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Full Court Press: The real cost of Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin, summer league stars Terry Rozier, Abdel Nader 07.16.16 at 4:00 pm ET
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Will Russell Westbrook (0) scores a three point basket against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Will Russell Westbrook land in Boston this summer? (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Is the time finally right for Danny Ainge to cash in? 

The Celtics president of basketball operations has been stacking his place at the NBA poker table with lots of blue chips. The question is whether now is the time to head to the to the casino office and get the final pieces that will help Brad Stevens and the team get back to the NBA finals. 

There have been reports this week that the Celtics are lead contenders for either Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin in a potential trade. 

But either one of those deals would almost certainly require the Celtics giving up their ownership of Brooklyn’s unprotected pick next year, which could very easily be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Not only that, a team like Oklahoma City, with the always forward-thinking general manager Sam Presti, likely is going to want another top pick, either in 2017 or from the multitude of picks listed below. The Celtics also own Brooklyn’s first-rounder in 2018. The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Jason Terry trade of July 2013 keeps on giving. 

If there’s any general manager with the wherewithal to pull off a major deal involving future picks and not entirely forfeit the future, it’s Ainge. Here, in full detail, is the remarkable portfolio Ainge has to work with: 

2017 first-round draft pick from Brooklyn
Boston has the right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick; if Boston exercises this swap right, then Boston will convey its 2017 second-round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished). [July 12, 2013]

2017 second-round draft pick from Cleveland
Cleveland’s 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from Cleveland, Sept. 25, 2014]

2017 second-round draft pick from L.A. Clippers
Clippers’ 2017 second-round pick to Boston [from L.A. Clippers via Phoenix, Jan. 15, 2015]

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Report: Celtics closing in on ‘major deal,’ potentially for Clippers forward Blake Griffin 07.14.16 at 11:10 am ET
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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Another day, another turn of the NBA rumor mill linking a superstar to the Celtics.

This time it’s not Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, but Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

According to Sporting News NBA insider Sean Deveney, the Celtics are working with the Clippers and Kings on a three-way deal that would bring Griffin to Boston and send guard Rudy Gay to L.A. The Celtics would also include picks in the deal, but according to Deveney, they’re reluctant to part with either of their upcoming Nets selections, since both could be high in the lottery, and the 2017 draft is considered especially deep.

Griffin, 27, was the first overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Oklahoma. He’s a five-time All-Star coming off a lost season due to suspension, as well as a broken hand after punching an equipment manager. Limited to 35 games, he averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.

Griffin, for what it’s worth, also penned a short goodbye to Tim Duncan, aka “the Big Fundamental,” on the Players’ Tribune.

Read More: blake griffin, Celtics rumors, Celtics trade rumors, NBA trade rumors
Celtics choice: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Blake Griffin 05.24.16 at 6:12 am ET
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As the days pass leading up to June’s NBA draft, we want to encourage the debate regarding what the Celtics should do with the No. 3 overall pick. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the No. 3 pick to trade for Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins or Clippers superstar Blake Griffin

The case for Cousins

Cousins is arguably, at 6-foot-11, 270 pounds, the most talented young true center in the NBA. He turns 26 this August and is coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons with the woebegone Kings. He’s gone from 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 2013-14 to 26.9 and 11.9 this past season. He can give the Celtics everything they’re looking for in a true post presence, who can score and rim protect. He would instantly transform Boston’s front court into a powerhouse. He’s still got two years left on a four-year, $65 million deal, averaging $17.5 million each season, not bad for the production. The Celtics had no low post presence against the Hawks in their first-round series. Cousins would immediately change all of that. 

The case against Cousins

It’s the attitude, son. No one doubts his raw ability and production. No one also doubts his lack of maturity has greatly stunted his ability to lead in Sacramento. No doubt, being on a losing franchise year after year can wear on an impressionable kid. Having Rajon Rondo in the locker room probably didn’t do a lot to help in that regard, either. Cousins famously erupted at Kings coach George Karl last November in front of the team. He’s had many other flare-ups over his six seasons in the land NBA winners went to escape relevance. The Celtics spent much of the season building bonds and shedding tears when the season came to an end in April. Cousins could be an explosive mix to that. 


