|10 trades worth the Celtics’ while: Part 3||01.08.15 at 3:53 pm ET|
A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team — something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career (and now once again by trading Rajon Rondo). Here are some trades that make sense for the mess that is the Boston Celtics. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is part three.
In part two we looked at the idea of re-swapping Jeff Green and Kendrick Perkins, the idea being that Boston could add a young player like Jeremy Lamb while not having to possibly pay Green next season (since Perkins is an expiring contract). A deal like this makes sense, but in all likelihood would never actually happen. Green remains the subject of part three, but this time there’s some actual traction to the idea. Here’s the proposal:
Marc Stein of ESPN.com is reporting this deal is being discussed, and Zach Lowe of Grantland.com tweeted that there had been three-way trade discussions that would have landed Green in Memphis in a deal that also involved the Cavs. Now that Cleveland landed Timofey Mozgov from Denver, they likely have no incentive for the trade talks anymore, meaning Boston and Memphis would have to work a deal straight up (or find another trade partner to create a three-way deal with).
It’s safe to assume that the reason this deal has only been talked about, but has not yet happened, is that Ainge is asking for too much in return. Ainge likely is set on getting either a first-rounder or Kosta Koufos (the young center that would have gone to the Cavs in the three-way) in exchange for his best player now that Rondo’s gone. That’s not going to happen.
Either this deal is going to fall apart, or Ainge is going to lower his standards. It should be the latter. Rondo only commanded one first-round pick on the market — and a late one at that — so there’s no way Green is worth that high of a pick to any team. Ainge should shift his focus to trying to gain a couple of second-rounders before he has so settle for just one. He would be able to acquire the Grizzlies second-round pick in this upcoming draft if he acts quickly, and then barter for another one a couple of years down the line to be included. That’s a fair asking price.
Prince simply plays the role of Perkins in the Oklahoma City trade from part two. His expiring contract means there is no way he can count against the salary cap next season, whereas Green has the option to opt in for $9.2 million. In addition, Prince makes only $7.7 million this season. The $1.5 million difference would save Boston just under $1 million this season — hey, every little bit counts when you’re in a rebuild. But more importantly, Ainge has to stop overvaluing what has once again become a very inconsistent Green and get a deal like this done to continue moving in the direction he has already committed to.
|10 trades worth the Celtics’ while: Part 2||01.07.15 at 8:40 pm ET|
A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team — something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career (and now once again by trading Rajon Rondo). Here are some trades that make sense for the mess that is the Boston Celtics. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is part two.
Part 1 of this series involved sending Rondo to the Kings, that obviously didn’t happen. But in the time since, Rondo has been shipped out West and the Celtics have begun to fall apart. No more “build around Rondo” arguments exist, which means the direction of the team is clear: Any trade Ainge makes will either create cap space or add assets.
Here’s a proposal that helps that direction:
THUNDER GET: Jeff Green and a future second-round pick
Yes, Perkins and Green were swapped for each other in 2011, and obviously that has not worked out as planned for either side. It would be humbling to see Ainge and Sam Presti (the general manager in Oklahoma City) admit their wrongs and swap these players back, and it makes sense now in 2015.
The Thunder just added Dion Waiters from the Cavs, which tells us a couple of things about them:
1. They are buyers
This is good in the sense that Presti could be interested in Green. With the emergence of Steven Adams and the small-ball philosophy of the league, Perkins is almost valueless in Oklahoma City. Adding Green would not only provide the Thunder with another starter/sixth-man to go along with Waiters, but with Kevin Durant hobbled this season, Green could provide spot starts for Durant throughout the regular season to help the team into the playoffs.
2. Lamb is no longer needed there
The UConn product has barely been playing of late, but with Waiters in town, Lamb’s role is pretty much diminished. Using him as a piece to help acquire Green makes total sense for Presti given Lamb’s demotion. Lamb is a nice prospect too — really, he’s the reason the Celtics do this deal. Boston is a place Lamb could have some value. The former lottery pick would be another asset in Ainge’s pile that is so often referred to.
Boston may need to use a second-round pick to sweeten the deal for the Thunder, but it would be worth it to shed Green’s contract for Perkins’ contract — one which we know will expire at the end of this season, whereas Green has a player option — as well add Lamb to the mix. The players’ familiarity with the organizations, including Lamb going to school in the New England area, only helps this whole deal fall into place.
|Celtics Power Rankings||01.07.15 at 2:32 pm ET|
It’s a new year, and time for a new gimmick. I got sick of writing about the same five teams for my Power and Sour rankings, so I have decided to switch it up. Instead, I will rank the entire roster of our hometown squadron, the Boston Celtics. These rankings are based on gut feelings and convenient statistics. If you disagree, which if you are a regular WEEI commenter you will, please sound off at the bottom of the page. If that doesn’t feel like a enough of a personal attack, please yell at me on Twitter @SPackGuy.
