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NBA Free Agent Rumors: 76ers guard Lou Williams set to test free agent market 06.18.12 at 4:19 pm ET
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While 76ers’ guard Lou Williams wants to remain in Philadelphia, he has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract. Williams, 25, chose to opt out in order to gauge his market. He was scheduled to make $6.39 million dollars this season, which would have been the last year of a 5-year, $25 million contract.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that interest in Williams is “significant” and he could be offered a contract in the “Thaddeus Young range.” Young, a backup forward for the 76ers, was given a 5-year deal worth about $43 million before the start of this season.

Williams averaged 11.5 points off the Sixers bench. He was the third highest scorer on the 22nd ranked Philadelphia offense.

Read More: 2012 NBA Free Agent Rumors, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young,
NBA Free Agent Rumors: Jason Terry wants long-term deal 06.18.12 at 3:28 pm ET
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Jason Terry could be ready to take flight from Dallas. (AP)

Mavericks’ guard Jason Terry, an integral part of the Mavericks 2011 NBA Championship run, is set to be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and has voiced his desire for a long term deal.

The 34-year-old was last a free agent in 2006 when he was quickly re-signed by the Mavericks to a six-year, $57 million contract. This time around Terry wants another multi-year contract, preferably with Dallas, but he also has said he’s willing to test the free agent market.

The Mavericks have been rumored to be interested in acquiring free agent superstar Deron Williams if he opts out of his contract. If that’s the case then Dallas most likely will be unable to sign Terry to a long-term deal if they want to land Williams. If they can’t sign the point guard then they may choose to sign players to one-year contracts in order to prepare for next year’s free agent class that includes Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Terry wasn’t interested in that scenario.

“I won’t be here,” Terry said. “You can count on that. If they’re doing that, you won’t see the Jet on the runway in Dallas.”

Terry switched agents recently hiring Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong from the Wasserman Group after cutting ties with Dan Fegan

Read More: 2012 NBA Free Agent Rumors, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Vanderbilt C Festus Ezeli 06.18.12 at 1:27 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Nigerian-born Festus Ezeli has NBA size and strength but is still learning the game. (AP)

FESTUS EZELI

Postion: Center

School: Vanderbilt

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 264 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-SEC second team (coaches)

Key 2011-12 stats: 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 53.9 FG%, 23.2 minutes

What he brings: Ezeli has the appropriate height and a monster wingspan that makes him the perfect fit for center at the next level. Defensively he commands the post, using his length to contest shots, his strength to hold his own and his lateral quickness to rotate from side to side effectively. On offense he has simple post moves and is a decent finisher at the rim.

Despite having the size to play the center position in the NBA, Ezeli lacks the athleticism to have a big-time impact on a game. The 22-year-old native of Nigeria doesn’t appear to have much of an upside on offense with a high turnover rate and a poor rebounding touch. He also finds himself in foul trouble too often, lacking a game-to-game consistency.

Ezeli could be a solid player off the bench, bringing in a toughness and physical play that could set the tone in a game. His offense needs improvement, but defensively he’s ready to be effective off the bench.

Where the Celtics could get him: Ezeli is certainly within range for the Celtics as a likely late-first-round/early-second-round pick. He could help shore up a Boston bench lacking quality big men.

Notes: Ezeli was suspended for six games at the start of last season for an NCAA violation (accepting a meal and hotel room from a booster). Then he injured his knee (sprained MCL and PCL) in a preseason practice and ended up missing a total of 10 games. … Ezeli moved from Nigeria to California to live with an uncle in 2004, and it was then that he started playing basketball. He chose Vanderbilt over Boston College, UConn and Harvard.

Recent articles:

NBAdraft.net: Festus Ezeli interview

Sports Illustrated: ‘How did I get here?’

