|Report: Celtics on shortlist of teams Kevin Durant will meet with in free agency||06.25.16 at 12:26 am ET|
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Celtics may not be frontrunners in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, but they’ll at least get an audience.
According to Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics and other interested clubs will travel to a central location to meet with Durant and his representatives from Roc Nation Sports starting on July 1.
The other teams that Durant will meet are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and his incumbent Thunder, according to the report.
Oklahoma City remains the favorite to retain Durant, since it can offer him a two-year deal with an opt-out that makes him a free agent again next offseason. The Warriors are also considered strong contenders if he wants to join Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to build the league’s next super team.
But the Celtics at least have a seat at the table, which is more than interested clubs like the Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks, Rockets, and Durant’s hometown Wizards can say. The C’s can sell Durant on their cap space, as well as the presence of coach Brad Stevens on one of the better up-and-coming teams in the relatively weak East, which could provide a clearer path to the Finals than the loaded West, even with the defending champions from Cleveland and LeBron James standing in the way.
Durant, 27, is a seven-time All-Star and former MVP who led the Thunder within a win of their second NBA Finals this season. He averaged just over 28 points a game.
According to the Yahoo report, he’d like to decide on his future by July 9, when he begins a publicity tour in the Far East.
|Celtics go international again at No. 23 by selecting Croatian center Ante Zizic||06.23.16 at 10:19 pm ET|
Another pick, another foreigner for the Celtics.
Seven picks after selecting French big man Guerschon Yabusele with the 16th overall pick, the Celtics tabbed Croatian center Ante Zizic at No. 23.
Zizic, 19, averaged 14.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game with Cibona overseas. He could end up being another draft-and-stash player for the C’s, continuing his development in Europe. He is considered a banger inside who possesses legitimate NBA toughness.
No idea if this is an joke account, but it sounds plausible that former Celtics big man Dino Radja would be on board with this pick.
Ante Zizic! Another son of Croatia will soon playing for the Celtic. Dino weeps tears of happy!
— Dino Radja (@DinoRadja40) June 24, 2016
|Jaylen Brown learned first-hand about NBA intensity during recent 1-on-1 game with Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler||06.23.16 at 9:48 pm ET|
Jaylen Brown learned about NBA intensity from a name Celtics fans lusted after — Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Because Brown and Butler share a trainer, they worked out together before the draft. A workout turned into a game one of one-on-one. They planned to play three.
“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”
Brown wouldn’t reveal who won, but he’ll have a chance to renew acquaintances with Butler and the rest of the NBA’s most versatile swingmen after being selected third overall by the Celtics in Thursday’s NBA draft.
“Boston is a great city full of culture, full of life, education, things that mean a lot to me,” Brown said. “I’m super excited. I cannot wait to get there and can’t wait to get everything started, can’t wait for the season to start, and I’m happy to be a part of the family.”
|Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck on trade talks: ‘Nothing even came close’||06.23.16 at 8:41 pm ET|
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, fresh off a surprise booing from Celtics fans disappointed in the selection of Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick, said the C’s never came close to trading the pick for a veteran.
“Adding a veteran was certainly a consideration as we went into this draft day,” Grousbeck said. “Adding a veteran for the third pick was a consideration. We were willing to have those discussions, just nothing even came close. If it had come close and we hadn’t quite gotten there, I’d tell you that. It just wasn’t even close. It’s actually an easy day when nothing’s close. I don’t look for easy days — you try to make the right decisions — but this was an easy day.”
According to reports, the Celtics engaged in trade talks with the Sixers (Nerlens Noel), Bulls (Jimmy Butler), and Bucks (Khris Middleton), but according to Grousbeck, those talks never progressed.
That led to the selection of Brown. Grousbeck joked that as a Stanford grad, he’ll have to accept that Brown played for a year at Cal. He also said he was extremely impressed with Brown’s workout.
“Jaylen, since the day he walked in for his very impressive workout — impressive even to me, as more of a fan — he was very high on the list,” Grousbeck said. “He was going to be a finalist for this draft pick since the day he walked in and worked out.”
That said, fans still reacted with hostility, showering Grousbeck with boos over the selection.
“Fourteen years, that’s probably the worst one I’ve gotten, but I’ll view this as people really care,” Grousbeck said. “I’ll view it as I’ve certainly had some of those reactions when I’ve been at sporting events. You pay your money, you get to come in. Look, we’re a bunch of fans who bought this team. Being a fan means you’re emotional and emotionally invested in the team and no problem. But I actually believe if those fans knew what I knew and were in that room, most of them might have done the same thing. But no problem. Bring it on. They’re Celtics fans, and they’ve earned the right to say whatever they want.”
|Celtics use 3rd pick in NBA draft to select Cal forward Jaylen Brown||06.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET|
After months of speculation, the Celtics finally have an answer: Jaylen Brown.
The C’s selected the Cal forward with the third pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night after being unable to move the pick for a satisfactory return of veteran players.
Though the C’s were rumored to be in talks with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler and the Sixers for Nerlens Noel and a package of draft picks, they elected to keep the pick and used it on Brown, one of the best pure athletes in the draft.
Brown is expected to step right in and play NBA defense. His offensive game remains a work in progress, though he’s an excellent finisher at the rim. His jumper needs development, but at 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, he has the potential to wreak havoc on the perimeter as a defender.
