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Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘I just don’t think that Boston has enough’ to acquire top pick 06.25.14 at 10:16 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics and the NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Celtics hold the No. 6 and 17 picks in Thursday’s draft, but the C’s reportedly are interested in acquiring the top overall pick from the Cavaliers.

“If Boston moves up in the draft it’s to get the player they want,” Mannix said. “And I think there are a couple of cornerstone players still available in [Andrew Wiggins] and [Jabari Parker] that can change the shape of a franchise. I don’t think Boston has abandoned the pursuit of Kevin Love by any stretch.

“Cleveland, really since they won the lottery, has let teams know that if you’ve got an offer for the No. 1 pick, we’re willing to listen to it. David Griffin, the GM out there, has been reluctant to trade it, but certainly he’s been fielding offers.

“I just don’t think that Boston has enough. ‘€¦ I just think it’s a long shot at best that the Celtics are able to get in that position.”

If the Celtics were to obtain the top pick, Mannix said general manager Danny Ainge would be deciding between Wiggins and Parker after Joel Embiid‘s stock fell following a foot injury.

“Danny has had a thing for Jabari Parker for a while. He scouted him extensively,” Mannix said. “The Celtics think that he can come into the NBA and be a ready-made scorer immediately at either forward spot when he gets there.

“Andrew Wiggins, I just see teams having a hard time passing him up with the top overall pick. I thought that he would’ve been a tough call for Cleveland if Joel Embiid were healthy. I just think Wiggins, even though he’s got some issues with his aggressiveness and he’s going to have to polish the game once he gets to the pros, the games you saw him play at Kansas, when he was on he was spectacular. He’s a two-way player, can defend multiple positions already.

“I just see him being the biggest star in this draft, and I include Joel Embiid in that mix.”

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Jeff Goodman on MFB: ‘I don’t know if Boston takes [Joel Embiid] if he slips to No. 6′ 06.20.14 at 2:20 pm ET
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ESPN basketball reporter Jeff Goodman joined Middays with MFB to talk about the NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the MFB udio on demand page.

Goodman reported Thursday that Kansas center Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his foot, an injury that could drop him from the top three to anywhere in the top 10 in next Thursday’s draft. Embiid could be available to the Celtics at No. 6, but Goodman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the C’s passed him up.

“I don’t know if Boston takes him if he slips to No. 6,” Goodman said. “He’s got the back issues, which is a concern, and now he’s got the foot issue that could put him on the shelf for the entire season this year. It would be tough for teams to take a shot on him because frankly if you’re a GM and you do that you get crucified if this guy isn’t able to play and be healthy throughout the early part of his NBA career.”

Added Goodman: “This is a big guy who weighed in at 270 pounds last I was told at a workout. A foot injury is significant. Listen, Yao Ming‘s career ended with a foot injury, a similar injury, and big guys are troublesome. In conjunction with the back issues, which is something that’s going to need to be certainly watched throughout his career, I just think it’s too much in a draft that is pretty good at the top.”

Goodman said if he were Celtics general manager Danny Ainge he would not take his chances with Embiid given his injury risk and the strength of the draft.

“If No. 6 were last year I would probably do it,” Goodman said. “No. 6 this year is going to be a good player. Not a franchise player, but if you evaluate correctly, the No. 6 pick could be a good No. 2 guy on your team. I think you take that and run with it if you’re confident in that player.” Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA mock draft roundup: Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh popular potential Celtics selections 06.04.14 at 11:58 am ET
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Just three weeks from Thursday, the Celtics will have some important decisions to make regarding their future. The June 26 NBA draft is quickly approaching. And with pre-draft workouts in full swing, the rumors and predictions surrounding each team are growing.

Kevin Love became the story in Boston this week after his surprise visit to the city over the weekend. But what can’t be ignored is the arrival of some of the top college players in the country for the Celtics‘ workouts in Waltham this week.

The C’s have the No. 6 and 17 picks in this year’s draft. While many fans would like to see Boston trade one — or both — of these picks for a star addition such as Love, there are some names gaining traction in mock drafts as potential Celtics selections.

No. 6 — There’s no question the Celtics frontcourt could use a boost. And of the 13 mock drafts reviewed, nine of them expect the C’s to address that concern by selecting either Kentucky’s Julius Randle or Indiana’s Noah Vonleh.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Randle is predicted to fall to the Celtics in five mock drafts, including one by CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish. Parrish writes: “Think of all of the great freshmen who have played at Kentucky, then understand Randle recorded more double-doubles [24] this past season than any of them. His upside isn’t that of [Andrew Wiggins] or [Joel Embiid]. But Randle still projects as a possible future All-Star.”

