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Source: R.J. Hunter expected to sign with Celtics next week 07.21.15 at 4:33 pm ET
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R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

The Celtics are expected to sign first-round pick R.J. Hunter to a contract early next week, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The Celtics have historically offered first-round picks the full 120 percent of the rookie salary scale, meaning the No. 28 overall pick is expected to receive a four-year, $5.86 million deal — roughly $860,412 more than the record-breaking deal second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed Monday. Hunter is expected to be a restricted free agent in 2019, when the Celtics can offer him a $3.37 million qualifying offer.

After going scoreless in his first two outings of summer league, Hunter averaged 16.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20 minutes over his final six games in Utah and Las Vegas, including a 22-point outburst against the summer league champion Spurs over the weekend.

It would follow that fellow first-round pick Terry Rozier would also have his contract in place early next week. C’s second-round pick Marcus Thornton will reportedly sign in Australia.

With the Jae Crowder signing and David Lee trade also reportedly expected next week, it appears the Celtics are done dealing, as this series of moves would eat their remaining cap space. Once Hunter, Rozier, Crowder and Lee are officially added to the roster, the Celtics will have 16 players under guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season, requiring at least one cut.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, R.J. Hunter,
Source: Celtics sign Jordan Mickey for 4 years, $5 million 07.20.15 at 12:46 pm ET
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Jordan Mickey

Jordan Mickey

The Celtics have signed Jordan Mickey to a four-year, $5 million deal, according to a source, making the 33rd overall pick the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in NBA history.

The first two years of Mickey’s contract are guaranteed. Years 3 and 4 are team options.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward out of LSU averaged 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.1 minutes over eight summer league games, ranking among the leading rebounders and shot blockers in both Utah and Las Vegas.

In many ways, Mickey benefited from falling to the second round. C’s No. 28 overall selection R.J. Hunter is expected to sign a four-year, $5.86 million deal with three years guaranteed, a team option in Year 4 and a $3.38 million qualifying offer in restricted free agency in 2019, when Mickey will become an unrestricted free agent.

Granted, the year-over-year salary increases helped Mickey earn his status as the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in league history, but that distinction also illustrates how impressed the Celtics have been with the first of their two second-round selections, particularly since his deal will push the C’s to 16 guaranteed contracts.

“We thought, like many thought, he would probably be gone by the time we picked at 33,” Stevens told the media on draft night, “so we were really lucky to get Jordan.

“I think Jordan is a versatile athlete from a defensive standpoint. He can guard 4’s. He can switch a little bit. He’s a great shot-blocker when you look at his numbers for a smaller guy in height, but then you look at his length and his reach, and he’s really, really long, and gets off the floor extremely quickly. He’s one of those guys that probably shoots to about 16 or 17 feet right now, but can impact the game in a lot of different ways. Another good worker.”

Mickey and the Celtics could have reached a one-year deal at the rookie minimum of $525,093. He then would have been a restricted free agent next summer, potentially earning a big payday in 2016 a la K.J. McDaniels, who just signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Rockets one year after being drafted 32nd overall by the 76ers. Instead of agreeing on a more traditional second-round rookie contract (2-year minimum salary, 1-year guaranteed), Mickey received a heftier guaranteed deal over his first two seasons (roughly $2.4 million) while the Celtics maintained control for an extended period.

Mickey joins a crowded Celtics frontcourt that includes Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Perry Jones, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. The Celtics have yet to announce the Crowder signing and Lee trade, leaving roughly $6 million in cap space flexibility for the team to play with before finalizing the roster.

The Celtics will have to part ways with one of their guaranteed contracts prior to the start of the season. Because first-round picks Terry Rozier and Hunter have yet to officially sign, they are still eligible to be traded, as is James Young. Otherwise, the C’s would have to start considering trades involving a member of last year’s core.

Report: Celtics to waive backup PG Phil Pressey 07.15.15 at 11:30 am ET
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Phil Pressey

Phil Pressey

The Celtics will waive reserve point guard Phil Pressey, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

Pressey’s $947,276 deal would have become guaranteed had he remained on the roster through midnight on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old son of three-time NBA All-Defensive selection Paul Pressey averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes over 50 games this past season, his second since arriving in Boston as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri.

Pressey’s 36-minute averages of 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals are rather impressive, but his size (generously listed at 5-foot-11) and inability to shoot from the perimeter (25.7 career 3-point percentage) limited his impact on both ends of the floor despite above-average playmaking instincts.

The former Waltham High star became expendable when the C’s added first-round pick Terry Rozier to a point guard mix that also featured Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, but his work ethic and attitude could help him land an NBA job elsewhere.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Phil Pressey,
Celtics acquire Perry Jones III, pick from Thunder 07.14.15 at 3:45 pm ET
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Perry Jones

Perry Jones

The Celtics once again benefited from another team’s cost-saving machinations, acquiring Thunder forward Perry Jones III, Detroit’s 2019 second-round pick and cash from Oklahoma City in exchange for a protected 2018 second-round pick, the teams announced.

The deal reportedly saves OKC about $7 million in salary and luxury tax expenses while creating a $2.o4 million trade exception.

Meanwhile, the Celtics will audition the 23-year-old Jones for one season on that same $2.04 million salary before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2016. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Jones averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just 14.7 minutes over 43 games this past season. Bostonians probably best remember the Baylor product as one of several late first-round picks the C’s passed on in order to select Fab Melo in 2012.