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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, blake griffin, Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins
Report: Celtics called Clippers about Blake Griffin 02.16.16 at 11:42 am ET
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Will the Celtics make a huge move at the trade deadline?

According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics have been one of a number of teams to call the Clippers about Blake Griffin. But, Bulpett adds while the Clippers are listening, they have no real intention of moving him.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke with Bulpett about the team’s goals as Thursday’s deadline approaches. It appears the Celtics are looking at the big picture.

“When I’€™m looking at players out there, I’€™m looking at players that can make a big difference,” Ainge said to Bulpett. “Not players that can win us two games or anything like that. That’€™s not my objective.

“€œOur objective is not to keep us in the No. 3 seed in the East and maybe move up a bit, other than that’€™s our players’€™ objective and that’€™s our coaches’€™ objective. I think those are amazing goals, and it’€™s been fun watching this team compete and beating some of the good teams along the way. But our objective is to put together a team that can compete for championships.

“Listen, we’€™re just a few games from being at seven or eight, and it wasn’€™t too long ago that we were the ninth seed in the East. So, no, I don’€™t pay that much attention to the standings. I look more at how we’€™re playing and where our holes are and what we need to do.”

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘A 50-50 shot’ Doc Rivers ends up with Clippers 06.17.13 at 10:24 am ET
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Basketball analyst and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and he was unsure about whether or not a deal involving Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers would get done.

With Rivers still under contract for three more years, there are potentially a lot of moving pieces in such a trade. But fortunately for the Celtics, president Danny Ainge has a ton of leverage in the negotiations.

Still, Smith pegged the chances of a trade actually going through at just 50 percent.

‘€œUltimately, all the cards are being held by Danny Ainge,’€ Smith said. ‘€œIt’€™s a 50-50 shot either a deal gets done or Doc Rivers stays in Boston. I don’€™t think Doc Rivers will sit out for the year, then do television and all this other stuff. I think he’€™s going to stay and coach in Boston this year, or he’€™ll move on because Danny Ainge will see an opportunity to get young and to get a box-office attraction to some degree, if not Blake Griffin, then some quality young guys you can build around.

‘€œClearly, you have to go in that direction [getting younger]. If you’€™re Danny Ainge, it’€™s going to be a deal you want to make because you’€™re an older squad now, and it’€™s time to move in a different direction. Doc is the one hot commodity that he has. [Kevin Garnett] is 37. Paul Pierce is an aging 35. They’€™re not what they used to be, even though they can still contribute to a championship situation.

‘€œThey’€™re not the guys to build around anymore, and if you’€™re Danny Ainge you know this better than anybody. As a result, it will behoove him to get a deal done. And Doc Rivers is the one piece you have that’€™s an ace. You have to maximize it.”

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Some in NBA circles question ‘whether or not Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers desire to continue to coexist’ 05.08.13 at 9:44 am ET
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Stephen A. Smith talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about trade rumors involving the Celtics and Clippers, and what he believes the Celtics will do in the offseason.

Smith said he thinks the Clippers, who were rumored to be interested in Kevin Garnett at the trade deadline, still would like to acquire Garnett, and that the Celtics might try to use that interest to get Blake Griffin from them. To get Griffin, though, Smith said they might have to allow Doc Rivers to go to Los Angeles.

“The Clippers, I know for a fact, were interested in Kevin Garnett,” Smith said. “[Chris Paul] isn’t necessarily happy right now. He wants to stay with the Clippers. I think he’s planning on staying with the Clippers because they can offer him close to $30 million more than anybody else. But he also looks at the Clippers and has reached the conclusion that he needs help on the front line, because neither Blake Griffin nor DeAndre Jordan has the requisite post-game skills to really make room for him to operate. They’re incapable of pulling guys away from the basket and being a threat on the perimeter and therefore giving Chris Paul space to operate.