Honorable mention: Tim Frazier
I love me some D-League, and especially some Maine Red Claws. Frazier is easily the best player stashed up in Maine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a 10-day contract later in the season.
15. Gerald Wallace
Averaging seven minutes per game and sounds like a didgeridoo.
14. Jameer Nelson
13. Brandan Wright
12. Jae Crowder
Small sample size, but I do like Crowder’s hairdo and his defensive intensity. Given Wright’s length, I expected to see him get more minutes. Never predict a Brad Stevens rotation.
11. Phil Pressey
Instant energy off the bench, but really too short to make a significant impact. He consistently drives with reckless abandon with no intention of attempting a shot. It’s frustrating.
10. James Young
Young has only played in six games, but he is the future, and one time he answered some of my questions about his time in Maine. Can you believe he has never been to Freeport? I just hope he continues to get minutes, because he clearly has a knack for getting buckets.
9. Marcus Thornton
Marcus “The Microwave” Thornton is the Celtics‘ only irrational confidence scorer. Injuries have kept him out of the lineup and thus low on the rankings. He does win the award for Celtic I would most like to hang out with.
8. Brandon Bass
“BASS IS WHO YOU THOUGHT HE WAS!” Thanks to Dennis Green for the guest commentary. I hope for Bass’ sake that Danny Ainge finds him a nice contender for whom he can play meaningful minutes down the stretch. There is really no reason he couldn’t be the Warriors’ version of P.J. Brown.
Without a doubt, AB has been the most disappointing player on the team. He just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting, and the ball rarely goes in. I appreciate his defense, but you need more that 12.5 PPG and 32 percent from 3 from your starting shooting guard.
|James Young begins earning his role with the Celtics after breaking out against Hornets||01.06.15 at 9:00 am ET|
James Young had played 18 minutes on the entire season entering Monday night’s game against the Hornets. His last appearance on an NBA court was when he played two minutes in a blowout against the Lakers on Dec 5. Since then, Young has missed time with a shoulder injury and spent time playing for the Maine Red Claws in the D-League.
Monday night was a coming out party for the No. 17 overall pick in this past June’s draft. Young matched his season total by playing 18 minutes in the game against Charlotte, coming up huge by nearly leading the Celtics to a comeback victory. In the second half alone the rookie played 15 minutes, pouring in 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting, while going 3-for-4 from downtown. Young’s finest moment came on a 3-pointer he hit in the fourth quarter to cut the Hornets’ lead to just six points, the smallest it would get after being as many as 22 points.
“I just tried to take every shot with confidence,” Young said following the game. “After one fell I just tried to go for another, and another and that’s how I’ve been playing all my life so I just tried to stick with it.”
Young has been sent to the D-League often of late, playing major minutes for the Red Claws when asked to. In eight games Young has averaged 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.6 minutes of action. He has also been practically automatic from beyond the arc, shooting 35-of-73 in those eight games. His experience seems to be paying off, though.
“I was king of nervous when I first got in. [It was] My first time playing, really, in the regular season,” said Young of his jitters. “I was just trying to go out there in the second half and just be aggressive, everyone told me to be aggressive.”
So did Young get advice from anyone in specific before his breakout game?
|Jared Sullinger: ‘We can’t play hero ball [because] we don’t have heroes’||01.06.15 at 8:58 am ET|
Jared Sullinger played one season with Paul Pierce. But that one season was enough to learn a very valuable lesson from the former captain.
One man can’t win a game. He can make a shot or haul in a rebound or make a big defensive play. But Paul Pierce learned from Doc Rivers at an early age that “hero ball” – the act of putting your team on your shoulders and trying to do it all yourself.
Monday night was yet another example of that for the 11-21 Celtics as they fell behind 50-36 at the half and by 22 in the second half before making a meaningless run in a 104-95 loss to the lowly Hornets at TD Garden.
Down 22, Stevens took most of his regulars out and turned to his bench, led by 13 points apiece from rookie James Young and Jae Crowder. But it wasn’t enough. The lesson?
“It’s a natural habit from a ton of great players,” Sullinger said. “These are all great players. We didn’t get to the league by accident. We’re great players and our natural ability comes out and we try to make that home run play. But as a team, that hurts you. As a team, that hurts you. It’s not just one individual, it’s everybody. Sometimes, I do it. We just have to step outside of ourselves and put he team first and then the home run plays will naturally spit themselves out in our system.
“We have to understand that one play is not going to make up an 18-point deficit,” Sullinger said. “That’s definitely what it’s called. It’s called hero ball. We can’t play hero ball. We don’t have heroes.
“Being a hero makes you a failure, makes you a failure. You can’t play one on five at all. As a team, the system is going to spit out who’s going to score, who’s night it is. You just have to play basketball and do better.”
