBA All-Star when Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck flew to Michigan to meet with him last week. Wallace had reportedly garnered attention from several championship-contending teams, including the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs.

Wallace, 34, was selected by the then-Washington Bullets with the fourth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. Kevin Garnett was selected with the fifth pick. Wallace has a career average of 15.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in over 1,000 games. He currently ranks ninth among all active players in blocks (1375). (Click here to see an example of his recent handiwork against the Celtics.)

Part of Wallace’s appeal is his inside-outside game. Listed as a forward-center, the 6-foot-11 Wallace is also dangerous from long range. Last season he shot 35.4 percent from behind the arc and led the Pistons in three-point shots with 113, just six less than Paul Pierce.

Even more important to the Celtics, he has proven postseason experience. Wallace has advanced to the playoffs in every season since 1997 and averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in the postseason. He won the NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks against the Celtics in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.

Wallace has also earned a reputation for being an emotional player. He has been suspended for exceeding the limit of 16 technical fouls in a season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rasheed Wallace,

Report: Teams interested in Marbury

07.04.09 at 2:19 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics may not have Stephon Marbury in their long-term plans, but other teams around the league are reportedly expressing interest. According to the Boston Globe, Marbury was disappointed by the Celtics’ one-year, $1.3 million offer and effectively announced his departure in an email: “Thank you Boston for allowing the world to see me play again after all that went on in N.Y. The fans treated me with open arms and that’s all anyone can ask for.”

The New York Post has reported the Washington Wizards are the favorite to land Marbury while the Sacramento Kings have also inquired about the veteran guard. Marbury played for Wizards head coach Flip Saunders when Saunders coached the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Talks of Marbury reuniting with Saunders began in May when the New York Daily News reported Marbury reached out to his former coach nearly every day during the Celtics playoff run.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Flip Saunders, Stephon Marbury,

Report: Celtics offered Wallace contract

07.02.09 at 4:35 pm ET
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The Celtics have offered Rasheed Wallace a contract using their mid-level exception, according to Marc Spears of the Boston Globe. The contract was reportedly offered during a three-hour meeting in which Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck traveled to Detroit. Wallace did not make a decision.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rasheed Wallace,

Report: Celtics to meet with Wallace in Michigan

07.02.09 at 11:22 am ET
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Comcast SportsNet’s Gary Tanguay has reported Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and Wyc Grousbeck are traveling to Michigan to meet with free agent Rasheed Wallace. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may join them.

Wallace has garnered interest from several championship contending teams since becoming an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace,

Celtics Announce Summer League Roster

07.02.09 at 12:43 am ET
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The Boston Celtics announced the roster for the 2009 Orlando Summer League, which runs July 6-10 at the RDV SportsPlex. Current Celtics Gabe Pruitt, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker along with this year’s 58th pick, Lester Hudson, will participate. In addition, invitees include:

(F) Nick Fazekas, Nevada
(G) Coby Karl, Boise State
(G) Chris Lofton, Tennessee
(G) Bryan Mullins, Southern Illinois
(F) Kevin Rogers, Baylor
(G) Bryce Taylor, Oregon
(F) Mike Sweetney, Georgetown
(C) Robert Swift, Bakersfield HS (CA)
(G) Darius Washington, Memphis

The Celtics will compete against the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, and a combined squad from the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

July 6, 7pm vs. Jazz
July 7, 1pm vs. Magic
July 8, 5pm vs. Thunder
July 9, 7pm vs. Pacers
July 10, 1pm vs. Nets/76ers

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, Gabe Pruitt,
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