|Full Court Press: Resetting Celtics roster, Abdel Nader, Boston no-go for 2017 All-Star Game||07.23.16 at 5:34 pm ET|
These are very fluid times at the bottom of the Celtics roster.
The news Saturday that the Celtics have reached agreement in principle on free agent deals with Tyler Zeller (their own through restricted free agency) and Gerald Green (1 year, $1.5 million) brings the Celtics roster to 17 players for the upcoming season.
In the NFL, when a significant free agent is signed in the offseason, it is presumed that free agent will be with the team come training camp. With the Celtics, that is not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination, especially when that imagination belongs to Danny Ainge.
Several sources around the league have indicated that Ainge is far from done with his offseason maneuverings and would like to reshape the roster once more before the team heads to camp in late September.
The Celtics were able to get a max deal done (4 years, $113 million) with Al Horford, who comes to Boston still in his prime at the age of 30.
Even with Tom Brady on their side, they just missed out on Kevin Durant.
They drafted a confident swingman in Jaylen Brown, who blossomed late in Summer League and started to show the glimpses of brilliance that gave Ainge and his staff reason to take him third overall.
Horford and Brown are definitely new pieces that will give Brad Stevens more to work with in 2016-17. Zeller and Green may or may not play a big role.
If you include the guaranteed contract of Brown and pending deals with Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson, the Celtics will actually be at 18 players.
|Source: Celtics to re-sign Tyler Zeller (2 years, $16 million), ink Gerald Green (1 year, $1.5 million)||07.23.16 at 3:26 pm ET|
The Celtics are trying to make the best of what’s left of the free agent market.
League sources confirmed Saturday to WEEI.com that the team will re-sign 26-year-old center Tyler Zeller for two years and $16 million, with the second year consisting of a team option. The news was first reported by the Boston Herald and later by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Celtics are following through on their intentions after extending a $3.7 million qualifying offer in June to Zeller, who like Jared Sullinger was a restricted free agent.
Sullinger left for bigger money in Toronto.
Zeller, the 17th overall pick of the Mavericks (traded to Cleveland) in the 2012 draft, appeared in 60 games for the Celtics this season, just a season after starting 59. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3 rebounds over 11.8 minutes per game last season.
The Celtics are also going back to the future and signing 30-year-old Gerald Green. A league source confirms that Green and the team have agreed on a one-year deal for the league veteran minimum of $1.5 million, as reported by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.
Green was the No. 18 overall pick of the Celtics in the 2005 NBA draft. He played his first two seasons with Boston before being dealt to the Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007. Green averaged 8.9 points per game in 69 games for the Heat last season, including 14 games as a starter.
Green, entering his 10th season, was a productive sixth man for the Heat in the first half of the season but mysteriously fell off and played little down the stretch and in the playoffs against Charlotte and Toronto. Green indicated publicly he had hoped to return to Miami. Green is a career 36.1 percent shooter from 3-point range. During the 2013-14 season with the Suns, Green shot a remarkable 40 percent on a career-high 510 attempts.
Per a league a source, the signings of Zeller and Green appear to be a “fall-back” position for the Celtics, should they want to enter the season with the roster they have constructed. There is still the possibility that these pieces, along with others, could be used in trades down the road, like for Jahlil Okafor of Philadelphia. Both the Herald and Globe have indicated from sources that it’s more likely than not that the roster will definitely be adjusted significantly before the start of camp in late September.
The roster, after these two signings, will be at 17, including the non-guaranteed contract of John Holland and the guaranteed deal of No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown. The team must cut to 15 players by the start of the season. The Celtics already have freed up the spaces of Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic, both of whom will play overseas next season.
|Full Court Press: The real cost of Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin, summer league stars Terry Rozier, Abdel Nader||07.16.16 at 4:00 pm ET|
Is the time finally right for Danny Ainge to cash in?
The Celtics president of basketball operations has been stacking his place at the NBA poker table with lots of blue chips. The question is whether now is the time to head to the to the casino office and get the final pieces that will help Brad Stevens and the team get back to the NBA finals.
But either one of those deals would almost certainly require the Celtics giving up their ownership of Brooklyn’s unprotected pick next year, which could very easily be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Not only that, a team like Oklahoma City, with the always forward-thinking general manager Sam Presti, likely is going to want another top pick, either in 2017 or from the multitude of picks listed below. The Celtics also own Brooklyn’s first-rounder in 2018. The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Jason Terry trade of July 2013 keeps on giving.
If there’s any general manager with the wherewithal to pull off a major deal involving future picks and not entirely forfeit the future, it’s Ainge. Here, in full detail, is the remarkable portfolio Ainge has to work with:
2017 first-round draft pick from Brooklyn
Boston has the right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick; if Boston exercises this swap right, then Boston will convey its 2017 second-round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished). [July 12, 2013]
2017 second-round draft pick from Cleveland
Cleveland’s 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from Cleveland, Sept. 25, 2014]
2017 second-round draft pick from L.A. Clippers
Clippers’ 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from L.A. Clippers via Phoenix, Jan. 15, 2015]
|Report: Danny Ainge ‘definitely wants to do something’ on trade market, Jahlil Okafor best bet||07.16.16 at 12:04 pm ET|
Danny Ainge is still hungry to make a deal.
According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations wants to add one more big piece. But the price tag has been too rich.
