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Celtics reportedly offered Marcus Smart, picks for Nerlens Noel, No. 3 overall 06.23.15 at 12:40 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Celtics offered Marcus Smart and both of their first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 overall pick, an unnamed NBA executive told the Los Angeles Times.

Naturally, Philadelphia declined, since a Second Team All-Rookie point guard (Smart) and two non-lottery picks don’t equal a First Team All-Rookie center (Noel) and a high lottery pick.

Still, recent reports indicate the Celtics are aggressively shopping for a high lottery pick, and team president Danny Ainge admitted as much in Tuesday’s pre-draft meeting with the media. Ainge also confirmed nobody on his middling roster is untouchable in trade discussions — all of which could be a smokescreen for ulterior motives in Boston’s front office.

The asking price for picks as high as No. 3 has historically been either an All-Star caliber player or another high lottery pick and additional assets — neither of which the C’s currently possess.

There are countless reasons the Celtics would be interested in trading for both a rim-protecting center of Noel’s caliber and a No. 3 pick that would net the best non-center in the draft (Justise Winslow, D’Angelo Russell, et al.). Among those reasons could be a desire to package those assets for DeMarcus Cousins.

Of course, there are also reasons rival executives would want this non-deal leaked, including an attempt to smoke out the actual value of the packages discussed on both sides. Don’t forget: Every executive has an agenda over the next 48 hours.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA,
NBA draft prospect profile: France C Mouhammadou Jaiteh 06.23.15 at 10:39 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

MOUHAMMADOU JAITEH

Position: Center

Country: France (plays for Nantere in France’s LNB Pro A league)

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 247 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2014-15 stats: 22.5 minutes, 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds (in French league)

Scouting report: Jaiteh’s greatest attributes are associated with his physical ability. He’s got great size for a center and his length hints at his potential as a rim protector at the next level. On offense, the projected second-rounder still is developing his mid-range jumper, but he is active on the offensive glass and shows a willingness to body up defenders on the block.

While Jaiteh’s build is desirable, many scouts have noted his lack of leaping ability and lateral quickness, both defects on defense. When playing for his French team, Nantere, Jaiteh proved prone to bigger, more athletic big men on defense in the low block. Additionally, NBA execs wonder if Jaiteh’s post moves will evolve at the next level or simply stall in their developmental stage.

“At 6-11 and 250 pounds Jaiteh has the size to be a pure center,” Carl Berman of NetScouts said. “Right now he can rebound and really goes after it on the offensive boards. He doesn’t appear to be the most athletic player and has a lot of work to do on his entire offensive game. He does have a decent touch on hooks around the basket. However, his physicality and rebounding prowess combined with his size make him a second-round possibility in this year’€™s NBA draft.”

Notes: Jaiteh has said he does not intend to be a “draft-and-stash” player, instead expecting to contribute immediately to whichever team drafts him. Playing against Frapport in the Eurochallenge semifinal, Jaiteh had one of the finest performances of his career, tallying 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 30 minutes. His nickname around the European leagues is “Mam.”

Related articles:

SB Nation: Exploring the endless possibilities For NBA draft prospect Mouhammadou Jaiteh

Eurohopes: Can Mam Jaiteh be a first-rounder next June?

Metro: R.J. Hunter, Chris McCullough, Mouhammadou Jaiteh targets for Celtics in 2015 NBA draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Mouhammadou Jaiteh,
Report: Celtics ‘thinking big,’ potentially trying to move up in NBA draft 06.23.15 at 10:31 am ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

With two first-round picks, reports have surfaced around the possibility of Celtics‘ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge trying to move up in Thursday’s NBA draft. The Celtics currently hold the 16th and 28th picks in the first round, both making for huge bargaining chips around the league.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, a rival executive described the Celtics being “aggressive” and “thinking big” in potentially moving up in the draft. Reports circulated late last week about the Celtics possibly moving up to acquire Texas forward Myles Turner, who is expected to be picked in the lottery range before the Celtics first pick.