Brad Stevens tried to make the same point.
“That’s the type of coach he is but as a team, we just have to do better,” Sullinger said.
Sullinger made a point after Monday’s 104-95 loss shows the weaknesses a fragile, young team has.
“No, not at all. Not at all,” Belichick said. “It’s natural. If you look around at everybody in this room was a big impact in college basketball or a big impact at wherever they played. And, their ability of us as individuals automatically says, ‘let me put the team on my back.’ As a team, you can’t do that. It’s not just one person, it’s everybody.
Look at Evan. He was a national player of the year. Tyler was an 18-10 guy at North Carolina. Marcus Smart was the man at Oklahoma State. James Young was the man at Kentucky. Jeff Green at Georgetown. I could go on and on and on. Everybody at one point was a focal point.”
Re: James Young back in: ‘Yea all his hard work he’s been putting in. Going back and forth from Maine to Boston and all the hard work he’s been putting in throughout the couple weeks is finally showing. I’m so proud and happy for him and the best is yet to come.’
|Brad Stevens takes blame for messy Celtics: ‘I’ve got to figure out how to coach this team better’||01.05.15 at 11:30 pm ET|
Stevens sounded an ominous signal Monday following a 104-95 lifeless loss to the lowly Charlotte Hornets on “Seats for Soldiers” night at TD Garden.
His team started slow out of the gate and really never recovered, trailing 22-11 late in the first quarter and 50-36 at the half.
“First of all, they played at a great pace, and they made shots and Kemba (Walker) was great,” Stevens said. “We couldn’t stop him. Cody Zeller was playing at a higher energy-level than anybody else on the floor a lot of the game, and you know (Gerald) Henderson has always really given us fits. I thought all three of those guys looked like they were at a different level early. And we weren’t very good.”
It got so bad that Stevens ran through his entire 13-man roster by the end of the third quarter. What was he hoping to accomplish?
“No idea. I think tonight was more of an anomaly because I was throwing darts. I can act like I know the answer to your question, but I was throwing darts,” Stevens said.
Asked a question about the breakout game for James Young and whether it might mean more playing time for the rookie, Stevens instead took the opportunity to do a little soul searching.
“I don’t know,” Stevens said. “I don’t know. I’ve got to figure out how to coach this team better. I’m not doing a very good job. We’re not playing well and we’re playing almost ‘ it’s not good basketball. We’ve got to do a better job playing good basketball. I’ll figure out the rotations later, once we start playing good basketball and once we all are very focused on very good basketball. And that’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job.”
|5 things we learned in the Celtics’ loss to the Hornets||01.05.15 at 10:00 pm ET|
Fresh off of an overtime loss in Chicago, the Celtics returned home on Monday to face the underachieving Hornets at TD Garden. Part of the problem for Charlotte has been injuries, as they were without both Lance Stephenson and former Celtic Al Jefferson for this contest.
Jefferson played a huge role in the Hornets’ 96-87 victory over the C’s back on Dec. 10 in Charlotte, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Boston was out for revenge this time around, however, they didn’t find it on Monday.
Kemba Walker was dominant for the Hornets in their 104-95 win over the Celtics, seemingly finding a bucket every time the Celtics started to claw back. Walker finished with 33 points to go with five boards and five helpers. Click here for the full box score.
Here’s five things we learned in the loss:
BRAD STEVENS PLAYED EVERY AVAILABLE CELTIC
Ever since the Rajon Rondo trade Stevens has been tinkering around with all kinds of rotations. In the last two games this meant playing 11 different players double-digit minutes. On Monday it meant playing all 13 of his available players (Marcus Thornton and Jameer Nelson sat with injuries) during meaningful action.
“No idea. I think tonight was more of an anomaly because I was throwing darts. I can act like I know the answer to your question but I was throwing darts,” said Stevens.
Gerald Wallace saw minutes in the second half, and rather than filling in for Nelson by letting players in the rotation play more, Phil Pressey stepped in to take Nelson’s role. Playing 13 players before a game even turns into a blowout says a lot about a rotation, mostly negative things. Eventually, Stevens is going to have to pick a direction with this team and establish a rotation that allows his players to find more of a rhythm.
JAMES YOUNG FINALLY BROKE OUT
After going back-and-forth between playing big minutes for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League and riding the bench for the Celtics, 19-year-old rookie James Young played when in mattered for the first time in weeks. Young came in to play the last three minutes of the first half, but didn’t come in gunning like he has done so far in his career.
That all changed in the second half, as Young scored 13 points in 13 minutes on 5-for-6 shooting in the second half alone (including 3-for-4 from downtown), nearly leading the Celtics to a comeback victory. It’s just one game, but Young was masterful on offense, and even played aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. Young is definitely a player to watch going forward as this performance may have carved him out a spot in Stevens’ wild rotation going forward.
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