|Source: R.J. Hunter expected to sign with Celtics next week||07.21.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
The Celtics are expected to sign first-round pick R.J. Hunter to a contract early next week, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The Celtics have historically offered first-round picks the full 120 percent of the rookie salary scale, meaning the No. 28 overall pick is expected to receive a four-year, $5.86 million deal — roughly $860,412 more than the record-breaking deal second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed Monday. Hunter is expected to be a restricted free agent in 2019, when the Celtics can offer him a $3.37 million qualifying offer.
After going scoreless in his first two outings of summer league, Hunter averaged 16.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20 minutes over his final six games in Utah and Las Vegas, including a 22-point outburst against the summer league champion Spurs over the weekend.
It would follow that fellow first-round pick Terry Rozier would also have his contract in place early next week. C’s second-round pick Marcus Thornton will reportedly sign in Australia.
With the Jae Crowder signing and David Lee trade also reportedly expected next week, it appears the Celtics are done dealing, as this series of moves would eat their remaining cap space. Once Hunter, Rozier, Crowder and Lee are officially added to the roster, the Celtics will have 16 players under guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season, requiring at least one cut.
|Paul Pierce on Lakers: ‘There’s no way I could go there’||07.20.15 at 1:12 pm ET|
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce told The Boston Globe from Sunday night’s NBA Players Association awards show in Las Vegas. “I grew up a Laker fan, but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams … there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”
After spending 15 years in Boston and adding a 17th banner to the rafters of TD Garden in 2008, Pierce left with co-star Kevin Garnett to the Nets. Following one full season in Brooklyn, Pierce signed with the Wizards, which took him back to the playoffs, where he thrived. Despite rave reviews from his teammates, Pierce opted out of his contract and reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.
Pierce already has had a big impact on his new organization as he was part of the group that holed up with DeAndre Jordan in the center’s Houston home to keep him from honoring his verbal commitment to the Mavericks. Of his experience with the team so far, Pierce admits that it’s not what he expected.
“It’s been pretty wild,” Pierce said of convincing Jordan to remain with the Clippers. “I think that whole saga took a form and shade of its own. It got a lot bigger than it was supposed to be.
“I made my decision to be a Clipper. DeAndre changed his mind to be a Clipper.”
Pierce will fill the void at small forward left by Matt Barnes, who recently was traded to the Grizzlies. Last year Pierce averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as he helped lead the Wizards to a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|Source: Celtics sign Jordan Mickey for 4 years, $5 million||07.20.15 at 12:46 pm ET|
The Celtics have signed Jordan Mickey to a four-year, $5 million deal, according to a source, making the 33rd overall pick the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in NBA history.
The first two years of Mickey’s contract are guaranteed. Years 3 and 4 are team options.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward out of LSU averaged 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.1 minutes over eight summer league games, ranking among the leading rebounders and shot blockers in both Utah and Las Vegas.
In many ways, Mickey benefited from falling to the second round. C’s No. 28 overall selection R.J. Hunter is expected to sign a four-year, $5.86 million deal with three years guaranteed, a team option in Year 4 and a $3.38 million qualifying offer in restricted free agency in 2019, when Mickey will become an unrestricted free agent.
Granted, the year-over-year salary increases helped Mickey earn his status as the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in league history, but that distinction also illustrates how impressed the Celtics have been with the first of their two second-round selections, particularly since his deal will push the C’s to 16 guaranteed contracts.
“We thought, like many thought, he would probably be gone by the time we picked at 33,” Stevens told the media on draft night, “so we were really lucky to get Jordan.
“I think Jordan is a versatile athlete from a defensive standpoint. He can guard 4’s. He can switch a little bit. He’s a great shot-blocker when you look at his numbers for a smaller guy in height, but then you look at his length and his reach, and he’s really, really long, and gets off the floor extremely quickly. He’s one of those guys that probably shoots to about 16 or 17 feet right now, but can impact the game in a lot of different ways. Another good worker.”
Mickey and the Celtics could have reached a one-year deal at the rookie minimum of $525,093. He then would have been a restricted free agent next summer, potentially earning a big payday in 2016 a la K.J. McDaniels, who just signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Rockets one year after being drafted 32nd overall by the 76ers. Instead of agreeing on a more traditional second-round rookie contract (2-year minimum salary, 1-year guaranteed), Mickey received a heftier guaranteed deal over his first two seasons (roughly $2.4 million) while the Celtics maintained control for an extended period.
Mickey joins a crowded Celtics frontcourt that includes Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Perry Jones, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. The Celtics have yet to announce the Crowder signing and Lee trade, leaving roughly $6 million in cap space flexibility for the team to play with before finalizing the roster.
The Celtics will have to part ways with one of their guaranteed contracts prior to the start of the season. Because first-round picks Terry Rozier and Hunter have yet to officially sign, they are still eligible to be traded, as is James Young. Otherwise, the C’s would have to start considering trades involving a member of last year’s core.
|Marcus Smart dislocates 2 fingers in summer league game||07.17.15 at 6:36 am ET|
Marcus Smart dislocated two fingers on his right hand during the Celtics‘ summer league game Thursday night in Las Vegas, the team announced.