“I honestly had no idea,” Brown told ESPN after being selected. “I was sweating bullets over there, so nervous. I’m glad I ended up where I am.”
Brown averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds and will represent himself in negotiations, with help from Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who advised Brown thusly:
“Be a kid, by yourself, never compromise your values,” Brown told ESPN. “Always remember who you are and where you came from.”
|Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers for draft picks, increasing likelihood they’ll be terrible again next year||06.23.16 at 4:48 pm ET|
The Nets just keep on helping the Celtics.
On Thursday, Brooklyn traded forward Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft and a protected second-rounder.
This helps the Celtics because it removes one of the few talented players from Brooklyn’s roster and replaces him with a rookie. The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round picks in 2017 and 2018, and this trade increases the chances that those picks will be high again.
Young, 28, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last year and is signed through 2018, with a player option for 2019.
The trade does give Brooklyn roughly $50 million in cap space, but without a roster to entice a legitimate star player.
|Celtics Choice: C’s reportedly narrow No. 3 pick to Providence point guard Kris Dunn or Cal forward Jaylen Brown||06.23.16 at 11:56 am ET|
And down the stretch they come . . .
With the NBA draft set for Thursday night and the Celtics still unable to move the No. 3 pick, focus has narrowed on whom they might select at that spot, with draft insiders focusing on two names — Providence College point guard Kris Dunn and Cal forward Jaylen Brown.
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported on Twitter that the Celtics are leaning towards Dunn, a better, more explosive version of Marcus Smart. Katz’s colleague, Jeff Goodman, said on the network that he hears the Celtics will either take Dunn or Brown, an athletic wing player.
Both Dunn and Brown are considered NBA-caliber athletes, with Brown more advanced defensively and Dunn a more gifted offensive player.
With that in mind, we present our final Celtics Choice: Kris Dunn vs. Jaylen Brown.
The case for Dunn
See if this sounds familiar: the Providence guard is powerfully built and physically gifted for his position, with the ability to defend multiple positions and a toughness NBA GMs like Danny Ainge love. If that sounds like Smart, it’s because Dunn shares many characteristics with the Celtics guard. Where he separates, however, is on the offensive side of the ball. Dunn is a better ball handler, passer, and scorer than Smart. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and with a 6-9 wingspan, Dunn possesses tremendous defensive instincts and court vision. He’s a terror in the open court and can finish at the rim authoritatively with either hand. He’s a true playmaking point guard who can also score (37.2 percent on 3-pointers). Just call him Smart 2.0.
The case against Dunn
In the delicate ecosystem of an NBA locker room, one malcontent can lead to disaster, and it’s fair to question Dunn’s fit when his agents have suggested he won’t play for a team — including the Celtics — with an established point guard. There are also reports that he “desperately” wants to play for the Sixers. He can’t stop anyone from drafting him, but his health could be an issue because Dunn required two shoulder surgeries during his PC career. On the court, there’s also the question of Dunn’s stroke — his inconsistent jumper includes a lot of moving parts — and his occasionally sloppy and reckless ball-handling.
The case for Brown
Brown is all about projection. He’s a raw athlete with explosive leaping ability, but an unpolished offensive game. The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder could excel in one of Brad Stevens’ small-ball lineups as an undersized but athletic power forward who creates matchup problems on both ends while defending multiple positions. He’s got Draymond Green potential as a versatile athlete wreaking havoc at both ends, especially on defense. He’s a tremendous finisher on the break and at the rim, and a good rebounder for his size. He averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds a game as a freshman.
The case against Brown
His offense is limited. He shot just .294 on 3-pointers and .654 on free throws. He also disappeared down the stretch, shooting a combined 5-for-29 in his conference tournament and NCAA tourney games. Cal was a one-and-done against Hawaii in the Big Dance, and Brown finished his career with just four points and two rebounds while committing seven turnovers. He’s got a little bit of Jared Sullinger to his offensive game in that he’ll pound the ball and take contested jumpers. If his offensive game fails to develop, it will severely limit his upside as an NBA player.
This is a tossup. Dunn is the more polished player, but Brown the better athlete with the higher upside. Dunn is the safer pick, even if he’d require moving some parts off the roster. But Brown should be an impact wing defender, and if his offensive game develops, those players are at a premium. We’ll take Brown.
June 9: Buddy Hield vs. Jamal Murray
June 7: Dragan Bender vs. Kevin Love
June 2: Al Horford vs. DeMar DeRozan
May 31: Buddy Hield vs. Avery Bradley
May 26: Kevin Love vs. Paul George
May 24: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Blake Griffin
May 23: Bradley Beal vs. Gordon Hayward
May 20: Buddy Hield vs. Jaylen Brown
May 19: Jahlil Okafor vs. Dragan Bender
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Isaiah Thomas to Play vs. Wizards After Missing 2 Games with Knee Injury
- Ray Allen Not Invited to Rajon Rondo's NBA Title Celebration After...
- Isaiah Thomas Will Miss Next 2 Games for Celtics with Knee Injury
- Al Horford, Avery Bradley Out vs. Suns with Elbow, Hamstring Injuries
- Avery Bradley Returns from Achilles Injury for Celtics vs. Hawks
- Isaiah Thomas Criticizes DeMarre Carroll for Flagrant Foul in Celtics vs...