SportingNews.com: Festus Ezeli makes Vanderbilt whole, an SEC challenger

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Ezeli’s senior season at Vanderbilt.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Festus Ezeli,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Campbell PF Eric Griffin 06.17.12 at 1:35 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Eric Campbell has NBA athleticism, as evidenced by his dunking ability. (Bennett Scarborough/GoCamels.com)

ERIC GRIFFIN

Position: Power forward

School: Campbell

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 200 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big South first team

Key 2011-12 stats: 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 61 FG%, 30.3 minutes

What he brings: Griffin is a high-flier with the kind of athleticism that wows NBA scouts. He is a long power forward who uses his length, quickness and supreme leaping ability to make highlight-reel plays at and around the rim. The 22-year-old has become a solid offensive post presence with a knack for establishing good position against stronger players and finishing with some basic, but effective moves. On defense, Griffin is mostly a shot-blocker who rotates nicely as well.

At the next level, the Campbell product will need to add bulk to his lanky frame and learn more versatile post moves. His strong work ethic is a positive to many scouts who see his raw athleticism and talent as something special. The biggest knock on Griffin is that he is only above-average in one aspect of his game, finishing at the rim. He will need to improve his all-around play to have an impact as something more than a spark off the bench in the NBA.

Where the Celtics could get him: The Celtics ended up with little to show for the first-round pick they used on high-flying but inexperienced Gerald Green in 2005. Griffin enters the draft older than Green was, but he’s still raw. He won’t cost as much — he’ll likely be around when the Celtics pick in Round 2 — so the C’s will have to decide if he’s worth that risk.

Notes: Griffin averaged career-high numbers in minutes (30.3), points (15.7) and rebounds (8.6) this past season and compiled 12 double doubles. … He attended two junior colleges, Hiwassee in Tennessee and Garden City in Kansas, before transferring to Campbell. … Griffin is looking to become the first Campbell product ever to play in the NBA.

Recent articles:

Slam Online: NBA pre-draft tour: Eric Griffin workout

Bleacher Report: Future NBA player Eric Griffin an inspiration for anyone who’s ever been cut

GoCamels.com: Q&A with senior forward Eric Griffin

Videos: Here’s a couple of impressive dunks from Griffin vs. North Carolina A&T.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Eric Griffin,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Texas A&M SF Khris Middleton 06.17.12 at 7:15 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Khris Middleton might be able to provide an offensive spark off the bench for an NBA team. (AP)

KHRIS MIDDLETON

Position: Small forward

School: Texas A&M

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 215 pounds

Achievements: 2011 All-Big 12 second team, 2011 USBWA All-District VII, 2011 NABC All-District 8 second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 13.2 points, 5.o rebounds, 2.2 assists, 41.5 FG%, 28.8

What he brings: Middleton, who left school a year early, is a dynamic scorer who is still growing into his lanky frame. He’s a great jump shooter, with the ability to catch and shoot as well as shoot off the dribble. The small forward has a soft touch, is a solid passer, has a creative offensive game that sometimes even seems unorthodox, and rarely strays from the team’s offensive system. The 20-year-old is unselfish, seems very coachable and still has solid upside.

Despite being creative offensively, his lanky frame is still a problem when he encounters physical opponents. He struggles at times finishing around the rim and has a hard time fighting double teams. Defensively he’s middle of the pack, with on-ball defense being his biggest defensive weakness.

While his mediocre defense might not fit with Doc Rivers‘ defense-first philosophy, his ability to be coached will be attractive to the Celtics and his scoring ability could be a nice spark off the C’s bench.

Where the Celtics could get him: Middleton is pegged for the second round.

Notes: Middleton had surgery this past season to repair a partially torn meniscus and then re-injured it, forcing him to miss a total of 12 games.