The deal brings to mind last summer’s trade for Tyler Zeller, who the Celtics acquired along with Marcus Thornton for a conditional second-round pick in a cost-cutting move by the Cavaliers. Zeller played a similar role to Jones before starting for the C’s in 2014-15.

Even if the Celtics can get just one game close to his performance against the Clippers in the second game of this past season ‘€” a 32-point, seven-rebound, three-assist night when OKC was missing Kevin Durant ‘€” the trade will be worth the phone call to Sam Presti.

The deal theoretically brings the Celtics to the requisite 15 guaranteed contracts once Jae Crowder is officially signed and the David Lee trade is completed, which either means second-round pick Jordan Mickey won’t be earning a roster spot or more moves are coming down the pike. The latter scenario is more likely so early in the 2015-16 calendar.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Perry Jones III,
You never once let me know you were lettin’ me go, Gigi Datome 07.14.15 at 10:32 am ET
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Any truth to the rumor Danny Ainge sang Umberto Tozzi’s “Ti Amo” quietly in his office when Gigi Datome informed him he signed a three-year, $5 million deal with Euro power Fenerbahce? Adieu, Gino reincarnated.

Gigi Datome, God how I love you so
My heart just won’t let go
Day after day I’m still holdin’ on
Even though you’re gone
Gigi Datome, wasn’t I good to you?
I did all that I could do
To make you want to be here with me
I thought you loved me
I can’t believe you could just turn and leave
Y’did it so easily
You pulled my world out from under me
Look what you’ve done to me
How could you end it this way
After the love that we made?
God how I wish you had stayed
Can’t you see that I just want you back?
Gigi Datome, I never had a clue that I was losin’ you
You never once let me know you were lettin’ me go
Oh, I guess it was there in your eyes
Guess it was there in your sighs
Guess it was there in your lies
I was blind then, couldn’t face the end
Gigi Datome, thought we’d go on and on
Thought we had something strong
You pulled my world out from under me
Look what you’ve done to me
How could you end it this way
After the love that we made?
God how I wish you had stayed
Can’t you see that I just want you back?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Gigi Datome, NBA,
Isaiah Thomas: Playing with DeMarcus Cousins again ‘would be something special’ 07.14.15 at 9:54 am ET
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During Isaiah Thomas‘ trip abroad for the NBA 3X Spain three-on-three basketball tournament last month, the Celtics guard conducted an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario AS as a precursor to the team’s preseason game against Real Madrid on Oct. 8. He touched on subjects as wide-ranging as DeMarcus Cousins and Floyd Mayweather.

Here are a few highlights roughly translated from the original interview.

When will we see the Celtics fighting for another ring?

“In the next two years. That is the plan. Danny Ainge is trying to build a winning team from scratch. I hope to be part of that future and reach that goal.”

And so, what is the way to go?

“As easy as getting us a couple more good players. That is what we need. I hope that this summer we can do really well in the market for free agents, which already being a playoff team will take us to the next level. The most important thing for us is getting a big man and starting from there to continue to grow. I’d like to be able to persuade Marc Gasol to come to the Celtics.”

NOTE: Keep in mind, this interview was conducted prior to free agency and shortly after Thomas joked on Twitter about recruiting Gasol during his trip to Europe.

And DeMarcus Cousins?

“[Laughs.] It would be something special to join him in the locker room again. For me, he is among the best big men in the world: He is intelligent, and there aren’t many big men with his talent …”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Would Danilo Gallinari represent an upgrade for Celtics? 07.14.15 at 8:39 am ET
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Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari

The Celtics aren’t content with their current roster. That much we know. They’re stocked with good players, but fresh out of great ones, and team president Danny Ainge has openly discussed the C’s need for star power.

But is Nuggets wing Danilo Gallinari the answer? Ainge explored a trade with Denver, and while nothing resulted from the discussion, sources told the Boston Herald a deal for the 26-year-old “could be revived.”

His versatility as a 6-foot-10 wing whose shooting can stretch the floor certainly fits Celtics coach Brad Stevens‘ system, but Gallo was hardly a star even before an ACL tear cost him more than a year of his prime.

After missing the entire 2013-14 NBA season, Gallinari regained form after the All-Star break in 2015, averaging 18.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range over his final 24 appearances. Those numbers would make him an upgrade over any other wing on the C’s roster, including newly signed Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson. His defense when healthy has also steadily improved since his early days on the Knicks.

And while Gallinari would be an upgrade in the short term, his expiring $11.6 million contract would also maintain the Celtics’ flexibility for the long haul, as is the case with soon-to-be C’s forward David Lee, whose expiring $15.5 million deal comes off the books next summer.

Because the Celtics landed Lee for Gerald Wallace‘s expiring contract, they surely would be looking to make a similarly lopsided deal for Gallinari, which is likely where the talks stalled.

Even if the Gallinari discussion is dead and gone, though, Ainge’s interest at least offers an indication of the team’s thinking. For the time being, it does not appear there is a star available on the trade market, so the Celtics are looking for players who will improve the roster now and not limit their ability to land a better one at the trade deadline or in free agency next summer.

Either that, or the Celtics were simply interested in fulfilling their Italian stallion quota with the dearly departed Gigi Datome signing with Euroleague power Fenerbahce overnight.

Read More: Boston Celtics, danilo gallinari, Denver Nuggets, NBA
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