Midway through the second quarter, Smart was attempting to track down a rebound when he dove over Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh and landed on his hand. Smart immediately left the game for X-rays, which showed no break, and he was diagnosed with dislocations of his index and middle fingers.
Smart tweeted later: Thanks to everyone for the prayers thanks to the staff for all that they did to help just a minor set back for major comeback.
The 21-year-old Smart is preparing for his second season after being selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft. He averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 27 minutes in 67 games last season.
|Report: Celtics to waive backup PG Phil Pressey||07.15.15 at 11:30 am ET|
Pressey’s $947,276 deal would have become guaranteed had he remained on the roster through midnight on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old son of three-time NBA All-Defensive selection Paul Pressey averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes over 50 games this past season, his second since arriving in Boston as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri.
Pressey’s 36-minute averages of 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals are rather impressive, but his size (generously listed at 5-foot-11) and inability to shoot from the perimeter (25.7 career 3-point percentage) limited his impact on both ends of the floor despite above-average playmaking instincts.
The former Waltham High star became expendable when the C’s added first-round pick Terry Rozier to a point guard mix that also featured Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, but his work ethic and attitude could help him land an NBA job elsewhere.
|Adam Silver: NBA likely to change playoff seeding rules||07.15.15 at 8:56 am ET|
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that the league is likely to remove division records from playoff seeding, and the change probably will be finalized before the 2015-16 season.
As currently constituted, the division winners are guaranteed a top-four seed in the first round. The change would mean that the qualifying teams in each conference would simply be seeded one through eight according to their records.
“It wasn’t voted on yet,” Silver said following the NBA Board of Governor’s meetings in Las Vegas, “because we wanted all the owners to have an opportunity to go back and discuss that recommendation with their general managers and their coaches, and we’ll vote on it before the beginning of the season. It’s my expectation that that change will be adopted.”
Last season, the Blazers finished 51-31 and won the Northwest division. They had the sixth-best record in the Western Conference, but were the fourth seed in the conference playoffs.
Meanwhile, following the DeAndre Jordan saga, the free agency moratorium has been a topic of much discussion. Teams could agree to terms with free agents starting July 1, but were not permitted to actually sign contracts until July 8. In Jordan’s case, the moratorium allowed for the center to agree to a deal with the Mavericks, renege on the agreement and return to the Clippers.
According to Silver, the moratorium is likely to remain in the collective bargaining agreement, and Jordan did indeed act within his rights afforded by the agreement.
“I would say from a personal standpoint, it was not a great look,” Silver said. “There was a breakdown in the system to a certain extent. Teams come to rely on those assurances. … I’m not sure it’s [Jordan’s] proudest moment either, but, again, he was exercising a right that he appropriately has under the collective bargaining agreement.
“And what happens when teams can’t sign — especially the star players, and they’re building their rosters around them — it’s a holdup for a lot of other players in the league [to whom teams can’t make commitments],” the commissioner said.
Other topics of conversation at the Board of Governor’s meetings included the addition of a countdown clock to monitor the length of breaks between quarters and during timeouts so that they are consistent. The board also discussed possible manners of improving players’ on-court safety, such as adding a second escape lane in order to minimize player collisions with camera operators on the baselines.
|Celtics acquire Perry Jones III, pick from Thunder||07.14.15 at 3:45 pm ET|
The Celtics once again benefited from another team’s cost-saving machinations, acquiring Thunder forward Perry Jones III, Detroit’s 2019 second-round pick and cash from Oklahoma City in exchange for a protected 2018 second-round pick, the teams announced.
The deal reportedly saves OKC about $7 million in salary and luxury tax expenses while creating a $2.o4 million trade exception.
Meanwhile, the Celtics will audition the 23-year-old Jones for one season on that same $2.04 million salary before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2016. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Jones averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just 14.7 minutes over 43 games this past season. Bostonians probably best remember the Baylor product as one of several late first-round picks the C’s passed on in order to select Fab Melo in 2012.
The deal brings to mind last summer’s trade for Tyler Zeller, who the Celtics acquired along with Marcus Thornton for a conditional second-round pick in a cost-cutting move by the Cavaliers. Zeller played a similar role to Jones before starting for the C’s in 2014-15.
Even if the Celtics can get just one game close to his performance against the Clippers in the second game of this past season ‘ a 32-point, seven-rebound, three-assist night when OKC was missing Kevin Durant ‘ the trade will be worth the phone call to Sam Presti.
The deal theoretically brings the Celtics to the requisite 15 guaranteed contracts once Jae Crowder is officially signed and the David Lee trade is completed, which either means second-round pick Jordan Mickey won’t be earning a roster spot or more moves are coming down the pike. The latter scenario is more likely so early in the 2015-16 calendar.
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