|Perry Jones III (knee) misses second straight Celtics practice||10.02.15 at 5:45 pm ET|
Perry Jones III missed a second consecutive Celtics practice with knee soreness on Friday.
The Celtics acquired Jones, a 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Thunder in exchange for a future second-round pick this past July. He averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes over 43 games in Oklahoma City last season, showing considerable promise in a 32-point, seven-rebound effort against the Clippers before suffering a separate knee injury in early November 2014.
Jones fell to No. 28 in the 2012 NBA draft due to knee problems that a scout told CBS Sports reporter Seth Davis would limit his career to “3-4 years in the league.” This would be his fourth NBA season.
The Celtics currently have 16 players signed to guaranteed contracts with room for only 15, and Jones was already the favorite to be left off the roster at the end of training camp. This setback does not bode well, particularly if the soreness lingers, but he is expected to travel with the team to Italy.
|Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 6. Hello, Isaiah Thomas||09.30.15 at 4:20 pm ET|
Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for preseason to play out.
- No. 25: Hello, Sebastian Telfair.
- No. 24: Goodbye, Semih Erden.
- No. 23: Hello and goodbye again, Antoine Walker.
- No. 22: Hello, Ricky Davis.
- No. 21: Goodbye, Walter McCarty.
- No. 20: Hello, Keyon Dooling.
- No. 19: Hello and goodbye, Courtney Lee.
- No. 18: Hello, Kelly Olynyk.
- No. 17: Hello, Nate Robinson.
- No. 16: Hello, Brandon Bass.
- No. 15: Hello, Wally Szczerbiak.
- No. 14: Goodbye, Jiri Welsch.
- No. 13: Hello, Leon Powe.
- No. 12: Goodbye, Jeff Green.
- No. 11: Hello and goodbye, Jordan Crawford.
- No. 10: Goodbye, Antoine Walker.
- No. 9: Hello, Kendrick Perkins.
- No. 8: Hello, Tony Allen.
- No. 7: Goodbye, Rajon Rondo.
With that out of the way, here’s No. 6 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.
July 10, 2014: Hello, Tyler Zeller.
ARRIVING in Boston
- Marcus Thornton: In order to shed salary for the return of LeBron James, Cleveland essentially sent Jarrett Jack to Brooklyn for Thornton, and Boston took the latter’s expiring $8.6 million contract off the Cavaliers, hands. While on the Celtics, Thornton continued to be what he’d been in his five previous seasons — a productive scorer off the bench who wasn’t worth the four-year, $31 million deal Sacramento signed him to in 2011.
- Tyler Zeller: The 7-foot North Carolina did what most players have done under Celtics coach Brad Stevens — develop in almost every respect. Zeller averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per 36 minutes last season, taking strides as a mid-range jump shooter and rim protector. A year later, Cleveland’s 2012 first-round pick still has a year left on his rookie contract and doesn’t become a restricted free agent until next summer.
- Cleveland’s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): Granted, this pick will fall in the late 20s come June, if not 30th overall, but even the lowest first-round pick is a valuable asset in a league that protects them dearly.
DEPARTING to Cleveland
- $10.3 million trade exception: The Celtics also included a conditional second-round pick that never came to fruition, so this is all they gave up — the trade exception created upon dealing Paul Pierce‘s salary to Brooklyn.
Feb. 19, 2015: Hello, Isaiah Thomas.
ARRIVING in Boston
- Isaiah Thomas: Playing in a crowded Suns backcourt behind Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Thomas was in the midst of a Sixth Man of the Year-worthy campaign, averaging 15.2 points on nearly 40 percent shooting off the bench. The 5-foot-9 point guard added 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes a night over his 46 games in Phoenix — consistent with the 36-minute averages that made him one of the league’s most efficient players in Sacramento. He was even better in Boston, averaging 19.0 points and 5.4 assists in 26 minutes. Oh, and he’s working on one of the league’s best contracts, which declines from $6.9 million each year through 2017-18.
DEPARTING to Phoenix
- Marcus Thornton: After leaving the Celtics, Thornton was stuck on the end of the Suns bench. He scored a total of 32 points in nine appearances for Phoenix, and then missed 14 of the final 15 games with a toe injury.
- Cleveland’s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): See? Told you low first-round picks are still valuable.
There may be a handful of Ainge’s trades more consequential than this one, but you won’t find any more creative.
In some serious origami, Ainge turned a piece of paper into Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas. Actually, I’m not even sure trade exceptions are printed on pieces of paper. They might just be in the ether. In which case, Ainge literally pulled a 24-year-old starting center and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate out of thin air. Is that good? I think that’s good.
|Celtics rookie Terry Rozier jumps on championship bandwagon||09.30.15 at 11:46 am ET|
‘ Jared Weiss (@CLNS_JaredWeiss) September 30, 2015
It’s a tradition for the Celtics to force rookies into making season-opening speeches in front of the Garden crowd, and so Terry Rozier found himself addressing fans gathered for the team’s open practice in Boston on Tuesday night.
“I’m Terry Rozier, and I just want to say thank you from me on behalf of my teammates for coming up here to cheer us on,” he said. “Hopefully you all will cheer us on to another championship this year. Appreciate you all coming out. Thank you.”
“If we continue to work hard, anything’s possible,” said Bradley, who now has the distinction of being the longest-tenured member of the team at age 24. “If you buy into what the coach is trying to do and this Celtics culture, I feel like anything is possible and we can definitely have a chance to make it to the championship if we do those things.”
For what it’s worth, Celtics coach Brad Stevens also lists a title as his goal for this season and every season.
“I had one goal at the last job, and that was to win the national championship, and I have one goal at this job, and that’s to win an NBA championship,” said Stevens, whose team was swept in the first round of the 2014-15 NBA playoffs. “That’s the only thing I’ll ever put down as a goal. That’s the only thing I’ll ever talk about as a goal to our players.”
