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Celtics to play preseason contest in Italy this October 06.03.15 at 9:49 am ET
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The Celtics will be going international to open their preseason this fall.

The NBA, in conjunction with Euroleague Basketball and RCS Sport, confirmed Wednesday that the Celtics will play a preseason game on Oct. 6 against Olimpia Milano in Milan, Italy, as part of NBA Global Games Europe 2015.

The 17-time NBA champion will play the three-time Euroleague champion and 26-time Italian League champion Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan.

“On behalf of the Celtics organization, we are proud to return to Milan for NBA Global Games 2015,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “I have particularly fond memories of playing in Europe almost 30 years ago, and I am sure our current players will relish this unique opportunity.”

“It is an honor to represent the Celtics and the NBA in Milan,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “I know there are passionate NBA fans in Italy and we look forward to an electric atmosphere on game night.”

“We’ll play in Chicago and New York against Maccabi and then head home to Italy to play the Boston Celtics which will be an exciting week for us as a team,” Olimpia Milano president Flavio Portaluppi said. “We appreciate the opportunity to play such a spectacular opponent in front of our loyal fans.”

This will mark the Celtics’€™ seventh game in Europe and second contest in Milan, having previously played in 2012. Olimpia Milano features Alessandro Gentile, Samardo Samuels and MarShon Brooks, who was selected 25th overall in the 2011 NBA draft out of Providence. Brooks also was part of the blockbuster deal in July 2013 that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets.

Tickets can be purchased beginning June 8 at ticketone.it.

The Celtics also will play a regular-season game in Mexico City next season as part of NBA Global Games 2015, which will feature additional games around the world, including:

· China: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Charlotte Hornets in Shenzhen on Oct. 11 and Shanghai on Oct. 14
· Brazil: Orlando Magic vs. Flamengo in Rio De Janeiro on Oct. 17
· Mexico: Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings in Mexico City on Dec. 3 (regular season)
· Additional games and locations will be announced at a later date

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Milan, NBA, NBA Global Games 2015
Celtics bring in a pair of UMass players for Wednesday pre-draft workouts 06.03.15 at 9:33 am ET
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WALTHAM — As pre-draft workouts continue, the Celtics are hosting another six players on Wednesday at their practice facility.

One day after working out four point guards, the Celtics are turning their focus to six big men, as it widely assumed they will be focused on bringing in a young impact forward/center to help with defense and rebounding in the paint.

Two of the six players scheduled Wednesday are from UMass. The six players scheduled to work out Wednesday are:

Kevin Capers –€“ Florida Southern (D-II)
Maxie Esho — UMass
Alpha Kaba — France
Cady Lalanne –€“ UMass
Larry Nance — Wyoming
T.J. Price €– Western Kentucky

Read More: Boston Celtics, UMass,
Brad Stevens details exactly what Celtics get out of pre-draft workouts 06.03.15 at 9:15 am ET
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Brad Stevens is in a good place right now.

The Celtics coach is coming off a season in which his team surprised everyone by making the playoffs, winning 15 of their final 21 games to make the postseason for the first time in the Stevens era.

Now, Danny Ainge and son Austin are bringing in players who could serve as reinforcements to a roster that was overhauled midway through the season, and it’s Stevens’ job to identify players they might want to scoop up with any of their four picks they have in the upcoming draft.

“There have been some guys that been through that I think could help, but there are also some guys that have been through that are pretty impressive [who play positions where] I think we have pretty good depth,” Stevens said. “So then it becomes a decision of do you draft a young guy and develop him at a position where you already feel pretty strong, or do you try to fill positional needs? Luckily that’s above me and I just run the workouts.”

That is somewhat unusual for an NBA head coach, as assistants are usually delegated to such tasks. But with Stevens, he prefers to be hands on and have some input into what he might be working with next year.

“I really like it,” Stevens said. “You get a chance to really interact with guys, meet them face to face, spend time with them, watch them go through tough things, watch them go through good things, and respond to both. It’s good. These guys [front office] have said it many times, and I totally agree with it: it’s not the end-all, be-all. These guys have watched these guys play for years in games, this year, so for me you can maybe go and watch film on some of these guys, and then the workout validates what you saw. Or maybe it doesn’t. So it is fun to have them in here.”

Tuesday was a day to focus on point guards, as the Celtics brought in five, including Boston College product Olivier Hanlan.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, NBA, NBA Draft
Austin Ainge walks fine line in pre-draft workouts 06.02.15 at 6:03 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Austin Ainge is walking a tightrope at this time of year.

It’s the time of year when the Celtics‘ director of player personnel has to watch what he says about every prospective draft pick that comes through the door of the team’s practice facility for pre-draft workouts.

On Tuesday, another four, all point guard prospects worked out for Brad Stevens, Ainge and his father Danny, showing off their skills. One of them, Olivier Hanlan, is very familiar to Boston and New England fans, as he played three seasons at Boston College. Another, Andrew Harrison has declared for the draft after two stellar seasons at Kentucky, including a national title game appearance in 2014 and run at immortality this spring before UK lost to Wisconsin in the national semis.

Also on hand was Louisville guard Terry Frazier and Tennessee’s Josh Richardson. Another, Corey Walden out of Eastern Kentucky suffered a minor hamstring injury early on and had to sit out most of it and another missed his flight because of weather issues.

But when asked his impressions, Ainge was coy because he has to be.

