|07.02.13 at 8:05 am ET|
Doc Rivers is gone. Come July 12, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry aren’t walking through that door. Even Terrence Williams got the boot. And so begins the next chapter in Celtics lore.
Strap in, because this may take a while. The previous rebuilding phase lasted 22 years, and Kris Humphries is involved this time around. A locker room shared by the former Mr. Kardashian and Rajon Rondo might just ignite enough toxicity to blow these Celtics up from the inside out. That’s one option, I guess.
At least C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acquired a handful of building blocks, adding an additional first-round draft pick in four of the next five seasons and clearing cap space in 2014. Whatever else he accomplishes over the next couple months, it will all be done with an eye toward next summer.
As a result, don’t expect a Josh Smith to join the Celtics during the NBA’s free-agency period that began on Monday. Ainge admitted as much when introducing “not star” rookie 7-footers Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson.
Sure, the Celtics could chase a sign-and-trade deal for Smith, ink Rondo’s high school roommate to double-digit millions and let a handful of wildly entertaining sixth-seeded seasons commence, but that wouldn’t get them much closer to the only thing that matters around here: An 18th banner. As Ainge said, “This is the Boston Celtics.”
Of course, Ainge also said, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous.” So, what exactly is he doing?
|07.02.13 at 6:22 am ET|
According to an ESPN report, free agent center Greg Oden, who is looking to make a return to the league after sitting out since 2009 with knee problems, is likely to choose from a list of five teams that includes the Celtics. The Spurs, Heat, Cavaliers and Grizzlies are the other top candidates, with the Cavaliers and Spurs the favorites, the report indicates.
Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Ohio State, has not played since Dec. 5, 2009. He had his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.
Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 82 career games with the Trail Blazers.
|07.01.13 at 9:56 pm ET|
While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis.
Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo: The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.
“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers and the pending trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics.”
|06.30.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s free agency period begins, the Celtics waived wing Terrence Williams on Sunday, just two days after the Chinese Basketball Association import’s 26th birthday.
Williams averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games since his signing in mid-February. After consecutive 10-day contracts, the C’s signed him for the remainder of the season with a non-guaranteed minimum contract for 2013-14.
The Celtics saved $200,000 that would have become guaranteed had Williams been on the roster at midnight. His arrest last month on gun charges that are still under investigation probably didn’t help matters.
After stints on the Nets, Rockets and Kings from 2009-12, Williams played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China this past winter before joining the injury-riddled Celtics for the stretch run.
In five playoff appearances, Williams made little impact, playing mostly as a 6-foot-6 backup point guard to Rajon Rondo.
Once the trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry becomes official on July 12, Rondo and expected starting 2-guard Avery Bradley are the only current players on the roster capable of playing the point. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has plenty of priorities this summer, and backup point guard has to be one of them.
|06.30.13 at 7:34 am ET|
According to Sportando.net, the Celtics and Grizzlies are the two teams most interested in signing Italian forward Gigi Datome, with the general manager of the player’s Virtus Roma team stating that the Celts are the “front-runners to sign him.”
The 25-year-old Datome is coming off the best season of his career, having been named Serie A Regular Season MVP after averaging 16.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
(Here is Datome’s Twitter account, although you better have Google translator at the ready.)
|06.29.13 at 5:01 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Mavericks have contacted the Celtics about possibly trading for Rajon Rondo.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Mavericks would “love having Rajon Rondo to chase (free agent) Dwight Howard” but Dallas would require the Celtics to take multiple contracts off the Mavs’ books.
The Mavericks drafted Miami point guard Shane Larkin, whom the Celtics reportedly had interest in prior to the draft.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that despite Rondo’s ACL surgery, the Celtics’ asking price for the point guard remains steep. Rondo turns 28 in February.
For more Celtics coverage, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.
|06.28.13 at 2:03 pm ET|
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reportedly will be shipped to the Nets in exchange for three first-round picks, as well as a five-player package highlighted by 2005 Celtics first-round draft pick MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries.
The reaction from media around the country is, well, about as one would expect. Many of them used one common phrase in particular in their pseudo-obituaries:
“An inglorious end to a glorious era.” — Paul Flannery, SBNation
“This era of the Boston Celtics was finally destroyed.” — Zach Harper, CBS Sports
“[Celtics fans] were experiencing the other end of the era.” — Ian Thomsen, Sports Illustrated
“An era ended in Boston as the deep-pocketed Nets loaded up for next year’s run.” — Chris Forsberg, ESPN
Indeed, the official end of the Big Three Era — a period that lasted twice as long as many expected it to — has come, and with it a new one dawning in Brooklyn.
Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York assesses the trade from the Nets’ point of view, and held nothing back about the Celtics’ rebuilding
“So make no mistake,” O’Connor writes. “This is a great night for the Brooklyn Nets, even if it doesn’t lead to the title Garnett and Pierce won for the Celtics, who are busy becoming a D-League team in the hope of winning banner No. 18 in a resurgent season to be named (much) later.
“[Nets owner Mikhail] Prokhorov and his industrious GM, Billy King, saw an opening and pounced. The Nets got older and slower in the process, but they also got a lot better, especially in a playoff context.”