|Irish Coffee: The case for Avery Bradley breaking out||10.19.11 at 2:16 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
While his Celtics teammates await the end of the NBA lockout for structured basketball to resume, backup point guard Avery Bradley could make his Israeli basketball debut as soon as Sunday.
That experience — combined with his participation in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series — will leave Bradley with perhaps more competitive basketball under his belt during the lockout than any other NBA player should the lengthy collective bargaining mediation sessions ever result in an actual season.
But will it help him contribute to the Celtics if and when NBA basketball resumes? Bradley certainly thinks so. Here’s what he told Eurobasket in a recent interview:
- On the offseason: “I’m in great shape. I played in the pro-am games and in the Impact League in Las Vegas, so basically I work out all the time and I always make sure I’m ready to play.”
- On playing abroad: “Honestly, what I want most it to keep playing basketball, and Jerusalem sounded like the best possibility.”
- On the lockout: “The players and owners are doing whatever they can to end the situation we’re in. No one wants the lockout, everybody wants the same thing — for it to be over. Until then, I’m with Jerusalem and my focus is on helping out the team in any way possible.”
And for what it’s worth, I think Bradley is poised for a breakout season of sorts (hard to truly break out when playing behind Rajon Rondo, but still …). Let’s not forget he hasn’t even hit his 21st birthday (Nov. 26).
|Ray Allen, Celtics talk NBA lockout during workouts||09.15.11 at 11:48 am ET|
This NBA offseason of lockout talk has been anything but ordinary, but leave it to Ray Allen to maintain business as usual. Per usual at the end of each summer, the NBA 3-point king is practicing at his alma mater.
As you can see from the embedded video, the Celtics shooting guard knocked down shots on the regular in a shooting drill with the UConn men’s basketball team. And when he finally misses, he’s none too happy.
“I want to show them how to get into the rhythm,” Allen told The Hartford Courant. “the template of being a shooting guard.”
Allen and former Huskies teammate, longtime friend and Celtics commentator Donny Marshall arrived in Storrs, Conn., on Tuesday and are expected to work out with Jim Calhoun‘s team for the next few weeks. UConn alums Rudy Gay and Kemba Walker have also stopped by to practice at Guyer Gym this summer.
While this summer has been status quo for Allen, his fall plans seem destined to be disrupted, as NBA labor negotiations seemingly disintegrated during the latest collective bargaining session on Tuesday.
“I’m optimistic,” Allen told Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer. “Both sides want to play basketball. Both sides want the same thing, for the game to grow, and to make it better for our fans. I purposely in my mind am expecting camp on the date I would normally expect it. That way, once I get to end of September, my body will at least be in a good place and I don’t have to worry about rushing it if it comes at the last minute.”
Allen’s Tuesday workout reportedly lasted for several hours, after which he spoke to the current UConn squad for more than half an hour and signed autographs for onlooking fans. Then, the 1995-96 Big East Player of the Year spoke to reporters about his impressions of the current Huskies: Read the rest of this entry »
|10 Things I Heard About Celtics V||09.06.11 at 6:25 pm ET|
On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” I, II, III and IV) …
10. It seems free agent point guard Carlos Arroyo has spent more time in the recording studio than on the floor for the Celtics this past season (190 minutes), as a couple of his new tracks are making the rounds. Meanwhile, back in Argentina, he’s been doing his best Rajon Rondo impression for the Puerto Rican national team during the FIBA Americas Championship.
Arroyo has averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 assists in 29.5 minutes as Puerto Rico has improved to 5-1 two games into the second round. Virtually assured of a spot in the semifinals, Arroyo could lead his home country to its first Summer Olympics berth since he helped Puerto Rico upset the United States in 2004.
“He’s our captain, the leader, the veteran,” said J.J. Barea, a Northeastern alum and member of the NBA champion Mavericks. “He’s been here for so many years, and he’s doing a great job leading the team.”
Interestingly, another local product — Auburn, Mass. native Javier Mojica — has also contributed to PR’s success. If you don’t remember Mojica’s riveting story, here’s a tremendous feature from 2007 on the Central Connecticut State walk-on and former Northeast Conference Player of the Year by The Globe’s Chris Gasper.
9. Try to forget the fact that the Celtics will enter the 2011-12 NBA season’s free agency period (if there is one) with Jermaine O’Neal as the sole center on the roster when you read this next sentence: Nenad Krstic has averaged 17.2 points per game for Serbia (4-1) during EuroBasket 2011.
