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Report: Danny Ainge ‘definitely wants to do something’ on trade market, Jahlil Okafor best bet 07.16.16 at 12:04 pm ET
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Feb 28, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) shoots over Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9)  during second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 130-116. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) could still be a big trade target for the Celtics. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

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. 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jahlil Okafor, NBA
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
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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. 

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Read More: 2016 Summer League, abdel nader, Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown
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
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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.

Click here for the box score

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.

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Read More: 2016 Summer League, abdel nader, Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown
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
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James Young speaks to reporters before heading out for his third straight Summer League season. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

James Young speaks to reporters before heading out for his third straight summer league season. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

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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Read More: 2016 Summer League, Boston Celtics, Dancing Bear, Guerschon Yabusele
Celtics release full Summer League roster 07.01.16 at 11:34 am ET
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Jaylen Brown speaks to reporters in Waltham for the first time. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jaylen Brown will be getting his first taste of NBA action in Summer League. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WALTHAM – While Danny Ainge and the front office staff is furiously trying to build their roster for next season as free agency is officially underway, the Celtics have set one roster. The group that will head out and compete in the two Summer Leagues were announced Friday. 

2016 Draft Picks Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Ben Bentil, Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader will join current Celtics Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and James Young as members of the team’s Utah Jazz and Las Vegas Summer League squads.

Young, the 17th overall pick of Boston in 2014, sticks out on this list as he is the only two-year veteran. But at 20 years, 11 months, he’s still the third-youngest on the roster. 

They will be joined on the roster by 2015 Celtics second round draft pick Marcus Thornton, free agents Malcolm Miller and Corey Walden, who both appeared on the 2015 Celtics Training Camp roster, and JayVaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou, a pair of Villanovans, neither of whom played on this year’s national championship squad. Pinkston played this past season for the Maine Red Claws. 

The Celtics continued Summer League practices Friday in Waltham. The team leaves Sunday for Salt Lake City. 

The Celtics’ first game in the Utah Summer League will be Monday, July 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics’ three-game schedule in Utah continues with match-ups against the host Utah Jazz on July 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET and the San Antonio Spurs on July 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Beginning on July 4, all Celtics games for Utah Summer League will be televised on CSN New England.

The Celtics will then travel to Nevada for the Vegas Summer League and compete in three preliminary round games from July 9-12 before being seeded in a tournament that starts on July 13 and concludes with the Championship Game on July 18. Their first game is on Saturday, July 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET against the Chicago Bulls.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz Summer League, Vegas Summer League,
Isaiah Thomas: ‘Just hope we get a few more pieces. I think that’s what we need’ 06.30.16 at 7:42 pm ET
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ROXBURY — Whether it’s Kevin Durant, Al Horford or Dwight Howard, Isaiah Thomas is just hoping Danny Ainge can work his magic to improve his team’s chances of getting past the first round and contend for a title. 

“I just hope we get a few more pieces. I think that’s what we need,” Thomas said Thursday while speaking to kids on a Celtics CommUNITY stop at the Roxbury YMCA.

“I think that would be the next steps for us, and then we go from there. I’ve got a lot of trust in Danny and those guys in the front office because that’s their job, that’s what they do. And they know what they’re getting themselves into. So I’m just trying to do my part with telling people how special Boston is. And then hopefully they listen.”

Despite a report from ESPN’s Marc Spears that a source indicates Durant has nearly made up his mind to return to Oklahoma City, the Celtics will meet with Durant’s representatives on Saturday.

“I don’t know if you can say anything to convince him. He’s his own man,” said Thomas. “I don’t know if he even has his own decision already and he just wants to hear people out. But we just have to be as real as possible. He’s a fan of the game. He knows the game of basketball. He’s talked to me about how exciting it is to watch us on NBA LeaguePass and things like that. So he knows. And we’re just going to do what we can to try to seal the deal. And hopefully we can get in his ear. And maybe he’s a Celtic. Maybe he’s not. But we’re going to try. And I’m going to try.”

Thomas left the YMCA to head back to Waltham to meet with Danny Ainge and the Celtics to see if he could be of any further assistance in a last-ditch effort. 

“It’s a crazy feeling just because years ago that didn’t even come close,” Thomas said. “I was worried about making the team the next year. So it’s a good feeling knowing that they I guess trust my word or anything, and they come to me for things that they need or they want me to do. Knowing that you have trust in the organization, that’s a great feeling.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA free agency, Al Horford, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas
Marcus Smart knows he has to improve his jumper: ‘Everybody knows it. I know it’ 06.29.16 at 11:38 am ET
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Apr 22, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) shoots for three points against Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) during the fourth quarter in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart showed signs of improving his jumper last season. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM – Summer is a time for rest and relaxation for many veterans in the NBA. 

But Marcus Smart, entering his third season, is taking a different approach. 

For the first time since his rookie season, he heads into the summer months fully healthy and ready to improve his game, and that means getting offensive. 

Everyone knows Smart is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. As a matter of fact, Brad Stevens considers it a luxury that he can bring Smart off the bench on occasion to replace Avery Bradley and there’s little to no drop off in “on-ball” defense. 

But it’s the offensive side that’s been a major struggle. Smart was known as an inconsistent jump shooter at Oklahoma State but considered a force who could get to the basket. In the NBA, it’s been a bit of a different story, as teams have forced him into jump shots. 

In his rookie year, Smart had respectable 3-point shooting numbers, converting 91-of-272 from beyond the arc for a 33.5 percent rate. But this past season, his numbers fell off drastically, as he went through long droughts of poor shooting, falling to 25.3 percent, an alarming number for a guard in the NBA. 

So when asked Tuesday during his camp at Brandeis what he might be focused on improving, he didn’t hesitate. 

“My shooting. Everybody knows it. I know it. I’ve been working really hard on it, and my conditioning,” Smart said. 

During one five-game stretch from March 21-31, Smart missed all 16 attempts from beyond the arc. But there was signs late in the season that he was figuring things out. 

There was the stunning win at Golden State on April 1, when he connected for a key three in the fourth quarter. He went 4-for-6 from long distance in a late season game against the Hawks. And he was 3-for-6 in the series opener in Atlanta in the playoffs. He was 5-for-12 from 3-point range in wins in Games 3 and 4. 

Now, Smart is committed to continuing that momentum. 

“It’s been good actually. I’ve been putting in a lot of work and just trying to get better, so, so far, so good. It’s been good,” Smart said. 

When he’s not working on his shot, Smart has been working with kids, showing the organization that he has the type of skills needed to make it as a leader in Boston. Smart is running his Boston YGC camp this week in Waltham at Brandeis.  

“It feels good. I just got done with my Dallas camp, and the kids there – how little I was, I used to run around, parents telling me you’ve got too much energy,” Smart said. “Just wait until you get older and you’ll see how much energy you have. And then to come here and see the kids, it’s just incredible.

“I’m actually doing another one in the Canary Islands. So that’s a blessing for me. Not many people can say I had a camp in the Canary Islands, outside of the States, only in your second year. So that’s incredible to me and I’m ecstatic about it. I can’t wait.

“The first thing that goes through my mind is this was me about ten years ago. I remember going to camps and seeing an NBA player and my eyes lit up. It’s just a good feeling to be able to put that type of excitement on the kids’ faces. I just tell them just keep working, anything’s possible. You don’t have to be biggest, strongest or athletic guy to make it. You’ve just got to work hard.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, YGC Camp,
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