“Another sticking point in that and in other deals Boston is talking about is that pick from the Nets next year (2017 pick swap). Danny will make it available in the right situation, but he’s not going to give it up with core players, too,” a league source told Bulpett. “That’s going to be a good draft, and that’s going to be a high pick.
“Everyone’s been talking about how Danny’s trying to make a killing out here, but when it comes to certain pieces you have, I get that you have to be careful. You can give up equal assets, but you don’t want to take away your best opportunities to keep things going down the line.”
Bulpett also reports there have been no recent discussions on two rumored high-profile players Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin. But an NBA general manager told Bulpett that Philadelphia big man Jahlil Okafor is a different matter.
“Oh, Danny definitely wants to do something,” the GM told Bulpett. “We’ve got nothing that really works with Boston, but I bet something happens there. I still wouldn’t be surprised if something happened there [with Okafor].”
The Celtics were reportedly close on Jimmy Butler on draft night as they held the No. 3 pick in the draft. The Bulls made no secret about their desire to trade up and grab Providence College point guard Kris Dunn. But, according to Bulpett, the Bulls also wanted two players, while the C’s only were willing to deal one.
Now with the Bulls inking Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Bulls seem committed to keeping Butler and making a run next season.
A Western Conference exec says there are injury concerns w/Griffin. Another thinks a C’s deal for Okafor fits well. https://t.co/TR1iTiLBhR
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 16, 2016
|Jaylen Brown (21 points), Abdel Nader (16 pts) not enough as Celtics drop summer finale to Blazers||07.15.16 at 8:56 pm ET|
The Celtics concluded their summer league play on a down note Friday night in Las Vegas, falling to the Trail Blazers, 80-75, at Cox Pavilion.
Rookie Jaylen Brown had a team-high 21 points for the Celtics but made just 7-of-21 shots from the field. Brown had a highlight-reel caliber dunk in the first half and again showed the ability to get to the rim with authority, something he’s been flashing this week with the Celtics.
Brown struggled again from 3-point range, making just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. He was just 5-for-22 from long range in six summer league games.
Iowa State product Abel Nader continued his impressive week. The Celtics’ final pick (No. 58 overall) added 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field.
|Jaylen Brown (25 pts) continues to learn, Terry Rozier (24 pts) impresses in loss to Cavaliers, C’s end summer league Friday||07.14.16 at 9:46 am ET|
Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier both made big statements in Boston’s penultimate summer league game Thursday in Las Vegas.
Brown broke out offensively with 25 points but showed he still has a lot to learn about the fine details of crunch time in the NBA while Terry Rozier added 24 in a 98-94 loss to the Cavaliers in a first-round playoff game at Cox Pavilion.
The loss dropped the C’s to 1-3 in Vegas after they won all three games in Utah. They will not advance to the elimination round and conclude their game action Friday with a 6 p.m. ET game against the Trail Blazers.
Wednesday’s game was a back-and-forth affair, with the Celtics taking a one-point lead on a Rozier finger roll with 1:53 left.
The Cavaliers grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds in consecutive possessions to help them take the lead for good, 94-91, with 53.3 seconds remaining.
“We had them stopped the last two minutes there where we had a chance to get the ball, and they got offensive rebounds there,” Jamie Young, Boston’s Vegas head coach, told reporters after the game.
After an empty possession and the Celtics still only down three, Brown made a mental mistake when he intentionally fouled with 24 seconds left. Brown apparently thought the Celtics needed to stop the clock. But there was an eight-second time differential between the shot clock and the game clock in a one-possession game.
|Full Court Press: James Young has another chance to impress in summer league, Guerschon Yabusele is a ‘big dancing bear’||07.02.16 at 10:36 pm ET|
James Young is determined to make this summer different.
The 17th overall pick of the Celtics in the 2014 NBA draft has been slowed by injuries in his first two offseasons, as he has tried to make the right impression on Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge in summer league action.
Still just 20 years old, Young is starting to feel a little urgency to make a name for himself as the team has drafted the likes of Jaylen Brown, Demetrius Jackson, Ben Bentil and Guerschon Yabusele. All four of those players will join Young on the Celtics’ 2016 summer league squad, which begins action Monday in Salt Lake City against the Sixers.
Remarkably, Young is the only player on the 14-player roster who will be playing his third straight summer league for the Celtics.
“I barely played the first two I was here both years so why not come back for a third and play a full? So that’s why I’m here just to do, just go out there and play basketball,” Young said Friday. “I’ve just been working on my overall game. Nothing specific, just everything. And everything’s starting to come together. I’m just ready to go out there and just play strong.”
Last year in summer league, Young averaged just 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games. He struggled badly from the field, shooting just 27.1 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from beyond the arc. This season, he bounced back and forth between Maine and Boston over 10 times, appearing in three of the Celtics’ six playoff games while averaging 14.8 and 5.6 rebounds in 16 games for the Red Claws.
“The thing about it is you think James has been forever,” said Micah Shrewsberry, who will coach Young and the Celtics summer team in Utah. “Man, he’s still 20 years old. I looked at different rosters the other day. James is still younger than almost everybody on Utah’s roster. He’s a young guy. He’s still learning. He’s been great. We’re trying, with an opportunity like this, for him to be able to use his voice more, something that he doesn’t do during the season when the older guys are doing a lot more talking. He can do that a little bit, he can lead, kind of come out of his shell a little bit. And then get more opportunities to play, show what he can do, have fun with it.”
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