“From that standpoint, once again, the Clippers have to be willing to let go of one of those guys. They would prefer it to be DeAndre Jordan, because clearly Blake Griffin has a better upside. Plus, he’s a better player. ‘€¦ As a result, in an effort to keep CP3, who’s a guy that approaches free agency and they’re looking to re-sign, they are entertaining a plethora of possibilities.”

One of those possibilities, Smith said, could involve Rivers heading to Los Angeles along with Garnett and Paul Pierce.

“According to guys that I’ve spoken to in NBA circles, the Boston Celtics would look at a guy like a KG, willing to unload him, and who knows, they may be willing to market [Garnett and Pierce] as a package deal,” Smith said. “If you’re the Clippers, obviously that’s not enough to let go of somebody like a Blake Griffin. But if you combine keeping CP3 as a priority, knowing that he wants legitimate help on his front line for the immediate future, combined with the fact that even though I believe Vinny del Negro has done a good job, there are others that don’t believe so. ‘€¦ If somehow, some way, you could get your hands on Doc Rivers in the same breath as you’re getting KG and Paul Pierce, it could be something that could be attractive. And if that’s attractive enough, if you’re Danny Ainge, and you and Doc Rivers, as much as you respect one another, you’ve just worked with one another for a long time — who knows what the situation is, but you might be willing to let Doc Rivers out of his contract.

“You’re not going to do it for Brooklyn or probably anybody within the Eastern Conference, but to move out west to Cali? That might be an attractive enough proposition for the Clippers to sit there and say, well, you know what, OK, we would let go of Blake Griffin under those circumstances.”

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Bruce Bowen on D&C: Rumored Celtics-Clippers megadeal ‘hard to fathom’ 05.07.13 at 10:29 am ET
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ESPN NBA analyst Bruce Bowen joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the playoffs and speculation about a possible megadeal between the Celtics and Clippers.

On ESPN’s “First Take” Monday, Stephen A. Smith suggested that the Celtics and Clippers might talk about a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Los Angeles for Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Smith also indicated that Doc Rivers might follow Garnett and Pierce to LA and become coach of the Clippers.

Bowen laughed at the prospects of such a deal, saying: “I find it hilarious sometimes.”

Added Bowen: “That’s difficult to see, the LA Clippers giving up Blake Griffin, No. 1. And No. 2, they want to build around that ball club, and that’s Chris Paul and him and DeAndre Jordan, I believe. So, that one there, that’s a little hard to fathom.”

The Clippers rumor aside, there continue to be reports that Pierce and Garnett might have played their final game as Celtics. While both are under contract, they could retire or the team could package either or both in an attempt to acquire younger talent.

Bowen said he would prefer that the team keep its stars and add complementary players rather than blow it all up and start over.

“You’ve got to continue to put pieces along the side of your core. ‘€¦ You just keep adding pieces to it,” Bowen said. “That allows you to keep that standard that you have. And in the process, you hope to find a diamond in the rough that will be able to replace one of the key components.

“Unfortunately, we saw the huge loss of Rajon Rondo this year. And trust me, I believe that if he’s there, they beat the Knicks in that series. But it didn’t happen. You look at the bench. Boston went through a plethora of injuries this year. So, you really try to find guys that can fit into some of those roles as far as coming in, adding to what Paul was doing, adding to what KG was doing. When you have that, that’s where you’re able to make the best moves and the best decisions.”

Added Bowen: “When you start breaking up teams it’s an immediate rebuild. But I think there’s a way of rebuilding where you’re still competitive, where you’re still able to put a great product on the floor. And that’s what it boils down to right now, is bringing out a great product. What are we going to be able to do. Can we put out something that is nice out there, where our fans can be proud of. Even if we’re not winning like we used to, especially in Boston, they just want to see somebody playing hard and giving their best effort. If you can have something like that that is competitive, that’s the way you continue to — and from the business side, keep the fans in the seats and continue to keep the support of the white and green.”

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