Of course, the fact that he’s only grabbed 3.6 rebounds per contest should soften the blow that Krstic left the Celtics via free agency to sign a two-year deal in Russia, leaving the C’s with only restricted rights to Jeff Green as part of the Kendrick Perkins deal. Somewhere, the lone guy who bought a Krstic No. 4 Celtics jersey weeps.
|Celtics extend qualifying offer to Jeff Green, make him restricted free agent||06.30.11 at 1:56 pm ET|
The Celtics extended forward Jeff Green a one-year qualifying offer at $5.9 million, which will make the forward a restricted free agent. The move was procedural and gives the team the right to match any offer Green receives once the league opens — or rather re-opens — for business following a lockout that could start as early as midnight on July 1.
The team also announced that they have exercised the third-year option on Avery Bradley. For first round picks, the first two years of their contracts are guaranteed. The team has options on the third and fourth years before a player can become a restricted free agent like Green is now.
Green can still sign a long-term extension with the team once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules in place or he could return for the one-year offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Celtics could also let him walk if another team offers a huge deal, but that seems unlikely as they have maintained that he is a part of their long-term plans.
Yet the Celtics have also carefully planned to have as much cap space as possible after next season and it will be interesting to see how much they ultimately invest in his services. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for the franchise if Green simply came back for the one-year offer and kept the books clear for the summer of 2012. Of course all the roster speculation is premature until the new CBA rules are in place.
The question for the Celtics and Green — assuming he does return — is what kind of player will he be for them?
Green arrived from Oklahoma City in the Kendrick Perkins trade with the expectation that he would provide scoring and athleticism off the bench, as well as a solid backup for Paul Pierce. Green averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games for the Celtics and while his minutes were cut from 37 in OKC to 23 with the C’s, that was essentially the same production he gave the Thunder. On the plus side his field goal percentage jumped from 44 to 49 percent, but his 3-point shooting dipped under the 30-percent line.
After four years in the league, Green seems to have settled in as a good but not great player, which doesn’t exactly translate into future franchise cornerstone. But the Celtics believe that he still has room to develop, particularly with a full training camp under his belt.
“I think Jeff played excellent,” team president Danny Ainge said in an end of the season media session in May. “Maybe the expectations were too high. We knew he wasn’t going to start. We knew he wasn’t going to play 35 minutes. We needed a veteran player, an experienced player, an athletic player. We know what Jeff Green is. He’s a highly efficient offensive player who plays good defense. That’s what we need and he’s young and I think he’s just going to get better because of his character and work ethic.”
The problem — as it was last season — is finding a role for Green. Ainge floated the idea of starting Green and using Pierce off the bench, which seems like a reach considering Pierce is one of the best players in franchise history and still playing at an All-Star level.
While Pierce’s minutes are likely to go down next season that’s still only about 15 minutes of action. Green also struggled defensively as a four-man, although that had a lot to do with whoever was playing center. When he was in the lineup with Pierce and Kevin Garnett for example, he did just fine. When he teamed with Glen Davis to form an undersized frontcourt, not so much. Adding legitimate depth at center behind Jermaine O’Neal and rookie JaJuan Johnson can only help Green.
The Celtics believe that they can contend for a championship again next season with their core players in place, provided they receive some help from free agency and their young players develop into contributors. But no player needs to help more than Green.
If Ainge is right that Green’s best years are ahead of him he can give the Celtics a dimension they’ve lacked since the big three era began. If this is as good as it gets then it doesn’t seem likely that Green will be enough to get them past Miami and Chicago.
|JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore are ready to contribute||06.27.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
The Celtics introduced their newest players — JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore — to the media at Edison school in Brighton on Monday and if first impressions count for anything both players came across as engaging and mature. That’s to be expected of a pair of four-year college players, both of whom earned degrees at Purdue.
Education was the theme of the day as Johnson and Moore were on hand to dedicate a new mobile computer lab through the Celtics Shamrock Foundation with 25 new Mac’s for the kids in the K-8 public school. With their parents in attendance, Johnson and Moore mixed easily with the kids.
Both acknowledged that it was a strange but pleasant coincidence that they would wind up on the same team in the NBA. That process didn’t begin on draft night. It started when both players decided to return for their senior seasons after going through the draft evaluation last year.
The extra year in school wasn’t wasted as Johnson increased his scoring average from 15.5 to 20.5 points per game and was named Big 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Moore also raised his scoring average for the fourth straight season with the Boilerrmakers and shot 40 percent from the college 3-point line.
“These guys have both improved a lot over the course of their college careers,” team president Danny Ainge said. “They’ve played a lot of big games in a lot of hostile environments. I think that can only help.”
