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Report: Hawks looking for ‘borderline ridiculous’ return for Al Horford, Jeff Teague 02.12.16 at 10:46 am ET
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Guard Jeff Teague (0) and center Al Horford (15)  are reportedly on the trading block. (Steve Dykes/USA TODAY Sports)

Hawks guard Jeff Teague and center Al Horford (right) reportedly are on the trading block. (Steve Dykes/USA Today Sports)

The hottest ticket in NBA trade deadline sweepstakes appears to belong to the Atlanta Hawks. And they are treating it like a Super Bowl ticket at the 50-yard line.

According to CSNNE Celtics sideline reporter Chris Mannix, the Hawks are asking a king’s ransom for big man Al Horford and guard Jeff Teague a week before Thursday’s trading deadline.

Many NBA trade rumors have linked the Celtics to the 29-year-old Horford for two basic reasons. First, there’s an obvious need for the Celtics in the post to strengthen their potential playoff run in the East. The Celtics are in third place with a 32-23 record at the All-Star break and could make a run at the No. 1 or 2 seed. Second, the Celtics are one of the few teams with the capital on hand to execute the deal the Hawks are looking for, as Boston holds three first-round picks in the upcoming draft, including Brooklyn’s lottery pick.

But that doesn’t mean Boston would be willing to deal, according to Mannix.

“From everything I’ve been told in the last two or three days, Atlanta’s requests for both Al Horford and Jeff Teague have been borderline ridiculous,” Mannix said Thursday on CSNNE. “The kind of things teams like Boston, or Milwaukee, or Denver simply won’t deal for the players they want.

“Things like this tend to cool off, though. As we get close to the deadline — when we get to the 17th, when we get to the 18th [the trade deadline] — that’s when the real horse trading begins. That’s when [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge will know if Atlanta is really serious about trading Al Horford.”

Horford has started all 55 games this season and is averaging 15.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. The biggest deterrent to making a deal would be the fact that Horford will become a free agent at the end of the season. Teague, at 27, is in the prime of his career. He’s in the third year of a four-year, $32 million contract.

There have been multiple reports that the Hawks are considering trading the two pieces to try to get to the top of the draft and to position themselves for the new salary cap that takes effect next season, with a cap coming in at around $89 million, a jump of $19 million. In two years, the cap mushrooms to $108 million.

Read More: 2016 NBA trade deadline, Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics
Chris Mannix on OM&F: Celtics should trade for Al Horford if given opportunity 02.11.16 at 11:53 am ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Thursday morning to discuss the latest Celtics trade rumors, notably Al Horford. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Mannix feels if the Celtics can get a chance to trade for the Atlanta forward they should do so because he can help the team not only now, but years down the line.

“I think Al Horford — if you’re ranking the free agents out there by tiers, putting them into classes, Al Horford is on that next tier right below Kevin Durant, LeBron, if you want to call him a free agent — he’s right there. He’s a bonafide star at his position.” Mannix said. “He plays both front court spots. He’s a great guy, so he won’t disrupt the character of the locker room. I think he’s going to be a highly productive player for the next three years. You throw a guy like Al Horford into that mix, and while he’s not one of those free agent magnets, what he is is another player to a group of bursting young players that is going to be really attractive to other free agent players to come join up and play with.

“The word is out on Brad Stevens. People want to play for this guy and if you deepen this team and add a potential All-Star like Al Horford to the mix, you got to do it if you have the opportunity.”

The Celtics have a number of future draft picks, including Brooklyn’s first rounder this year. Mannix doesn’t feel they will need to trade that pick for Horford, but a few of their future draft picks should be included in a potential package.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Al Horford, Chris Mannix,
Stud and Duds: Celtics defeat Clippers in OT thriller 02.11.16 at 12:07 am ET
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Isaiah Thomas gets a shot off over Paul Pierce in overtime. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Isaiah Thomas gets a shot off over Paul Pierce in overtime. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The Celtics never give up. Scoring seven points in the final minute of regulation, Isaiah Thomas & Co. forced overtime, where they defeated the visiting Clippers, 139-134.

After both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half, the Celtics took a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, but saw that lead disappear in the fourth.

Lance Stephenson’s corner 3-pointer tied the game, 106-106, just before he earned a technical foul for taunting the C’s bench. Still, Los Angeles took a five-point lead on an 8-3 run with 4:04 left. Still trailing by five in the final minute, the Celtics closed the quarter on a 7-2 run.

In that span, Isaiah Thomas scored six points, including a fadeaway jumper over DeAndre Jordan to send the game to overtime. In the extra period, Evan Turner caught fire, scoring half of his 14 points. The Celtics erased a six-point deficit, outscored the Clippers 17-12 in the extra frame and stifled Jamal Crawford‘s last-minute game-tying 3-point attempt to seal a remarkably resilient win.

Thomas’ 36 points led six Celtics in double figures, and Jared Sullinger flirted with a triple-double (21 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists). Chris Paul (35 points, 13 assists) and DeAndre Jordan (21 points, 16 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles for the Clippers.

Former Celtic Paul Pierce scored all six of his points on a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. TD Garden gave him and former coach Doc Rivers a loud ovation during the player introductions.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Pierce: ‘It might be the last time I’m back’ 02.10.16 at 8:06 pm ET
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As Paul Pierce returned to TD Garden as a member of the Clippers, the 18-year veteran said Wednesday’s game against the Celtics might be the last time he plays in Boston.

“It could be, Pierce said before the game. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but, you know, like I’ve been saying the last two years, I’m taking it year by year, and this could possibly be.”

