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Irish Coffee: Celtics on Grant Hill’s short list and other NBA free agent rumors 12.06.11 at 12:58 pm ET
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Because NBA teams can contact free agents but cannot sign them until Friday, you’ll hear plenty about players truncating lists of potential destinations — mini versions of LeBron James‘ ill-conceived Decision, if you will.

Four players, all great would-be additions in Boston, have included the Celtics on their short lists, according to various reports: Shane Battier, Grant Hill, Kurt Thomas and Leon Powe.

Battier would require the $3 million mini mid-level exception, and that might still not be enough for Danny Ainge to lure The No Stats All-Star. Hill might cost the C’s $3 million as well, unless by some miracle coach Doc Rivers can leverage his relationship to convince his fellow former Orlandoan to sign for the 10-year veteran minimum ($1.4 million). Both free agent’s list include seven teams, according to SI.com.

  • Battier’s list: Heat, Spurs, Pacers, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics, Thunder
  • Hill’s list: Suns, Knicks, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Celtics, Clippers

While Sports Illustrated cited the Suns as the heavy favorite to retain the 39-year-old Hill, a New York Post report confirmed Hill’s interest in the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks, making the point that Phoenix is a rebuilding team that can’t offer the chance for a title like the Celtics, Bulls or even Knicks.

With the possible exception of the Spurs, the Celtics will be in the unfortunate position of offering the lowest contract to either player, as those other teams as currently constituted will have the full $5 million exception.

The Post report also linked the Celtics, Heat and Bulls to another 39-year-old in Thomas. While all three teams would be offering the 10-year veteran minimum, the Bulls can offer slightly more to retain Thomas, but the Celtics and Heat would probably have more minutes available for him.

Finally, ESPN Los Angeles reporter Dave McMenamin talked to a familiar face, tweeting: “Leon Powe said the Grizzlies and Celtics are the teams he’s looking at.” The injury-plagued Powe chose Memphis over a return to Boston after being waived by the Cavaliers late last season. He averaged 5.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.8 minutes over his final 16 games, and then played only 3.5 minutes a night during the Grizzlies’ playoff run.

To recap, the Celtics can offer the worst contract among seven teams vying for the best player on this list (Battier) and would be lucky to land a pair of 39-year-olds (Hill and Thomas) or a guy who has played a combined 50 games over his last two seasons due to serious knee injuries (Powe). And I’m on board with any and all of these moves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2011-12 Celtics free agency period!

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Grant Hill, Kurt Thomas, Leon Powe
Irish Coffee: Imaginary 2011-12 Celtics roster 12.05.11 at 1:07 pm ET
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We’ve already discussed the Celtics reported interest in the following players: Shane BattierKwame BrownShannon BrownTyson ChandlerMarquis Daniels, Reggie EvansAaron GrayGrant HillJosh HowardChuck HayesCarl LandryRoger MasonAnthony ParkerJoel Przybilla and Michael Redd.

Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported the Celtics are indeed among nine teams interested in Josh “Not Dwight” Howard, and The Plain Dealer confirmed the Cavaliers will have to contend with at least the Celtics and Knicks for the services of Anthony “Not Candace” Parker. And Evans practically drooled over the possibility of playing for the Celtics, telling The Boston Globe, “I was kind of surprised when they reached out to me. It was an honor, especially with the kind of players they have on their team.”

However, it doesn’t appear the Celtics are among the potential landing destinations for Chuck Hayes, as his agent Calvin Andrews told Houston’s FOX affiliate (h/t Red’s Army) his client is focusing o the Blazers, Raptors, Rockets, Kings and Timberwolves. In other words, he’s looking for maximum dollars, not victories.

Also, an anonymous agent told the Boston Herald he doesn’t “see any way” the Celtics can’t get a deal done with Glen Davis and that Jeff Green‘s return to the Celtics “is practically done.”

Finally, according to Jason Richardson‘s hometown paper, The Saginaw News, the Bulls are considered the favorites to land him, although “rumors have also linked him with the Boston Celtics” — whatever that means.

With this knowledge (or lack thereof it), let’s take a stab at what a Celtics’ opening-day roster could look like.

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Read More: Anthony Parker, Boston Celtics, Jason Richardson, Josh Smith
Celtics free agent options at power forward redux 12.02.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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Welcome to the fifth and final part of this week’€™s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’€™s biggest needs – at center and shooting guard — as well as two other critical positions (backup point guards and small forwards), so we move to the final piece of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘€™s puzzle: Backup Power Forwards.

The Celtics started this past season with a surefire Hall of Fame four in Kevin Garnett, and backed him up with a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Glen Davis. The C’€™s version of assistant to the assistant regional manager rotated from Luke Harangody to ‘€œWe Hardly Knew Ye’€ Chris Johnson to Troy Murphy, with a dabble of Jeff Green, who played the four for the Thunder but is more suited to the three on the Celtics. Got all that? Good.

As we’€™ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’€™Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and should match any offer Green receives — unless another team far exceeds his qualifying offer of $5.9 million.