Four mock drafts have Boston selecting the 6-foot-9, 247-pound Vonleh. A Haverhill native, Vonleh is not a finished product after just one year at Indiana, but he is considered by some to be a rim-protector with the ability to shoot. The Sports Network’s Jim Brighters writes: “The Celtics seems to have a glut of big men with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green, but the reality of this slot is that Vonleh is the best available player. Boston needs help shooting and maybe even a replacement for Rajon Rondo, if Danny Ainge moves him. Vonleh’s body needs work, but there are a lot of intangibles in his lean frame. Truthfully, this Indiana product is not that far from being ready, as he has a versatile game.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘Kevin [Love] knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston’ 06.03.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics and Kevin Love. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Love’s name has sparked trade rumors since the power forward made it clear that he does not plan to re-sign with Minnesota after next season. The Celtics are one of those teams that appear to be interested, which is why Mannix said it’s no coincidence he was spotted in Boston this past weekend.

“I think it’€™s worth getting excited about,” Mannix said. “I think that Kevin knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston. I grew up there, I love the town, but nobody vacations in Boston this time of year. The guy just finished a long season, why wouldn’t he go home to Washington state or go back to Southern California to take a break? I think there was a reason for that trip.

“Look, he’€™s made it clear through his representatives to Minnesota that he has no intentions of re-signing there after next season. They’€™re going to opt out of the contract and they’€™re going to look elsewhere for better opportunities. … I don’€™t think it happens before the draft, but sometime this offseason I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Love is moved.”

Mannix said he doesn’t expect Love to be dealt before the draft due to “salary cap ramifications.” But, he said Love’s trip to Boston was meant to “put a little more pressure on Minnesota to make a move.”

“I think there’€™s a subliminal message there. He’€™s putting it right in Flip Saunders‘€™ face,” Mannix said. “Look, Flip reacted to it somewhat negatively. … I don’€™t think they were entirely pleased with Kevin’€™s trip to Boston, the fanfare that it received. I guess if he wanted to he kind of could’ve flown under the radar, but he was at moments pause taking pictures with people, showing up at Red Sox games, taking a picture with Rajon Rondo, bumping into Rajon Rondo in the stadium. What are the odds that was a coincidence?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘If Kevin Love wants to win, Boston is not the place to go right now’ 06.03.14 at 10:15 am ET
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ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss Kevin Love, the Celtics and the NBA Finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Love was spotted in Boston this past weekend on a tour of the city that included a trip to Fenway Park for Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays game. The Celtics have the assets to trade for Love, who reportedly wants out of Minnesota to play for a contender, but Smith said the odds are against Love ending up in Boston.

“Anything is possible, you can’€™t rule it out,” Smith said. “Danny Ainge has pulled off some heists in the past, we all know that. Not everybody is his friend like Kevin McHale was when he was in Boston and gift-wrapped Kevin Garnett. Regardless, you never know what he can pull off.

“In the end, however, Kevin Love says he wants to be with a contender. He mentioned Chicago, he mentioned Golden State. Boston simply doesn’t fall into that equation at this particular moment in time. It’€™s not something that I believe is plausible. … The Boston Celtics at this juncture are in a rebuilding mode and simply not good enough. If Kevin Love wants to win, Boston is not the place to go right now.”

What makes the Celtics worthy suitors for Love is their bevy of draft picks over the next five years thanks in large part to their blockbuster trade that sent Paul Pierce and Garnett to the Nets last summer. However, Smith sees Love as worth no more than “a first-round pick and a decent player or two on your roster.”

Love’s trip to Fenway on Sunday was capped off by a brief exchange with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Acquiring Love to play with Rondo would undoubtedly make the Celtics a better team, but, according to Smith, not good enough to contend for a title. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics’ draft lottery history revisited 05.20.14 at 1:40 pm ET
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The Celtics will take part in the NBA draft lottery for the 10th time in team history on Tuesday night, coming in with the fifth-best odds (10.3 percent) at landing the top pick in the June 26 draft. Here is a look at how the C’s have fared since the ping pong balls were instituted in 1985.

1986: The Celtics won 67 games, went 40-1 at home and won their 16th NBA title in 1986, and then they landed the No. 2 pick in the draft courtesy of the Seattle SuperSonics. The C’s traded Gerald Henderson for Seattle’s 1986 first-round pick, and the Sonics finished the 1986 campaign with the fifth-worst record in the league.

The Celtics drafted University of Maryland star Len Bias with the second overall pick. Bias was heralded as a potential star who could preserve the C’s run as an NBA power with the end of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish‘s careers in sight, but those hopes ended tragically two days later when Bias died of a cocaine overdose.

1994: The Celtics finished with the ninth-worst record in the NBA following a 32-50 season and didn’t move from their position after the lottery, landing the No. 9 pick in the draft. Boston used that pick to select North Carolina center Eric Montross. Montross played just two of his eight NBA seasons with the Celtics.

1997: The 1997 draft lottery is one that lives in infamy for many Celtics fans. The C’s finished with the worst record in franchise history and the league’s second-worst mark at 15-67, but they lost out on the Tim Duncan sweepstakes by finishing third in the lottery. Boston also got the No. 6 pick from a trade with the Mavericks, who finished with the sixth-worst record.

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