The knock on Johnson is that he’s thin and he acknowledged that he wants to add to his 220 pounds in the weight room and with a nutritional program. The negative for Moore is that at 6-foot-4 (in shoes) he may be too small to matchup with NBA 2-guards and he rarely played the point at Purdue. Johnson said that he sees himself as a four-man — as do the Celtics. Moore described himself as a combo guard and said he knew he had to be prepared to handle any backcourt assignment.
The NBA is filled with undersized, or oddly sized, players and each player brings something different to the equation for the Celtics who are trying to add pieces that can help this season, as well as in the future.
“I can run the floor, rebound, defend and be able to knock down that 15-18 foot shot pretty consistently,” Johnson said. “That’s what I can bring to the team.”
Moore was an accomplished scorer at Purdue and had a memorable game against Ohio State when he scored 38 points and knocked down seven 3-pointers. Johnson noted that in college Moore was the player the other Boilermakers counted on to make a big shot.
Their roles are reversed now as the pressure will be on Johnson to provide some interior help and athleticism to a frontline that can use both. Moore will have a chance to earn a roster spot and he may have competition. The Celtics brought University of Pittsburgh guard Gilbert Brown in to get acclimated with the facilities.
Brown told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Ainge was in contact with him after the draft and compared his situation to Wes Matthews, an undrafted free agent out of Marquette who has already carved out a niche in the NBA, as well as a five-year $32 million contract from the Blazers. The Celtics can’t sign undrafted free agents — or free agents of any kind — until July 1 and if there is a lockout Brown told the paper he was likely to play in Germany.
On a team with so many open positions and a determination to get younger, more athletic and affordable there’s a decent chance that both Moore and Brown could find their way on to the Celtics roster. Ainge told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan last week that he did not intend to mess with the team’s cap space after the 2012 season when they will be way below the cap, regardless of whatever system is in place in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
That’s why this draft was so important for the Celtics. They want to remain competitive for a championship this season, while also laying the foundation for the future. Ainge told D & C that one more year with the big three was realistic, but two was probably asking too much. With Johnson, Moore, possibly Brown and last year’s first round pick Avery Bradley vying for playing time, the Celtics will have not only youth, but experienced youth to try and alter the dynamic of the team.
Johnson will wear No. 12 as a tribute to his mother, Rhonda Curlin. That was her number in high school. Moore will wear No. 55. He said he was a fan of Jason “White Chocolate” Williams growing up.
Johnson said he was looking forward to learning from Kevin Garnett. “If he tells me something I’ll definitely do my best to execute what he’s saying,” Johnson said. “I don’t want him to shut me down. I want to learn as much as I can from him.”
Ainge said the team would extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Jeff Green before the deadline as expected.
One area Ainge wouldn’t address was any potential free agent plans. Anything and everything related to the new CBA has been off-limits in keeping with NBA policy.
|Delonte West sprains ankle, out for Utah game||02.28.11 at 1:28 pm ET|
During an informal workout Sunday, Celtics guard Delonte West sprained his right ankle when he stepped on another player’s foot and will be out for the Celtics game Monday night against Utah. Doc Ricers told reporters in Utah that West is also questionable for Wednesday’s game with Phoenix when the team returns to the Garden.
This latest injury once again puts the Celtics in a bind as West is the only experienced point guard on the roster behind Rajon Rondo, following Nate Robinson‘s trade to the Thunder. Rookie Avery Bradley, who has played 10 minutes in his five games since returning from the D-League will likely back up Rondo for the time being.
Another option for Rivers is using Paul Pierce as a point-forward. That worked in stretches earlier in the season when Rondo was out with injuries.
|Celtics recall Avery Bradley from D-League||02.07.11 at 11:28 am ET|
The Celtics announced Monday that they have recalled rookie guard Avery Bradley from their D-League affiliate in Maine. Bradley is expected to join the team in time for its game with Charlotte Monday night.
With Marquis Daniels out with a serious spinal injury for at least the next month, if not longer, and Delonte West rehabbing from a broken wrist, their numbers were getting thin. Before Bradley’s recall they were down to just 10 healthy players as Shaquille O’Neal is also out with an Achilles injury and Jermaine O’Neal is out 6-8 weeks following knee surgery.
Bradley averaged 17 points, 4.8 rebounds, five assists and three steals with the Red Claws, and tied a D-League record with nine steals against Tulsa on Jan. 30. The rookie guard from Texas has played just 66 minutes for the Celtics this season and has seemed overwhelmed at times, but he has also shown a willingness to play through his mistakes and compete.
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