Recent articles:

Columbia (M0.) Daily Tribune: A&M’s Middleton no longer a surprise

Video: Here’s Middleton participating in a pre-draft workout in Chicago.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Khris Middleton,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke PF/C Miles Plumlee 06.16.12 at 7:55 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Miles Plumlee has impressed with his athleticism and effort but not his production. (AP)

MILES PLUMLEE

Position: Power forward/center

School: Duke

Age: 23

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 252 pounds

Achievements: 2011 All-ACC Tournament second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 61.0 FG%, 20.5 minutes

What he brings: Plumlee is a strong, physical forward who is physically ready for the NBA. The athleticism he has for his size is impressive. He can run the floor well and works extremely hard. He also became a stronger rebounder in his senior season. Defensively, Plumlee improved in his senior campaign as well, showing increased strength combined with his already impressive lateral quickness.

While his size is attractive to NBA scouts, he is very raw offensively and has had a hard time finding any consistency in his game. His numbers are not that impressive, though his senior season was by far his best. He is looked at more as a big body and a project than a player that can come in and have any type of an immediate impact on an NBA game.

Plumlee’s tenacity and supreme work effort is a desired trait by NBA scouts. Doc Rivers would love a guy who can mimic the same intensity Kevin Garnett does. Plumlee, however, needs a lot of coaching in order to become a consistent NBA player.

Where the Celtics could get him: Plumlee is expected to go in the mid-to-late second round, although his strong pre-draft workouts might boost his stock. The C’s would need to be convinced he shows enough promise to be an upgrade over Greg Stiemsma or Ryan Hollins.

Notes: Plumlee teamed with his two younger brothers at Duke: Mason Plumlee, who is a year behind Miles, and Marshall Plumlee, who is a rising sophomore. The two older Plumlees played on Duke’s 2010 national championship team. … Plumlee reportedly recorded a 41-inch vertical leap at a pre-draft workout, placing him in elite company for big men.

Recent articles:

TheACC.com: Miles Plumlee realizes ‘you’ve got to make the most of it’

The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.): Miles Plumlee, Duke’s lone senior, is intent on closing strong

Video: Here’s Plumlee going through a pre-draft workout in Chicago.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Miles Plumlee,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UNC C Tyler Zeller 06.16.12 at 4:38 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Tyler Zeller is expected to be a reliable but unspectacular NBA center. (AP)

TYLER ZELLER

Position: Center

School: North Carolina

Age: 22

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 250 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America second team (AP, Sporting News, NABC, USBWA), 2012 ACC Player of the Year, 2012 Academic All-American, 2011 All-ACC second team, 2011 Academic All-American

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 55.3 FG%, 28.2 minutes

What he brings: Zeller fits the mold of an NBA center and along with his size he has shown solid athleticism and an ability to run the court smoothly. He has shown to have an effective low-post game offensively and has a strong right-handed jump hook that is his go-to move.  Zeller has the speed and leaping ability to be a great pick-and-roll big man. He has also shown to be a good rebounder and solid shot-blocker.

Despite fitting the NBA center mold he isn’t strong enough to translate that size into success yet. He is too easily pushed around down low at times on both sides of the ball. His awareness both offensively and defensively isn’t the greatest. Zeller also is prone to turnovers.

Zeller would be a good fit in a fast-paced offense because of his speed and athleticism. However, in halfcourt sets he bogs down an offense. He needs to increase his offensive awareness as well as add strength.

Where the Celtics could get him: Zeller is considered to be a mid-to-low-end lottery pick, so the Celtics would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: Zeller’s brother, 6-foot-11 Cody Zeller, had an impressive freshman season at Indiana in 2011-12. Another brother, Luke Zeller, played at Notre Dame and now plays in the NBA’s D-League. … Zeller broke his left arm early in his freshman season but returned late in the season to help North Carolina win the 2009 national championship.

Recent articles:

USA Today: Tyler, Cody Zeller carry on basketball family tradition

Charlotte News & Observer: UNC’s Tyler Zeller takes tough loss with faith

New Orleans Times Picayune: Hornets take a good look at draft prospect Tyler Zeller

Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Zeller’s senior season.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Tyler Zeller,
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