For 15 seasons, Pierce called Boston his home, and he climbed to second on the team’s career scoring list. Although it’s been nearly three years since he last played a game in a Celtics uniform, coming back to TD Garden as a member of the visiting team is still odd for the veteran.

“I think the weird thing is just being on this side of the bench and this side of the locker room,” Pierce explained. “The locker room is a little weird. I used to walk up the stairs and take a right instead of a left. It’s fun I get to enjoy it because it might be the last time I’m back.”

Pierce also discussed former teammate Kevin Garnett, who he’s kept in contact with despite going their separate ways.

“Usually all we talk about is family,” Pierce said with a laugh. “Kevin is doing good. I always ask if this is it for him; he’s still undecided. Kevin said he was going to retire the last five years in a row and always came back, so I don’t know what he’s planning. We stay in good contact, as do a lot of us — Rondo, the guys who we’ve played with — so I don’t know what his plans are like, and I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it could be the last time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Paul Pierce,
Report: Celtics, Danny Ainge ‘excited’ about possible trade for Al Horford 02.10.16 at 4:33 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

With the NBA trade deadline residing just 10 days away, things are getting interesting, particularly when it comes to the Celtics.

Speaking on CSN New England, Chris Mannix suggested there might be some traction when it comes to the Celtics’ rumored interest in Atlanta forward Al Horford.

“I think Boston, Al Horford is a legitimate possibility for the Celtics,
Mannix said. “I think that is one of the guys across the league that Danny Ainge is the most excited about. He is a four man that would fit right into what Boston is trying to do.

“It would cost a lot of money to re-sign him in the offseason, but I think Boston is willing to play it, because they haven’€™t paid a lot of money for players in recent years.”

Horford, whose contract expires at the end of this season, is averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Mannix surmised that a potential deal wouldn’t get done until closer to the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

Read More: Al Horford, Celtics,
Celtics rumor mill: Breaking down potential interest in Hawks Al Horford, Kyle Korver 02.10.16 at 3:02 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

With the NBA trade deadline now just over a week away, focus has shifted to a team that appears to be on the verge of blowing it up — the Atlanta Hawks.

With free-agent-to-be Al Horford and sharpshooter Kyle Korver, Atlanta has a couple of pieces that could interest the Celtics, as ESPN insider Chad Ford noted in a recent column, when he proposed a trade of the two to Boston for David Lee, Kelly Olynyk and a pair of first-round picks (neither one coming from Brooklyn).

Ford also proposed a larger three-way deal involving the Kings that would send out Evan Turner and the upcoming Nets pick (which could be No. 1 overall), among other pieces, and bring DeMarcus Cousins back to Boston.

That’s not happening. The Hawks present an intriguing trade partner, however. Horford’s impending free agency automatically depresses his market, and the athletic big man would give the Celtics a dimension they certainly lacked in Tuesday’s 112-111 loss to the Bucks, when Greg Monroe torched them for 29 points, including the go-ahead layup with one second left.

Horford is capable of shooting from 16 feet or scoring on the block, and he’s an excellent team defender. He’d fit right into Brad Stevens‘ system on the opposing end of the floor, which is where the Celtics win games.

Korver would give them something they desperately need as well, a guard/forward who can knock down open 3-pointers. He’s shooting .383 from deep this season, which is actually his lowest mark in a decade, but would still rank second on the Celtics (behind Olynyk’s .415) among players with at least 100 attempts.

Lifetime, Korver shoots 3’s at an absurd .429 clip, including a league-best .492 last year and an NBA-record .536 in 2010. At age 34, he’s the rare player to hit his stride when his career should be winding down. He’s an average defender in a helping scheme, at best, but his shooting could help the Celtics space the floor.

Also, Horford and Korver are both considered winning players, no small consideration when looking for guys who will buy into Stevens’ system. Might there be a match? We’ll find out in the next eight days.

Read More: Al Horford, Brooklyn picks, Celtics trade rumors, Kyle Korver
Studs and Duds: Greg Monroe, Bucks stop Celtics’ 4-game win streak 02.09.16 at 10:59 pm ET
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Feb 9, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reacts after a call in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks won 112-111. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Stevens reacts to a call in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss to the Bucks. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jason Kidd may have figured out the only way to beat the Celtics — stack the bench. Kidd’€™s decision to bring Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams off the bench paid off, as the Bucks defeated the Celtics 112-111 on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

The Bucks built a huge second-half lead, outscoring the Celtics 40-20 in the third quarter. Monroe was simply unstoppable, scoring 12 of his game-high 29 points in the frame. In the final six minutes the Celtics made a frantic comeback, cutting a 19-point deficit to three with 59 seconds to play, setting up a wild final minute.

A Jae Crowder 3-pointer tied the game at 109, but a Monroe layup put the Bucks back up by two with only one second remaining. On the ensuing inbounds pass — with the Celtics in the bonus — Jerryd Bayless sent Kelly Olynyk to the line for a pair of game-tying free throws. However, an overly aggressive Avery Bradley fouled Khris Middleton as he caught an inbounds pass with 0.6 seconds left. Middleton made the first before intentionally missing the second to seal the one-point victory.

Monroe, who has given the Celtics struggles in the past, was especially dominant, scoring his 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting. Massachusetts native Carter-Williams added 16 points as the Bucks bench outscored the Celtics 62-50.

Bradley and Crowder led the C’s with 18 points apiece, while four other Celtics scored in double figures.

The loss snaps a four-game win streak for the Celtics (31-22), who lost for just the fourth time in their last 16 games. The C’€™s return home to play Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers and the Clippers on Wednesday at TD Garden.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on. Read the rest of this entry »

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