“When you guys ask me questions about the guys, I say like one positive sentence about everybody,” Ainge said. “Really, what else can I do? If I say anything negative, their agents will be mad at me. If I get too glowing, you guys [will write about it].”

Where does Ainge get his background info?

“We ask the players. Obviously, the [other NBA] teams won’t tell us. So we ask, ‘Hey, where did you work out last? Who was there? How’d they look?’ So we ask them. They’re allowed to tell the truth.

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Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics,
Danny Ainge admits luring big free agents to Boston ‘unlikely’ this summer 04.30.15 at 4:04 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Danny Ainge isn’t pulling any punches about his efforts to go after some big-time unrestricted free agents this summer. But he’s also be very, very realistic about his chances.

There is a good pool of free agents available this offseason around the league. And many of those free agents are big men, one of the pressing needs of the Celtics as they look to build for 2015-16. And on top of that, the Celtics will have a great deal of cap space to work with, even after offering Jae Crowder a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent.

But the unprecedented rise in the cap in the next two years, growing by as much as $20 million, has a down side, namely 29 other teams with the same expanded flexibility.

“I think free agency is hard,” Ainge said Thursday. “I think it’s unlikely but possible. So we’re going to go after any and everybody that we think is a significant player to upgrade our talent roster. And when I say upgrade our talent, you’ve got to be pretty good to upgrade our talent because we have good players. So, we’re going after all the top names on the list and see what happens.”

Names like LaMarcus Aldridge, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan are all scheduled to hit the market.

“I don’t think any of us can predict that. That’s good talk radio stuff but I think ultimately every player is different, unique,” Ainge said. “Some players look at the Celtics organization and tradition, and think it’s something special. Some don’t. Some prefer hot weather to cold weather but most players prefer good contracts and good opportunities to play and hopefully to win, in that order first in most players. We have to prove to people that we have the opportunities for them to be paid, to play, to reach their full potential and to win. I think Boston will be a good destination for some.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, free agents,
Danny Ainge to offer Jae Crowder qualifying offer, adds: ‘We need to have a busy summer, and we will’ 04.30.15 at 12:23 pm ET
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Danny Ainge speaks Thursday at the team practice facility in Waltham. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Danny Ainge speaks Thursday at the team practice facility in Waltham. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WALTHAM — The Celtics surprised a lot of people by finishing the season with a six-game winning streak, ending up with the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But the work to improve on that encouraging ending doesn’t stop with a four-game sweep at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Far from it.

Now, according to the team’s president of basketball operations, the hard work really begins. How does he and his staff go about improving upon a 40-42 mark through the NBA draft and added space under the salary cap?

“I feel like we need to have a busy summer and we will have a busy summer,” Danny Ainge said Thursday. “Hopefully, we can get some things accomplished that we need to. I think we need to upgrade our talent level on our team and at the same time, I’m very excited about a lot of the individuals that we have.

“Actually, all of the individuals I thought played the best basketball of their careers in a lot of cases. So, I’m excited about the players that we have. At the same time, I feel like we’re not at the same level as a team like Cleveland, and we found that out.”

Ainge confirmed one of his moves already on Thursday when he announced he will extend a qualifying offer to Jae Crowder. By extending a qualifying offer to Crowder, the Celtics would make him a restricted free agent.

The key to the summer will likely be how Ainge and his staff handle the extra spending space afforded by the expansion of the NBA salary cap. The Celtics currently have $40.4 million committed to salaries for 2015-16. The current cap number of $63 million is expected to grow to about $66 million next season but could explode to $87 million in 2017. The reason: A brand new nine-year, $24 billion TV deal.

But while the Celtics will have more money to spend, so too will the other 29 teams, creating tremendous cap competition this summer.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA,
Danny Ainge calls Kevin Love’s frustration ‘a little over the top,’ but ‘understandable’ 04.30.15 at 11:54 am ET
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Kelly Olynyk gets entangled with Kevin Love in Game 4 Sunday afternoon. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Kelly Olynyk gets entangled with Kevin Love in Game 4 Sunday afternoon. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

WALTHAM — Danny Ainge knows a little something about intense playoff basketball and the contact that is associated with it.

On Thursday, as he was wrapping up the past season with reporters at the team’s practice facility, Ainge had a degree of sympathy for Kevin Love, knocked out of the playoffs with season-ending surgery on his dislocated left shoulder.

After the game, Love called the play by Kelly Olynyk that resulted in his arm being dislocated from the socket a “bush league” play, adding that it was clearly intentional.

“I think that’s a little bit over the top,” Ainge said. “It’s understandable. The heat of the battle. I feel bad for Kevin Love because he’s waited a long time to get where their team is right now and now he doesn’t get a chance to play. I certainly don’t think Kelly did it on purpose.”

After reviewing it, the league suspended Olynyk one game next season, still less harsh than the two-game playoff suspension for J.R. Smith’s fist to the face of Jae Crowder.

“I don’t even think that that play would’ve been reviewed more than a foul had Kevin not gotten hurt. But because Kevin did get hurt, the league does evaluate those situations and I understand a little bit why they did it. There was a lot of pressure on Cleveland. They were losing J.R. Smith in the first couple of games in the next round and they have Kevin out for the playoffs now so I’m sure there was a lot of frustration in Cleveland. They wanted some justice and they scrutinized it and felt like Kelly gave it a little too much at the very end of that arm tangling. When someone gets hurt, you’re just under a little more scrutiny but I thought it was just a foul of two guys going for a loose ball.”

Read More: 2015 NBA playoffs, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kelly Olynyk
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