As they should, the C’s think they’re contenders now. Of course, there’s a difference between believing and seeing.
For the record, the Green Team of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk handed the White Team of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, David Lee and Tyler Zeller a 63-59 loss at the open scrimmage, so at least half the roster will be starting the season as losers. These are the facts, people.
|With international play behind him, Kelly Olynyk looks for bigger leadership role on Celtics||09.29.15 at 12:18 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kelly Olynyk had quite the summer as he tried to get himself ready for the 2015-16 season with the Celtics.
The third-year big man out of Gonzaga starred for his home country Team Canada in the both the Tuto Marchand Cup (a preliminary to the FIBA Olympic qualifying tourney) and the FIBA tourney itself. Olynyk had 34 points and 13 rebounds in a 79-78 loss to Venezuela in the semifinals of the Olympic tourney, outshining fellow Canadiens Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett (both young stars for Minnesota). Had Canada won, they would have directly qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, along with the U.S., Argentina and Venezuela.
Instead, Canada must now qualify in the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. A lot was at stake but Olynyk looks at the loss as good experience, from a team and personal standpoint.
“It was definitely a tough game, especially for us,” Olynyk said. “We had gotten better every game as a team. We played so well, really night-in and night-out pretty much dominated that tournament. So it’s really a tough break for us to go out like that. Credit to Venezuela. They played a great game. They played tough, they played strong. They made shots. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only game we didn’t make very many shots. They showed up and played and then they went back to back night and beat Argentina. It was something pretty special for them. Right now, we’ve got another chance next summer and we’ve got to look forward to that and make sure we’re ready to play.”
Olynyk averaged 11.5 points a game in 10 games in the FIBA Americas championship. There was a scary moment when he dinged his left knee in an 85-80 win over Argentina on Aug. 23 in the Marchand Cup in Puerto Rico. But Olynyk bounced back quickly and was able to play at full strength in the Olympic qualifying tourney, which involved playing 10 games in 12 days in Mexico City.
|Jae Crowder reacts to being called “Bae Crowder”||09.28.15 at 3:01 pm ET|
The Celtics held their annual Media Day on Friday and this reporter/blogger was there to ask the important questions. Jae Crowder, who the Celtics signed this off-season to a five-year contract worth $35 million, appears to have no qualms with being called Bae. In fact, I would characterize his fist pump and use of the phrase “Right On” as a ringing endorsement. I have been a fan of Crowder’s game ever since he was acquired from Dallas in the December trade of Rajon Rondo and I started referring to him as Bae shortly after his arrival. If he can develop a consistent jump shot to pair with his ability to defend multiple positions, I expect him to quickly emerge as Celtics fan’s collective “Bae” and one of the major reasons why the team wins the Atlantic Division.
Follow Sam Packard on Twitter @WEEICeltics
|Brad Stevens: ‘I have one goal at this job and that’s to win an NBA championship’||09.27.15 at 12:57 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Brad Stevens has a lot to think about on his flight over to Europe to begin training camp.
First and foremost, who on the roster is going to step up and prove they deserve the most playing time – or any at all – in preseason and possibly the regular season.
That’s a question that needs to be answered before Stevens can even make decisions on who will fill out the backend of a roster that is nothing if not deep.
The forwards are David Lee, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller and Perry Jones. The guards are Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner to go with rookies Terry Rozier and RJ Hunter.
That’s a lot of options but a lot of decisions for Brad Stevens to wade through.
“I’m excited. Anytime you’ve got a group that you can work with and you feel that way headed into the season, you’re focused on basketball,” Stevens said. “Even though we’ve got to figure out who’s going to play and at what times, I think we’ll be able to focus on all the right things.”
But then Stevens was pressed about how he’s going to deal with players like Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner, all veteran guards who will be fighting for playing time in a crowded backcourt that added rookies RJ Hunter and Terry Rozier.
“Every good team, you’re going to have discussions like that,” Stevens said. “Every good team that is challenging to be better is going to have depth. We’re going to have good players on our team that aren’t going to play. That’s the reality of it. That’s hard part of the job in some ways but you just try to be really frank and talk about it. I’m not here to predetermine anything. That’s why I think sometimes we should probably have media day two weeks in because I don’t know yet. We’ll find out.
|James Young improves defense, gains weight||09.26.15 at 8:08 pm ET|
In preparation for the 2015-16 NBA season, James Young spent the majority of the summer working on his body and his one-on-one defense.
At Friday’s annual media day at the Celtics‘ Waltham practice facility, Young talked about gaining weight over the summer and how he’s entering his second season feeling more confident about his defense.
“I just got in the gym and worked out harder,” said Young. “This season is going to be special for the team and me. I just want it to be great — got in the gym every day, [twice] a day.
“Just to absorb the contact from bigger and stronger guys, you can’t just go in the lane and be at 200 pounds; you’re going to get pushed over. So, you [have to] add weight, and that’s what I did. I want to add more — not done yet.”
Young split his rookie year between Boston and Maine. He played 17 games for the Red Claws, averaging 21.5 points and shooting an impressive 44.2 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Young finished his rookie campaign with the Celtics averaging 3.4 points in 10.7 minutes per game. While adding weight to his frame to improve his offense, Young says he has a better understanding of what to do on the defensive end.
“My footwork is a lot better,” he said. “I know what to do now. Pulling over, communicating, everything is working a lot better now. I know what to do now. I didn’t know then, but now I know.”
“He’s really improved his defensive abilities,” said Stevens. “His defensive awareness was great in summer league, and he’s a guy that we know offensively has some skill and some talent. The other thing about James that I’m excited about is he’s bigger and stronger, and he’s only 20 years old.”
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