(It is worth mentioning, moving up in the draft can be a hard thing to do, which Ben Rohrbach wrote about here.)

Additionally, rumors have continued about a foot issue with potential top-five pick Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, causing him to slide in the first round. Cauley-Stein, a rim protector, is exactly what the Celtics have scoured the market for over the past two years since the departure of Kevin Garnett. Another potential target is Kristaps Porzingis, out of Latvia, who is graded by some as the top talent in the draft and would give the Celtics a true scoring option off the pick-and-roll with point guard Isaiah Thomas.

With an excess of cap space, the C’s could also be looking to move picks for an established NBA player. As speculation continues regarding the fate of DeMarcus Cousins, the Celtics remain a dark horse to acquire him if Kings’ ownership cuts the cord.

Read More: Danny Ainge, DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner
Report: Kings coach pushing for DeMarcus Cousins trade 06.23.15 at 8:57 am ET
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The Kings made it pretty clear over the past week they aren’t trading All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins, as owner Vivek Ranadive told USA TODAY that there’s “zero interest” in dealing him and general manager Vlade Divac told The Sacramento Bee, “That is not happening.” But …

New Kings coach George Karl is urging Divac and multiple players to help convince Ranadive that Cousins must go, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a development that all but ensures Karl and Cousins will not enter the 2015-16 NBA season on the same page.

We’ve discussed at length the relative merits of pursuing Cousins from a Celtics perspective, but they would have serious competition on the trade market, including the Lakers and their No. 2 overall pick.

Cousins’ agents Jarrin Akana and Dan Fegan have a contentious history with Karl, and Fegan has experience pushing for a high-profile center’s move to Los Angeles from the franchise that drafted him, as he helped orchestrate Dwight Howard‘s trade from Orlando.

Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, NBA, sacramento kings
NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky PG Andrew Harrison 06.23.15 at 7:14 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

ANDREW HARRISON

Position: Point guard

School: Kentucky

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 215 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2014-15 stats: 9.3 points, 3.6 assists, 37.8 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Harrison’s biggest strengths are measurables. Standing at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, he has the size and length to dominate smaller point guards on defense. Though he’s not the quickest point guard in the draft, Harrison can cause trouble in the lane by drawing lots of fouls. The projected second-rounder displayed improvement in his jump shot during his sophomore campaign after enduring criticism as a freshman.

One of scouts’ biggest concerns regarding Harrison and his twin brother Aaron surround their attitudes. Through interviews and on-court body language, the twins often give off an apathetic aura toward the game. More practically, Andrew is seen as turnover-prone. Last season, he committed 1.6 turnovers in just 25.5 minutes per game.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses, Harrison indicated that he was more concerned with improving his defense than his decision-making.

“My strength is mid-range jumper, getting to the rack and finding my teammates,” he said. “I just need to keep working on my 3 and my defense, really.”

Notes: A year after winning the national title, Harrison and his brother helped lead Kentucky to the brink of perfection, a 38-1 season record and a Final Four berth last season. Harrison led the Wildcats in assists, free throws and free throw attempts. He attempted 159 free throws, 15 more than the Wildcats’ next-highest player.

Related articles:

Sporting News: Harrison twins ‘excited’ to go separate ways in NBA draft, but should they be?

KentuckySports.com: ESPN’s Ford says Harrison twins didn’t show enough improvement in second UK season

Hoops Habit: SEC: The NCAA Tournament turned Andrew Harrison into an NBA player overnight

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Andrew Harrison,
NBA draft prospect profile: Texas C Myles Turner 06.22.15 at 5:33 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

MYLES TURNER

Position: Center

School: Texas

Age: 19

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 243 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-4

Key 2014-15 stats: 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 45.5 field goal percentage, 83.9 free throw percentage

Scouting report: With the size, shooting and shot-blocking that NBA teams will love, Turner has solid mechanics with room to develop even further, according to CBS Sports. His wingspan could help him become elite at the power forward position and, even at the beginning of his college campaign, he’d already had success “executing step-back jumpers, fadeaways and shown a great feel for the offensive game,” per NBAdraft.net. Turner also is great on defense and excels at protecting the rim. The 19-year-old has a real knack for shot-blocking, rebounding, free throw shooting and the face-up game as well.