Davis and Murphy are free agents, and while they might sound like a buddy cop duo from Dublin, they’€™re actually both pretty darn good for second and third options at the four. The addition of first-round pick JaJuan Johnson — a 6-foot-10 senior power forward out of Purdue — likely makes a Murphy-type expendable. But even with Garnett, Green and Johnson expected to be on the 2011-12 roster, the Celtics should seek one more power forward option, in case Johnson isn’€™t ready and to leave Green on the wing.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup power forward, separating the current free agent players into four categories and forgetting about David West, because that ain’€™t happening.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carl Landry, Glen Davis, Jeff Green
Celtics free agent options at small forward redux 12.01.11 at 5:39 pm ET
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Welcome to Part 4 of this week’€™s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’s biggest needs – at center and shooting guard — as well as another critical position (backup point guards), so we move to what coach Doc Rivers called a pressing concern during the 2010-11 season: Backup Small Forwards.

The Celtics began last season with starter Paul Pierce and only swingman Marquis Daniels to spare the nine-time All-Star from playing heavy minutes at the 3. Once Daniels went down in February with a season-ending spinal injury, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was forced to make a deal for depth behind Pierce. Enter Jeff Green, who remains a restricted free agent after the Celtics extended a $5.91 million offer in June.

As we’€™ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’€™Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million) and should match any offer Green receives.

The Celtics would be wise to pick up another player capable of spelling Pierce to ensure they aren’t handcuffed by the lack of depth at the position again, even if they re-sign Green. Obviously the C’€™s won’€™t be dedicating much more money beyond those two to small forwards, but they need to find as many inexpensive versatile options (2-3 or 3-4 guys) as possible to eat up minutes for their three aging stars.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup small forward (barring overseas exports), separating the current free agent players into four categories.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Grant Hill, Josh Howard, NBA
Irish Coffee: Celtics Rumors 911 (Episode 3) 12.01.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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Although they can’t sign anyone to contracts until Dec. 9, NBA teams are now officially allowed to reach out to free agents. Since the Celtics have only six players under contract, they’ll probably be linked to just about every name out there, especially big men (i.e., Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Kwame Brown, etc.) and backup swingmen (i.e., Shane Battier, Grant Hill, etc.). Here’s a rundown of the rumor mill from the past 24 hours.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Grant Hill
Celtics free agent options at point guard redux 11.30.11 at 5:57 pm ET
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Welcome to Part 3 of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We have already profiled the C’€™s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — so we move to a less pressing but critical position: Backup Point Guards.

The Celtics started and finished the 2010-11 season with three additional players capable of handling the point guard position behind two-time All-Star starter Rajon Rondo on the 15-man roster: Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson (before trade) and Carlos Arroyo (after trade). Only Rondo and Bradley remain, so it stands to reason that the Celtics will sign at least one more floor general.

The C’€™s targets depend on how confident they are in Bradley and how cheaply they can find a reliable backup (or third-string). As we’€™ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’€™Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.

Signed through 2014-15, Rondo cemented himself as the franchise’s foundation (until this week’s rumors), and Bradley — under their control until his restricted free agency in 2014-15 — is slotted as the backup of the future. As a result, the C’€™s ideally would seek a veteran pure point guard and/or a capable combo guard who wouldn’t completely destroy their chances should Rondo’€™s injury issues persist and Bradley prove ill-prepared for big minutes. Arroyo and West fit those descriptions, but both might be too expensive or require more minutes.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into five categories. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NBA free agents, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo
Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo rumors, fact and fiction 11.30.11 at 9:14 am ET
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FACT: The Celtics are discussing Rajon Rondo in a trade for Hornets point guard Chris Paul.

When rumors started flying that team president Danny Ainge has included Rondo in trade discussions, there was always only one player who could possibly be on the other end of that conversation: Chris Paul.

With nobody to take over the reins in Rondo’s absence, the Celtics would have to land another point guard in return for the two-time All-Star. And considering the attractiveness of Rondo’s contract (4 years, $44 million remaining), that floor general would have to be decidedly better than Rajon Rondo.

In my mind, that list includes two names: Derrick Rose and Paul. There is no way in hell the Bulls are trading the reigning NBA MVP, so that leaves Paul, whose impending free agency puts him on the bargaining table.

Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick confirmed that notion on Tuesday, citing numerous sources in claiming Ainge “is highly motivated” to land the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year. Colleague Paul Flannery explained why the exchange makes painstaking sense but may require a third team to get done. And Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the C’s have made calls to the Pacers for just that reason.

The 26-year-old Paul has averaged 18.7 points (47.1 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 85.3 FT%), 9.9 assists and 2.4 steals in six NBA seasons, decidedly better numbers than the 25-year-old Rondo (10.7 points, 48.6 FG%, 24.2 3P%, 62.2 FT%, 7.6 assists, 1.9 steals) on a decidedly worse team.

While Rondo is one of the five best point guards in the NBA, Paul is one of the five best players in the league. That’s why Ainge is exploring the trade. And if it falls through, as ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher suggested it would, there’s nobody more stubborn than Rondo to prove Ainge, me and everybody else wrong.

FICTION: The Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green in a trade for Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and center Kendrick Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Paul, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green
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