“Our practices are very, very physical,” former Texas coach Rick Barnes told Bleacher Report. “The game just has to slow down for him. Players either play in the past, the present or the future. I told him, ‘You’re somewhere between the past and the present. You’ve got to start looking toward the future a little bit. You’ve got to start seeing ahead.’ … He wants to be really good. There’s no doubt about that. But he’s not a selfish kid at all. He’s doing just fine.”

The biggest concerns surrounding Turner are that he isn’t the best athlete in the draft and that the way he runs could make him prone to injury down the line. NBAdraft.net writes that he’s “had some difficulties with his hips related to growth” and that his legs look so stuff that it seems like he runs with a bit of a limp. This could affect his fluidity moving forward, or it may only be temporary. Turner, who likely will be selected in the top 10, still will need to add some weight to his frame and could work on his post scoring skills as well.

Notes: Turner was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and also was selected to both the All-Big 12 third team and the conference’s All-Newcomer team. The big man led the league in blocked shots with 89 while ranking third in free throw percentage and sixth in rebounding. Coming out of high school, Turner was the No. 2 prospecting the country, according to RecruitingNation.

Related articles:

ESPN: Being Texas’ Myles Turner isn’t easy

Hoops Hype: Myles Turner: ‘I try not to listen to the outside hype’

Bleacher Report: Myles Turner eager to flourish in ‘perfect situation’ with deep, seasoned Texas

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Myles Turner,
NBA draft prospect profile: Notre Dame SG Pat Connaughton 06.22.15 at 1:37 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

PAT CONNAUGHTON

Position: Shooting guard

School: Notre Dame

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 206 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2014-15 stats: 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 turnovers, 46.6 field goal percentage, 42.3 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: After an impressive senior season with the Irish, Connaughton continued to impress at the NBA scouting combine, proving his athleticism to teams that might be interested. His 44-inch max vertical at the combine was highest among all participants and tied for second highest of all time. More than just a strong shooter, the 22-year-old, who sunk about 40 percent of his last 400 3-pointers over the past two seasons, also is a tough and physical presence on the floor. Many of Connaughton’s possessions came on spot-ups, and per Draft Express, he scored 1.253 points per possession, which led the nation in total spot-up points. He has great rebounding ability, averaging 8.5 boards per 40 minutes, which is a tad less than some of the best wings in the draft class.

“We’ve had a lot of great athletes — student-athletes that were ambassadors and powerful personalities at Notre Dame — across football, basketball,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told Bleacher Report. “There’s no one more powerful than Pat Connaughton as far as how he’s represented, the role model he is, the ambassador he is.”

Expected to go in the latter part of the second round, Connaughton doesn’t have the ideal height for a shooting guard in the NBA, and he had trouble defending some larger players in the post this past season. He also doesn’t demonstrate exemplary lateral quickness.

Notes: Connaughton grew up in Arlington as a Celtics fan and worked out for the team on June 10. He went to high school at St. John’s Prep in Danvers and was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball), though he cut down to just basketball and baseball once he reached Notre Dame. Given his success as a pitcher, Connaughton was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft, but he informed MLB teams that basketball came first and that he’d return to Notre Dame for his senior season to chase his basketball ambitions.

In his final year with the Irish, Connaughton was named to the All-ACC third team and led Notre Dame in rebounding while coming in third in scoring.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Notre Dame two-sport star Connaughton is one of draft’s fiercest competitors

Celtics.com: Pat Connaughton puts baseball on hold to pursue NBA career

ESPN: Connaughton makes himself at home in Boston

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Pat Connaughton,
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