|What now? Examining 2015-16 Celtics roster||07.02.15 at 8:41 am ET|
With Wednesday’s reported signings of Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko to a combined annual average value of $24 million, the Celtics have pushed right up against the projected $67.1 million salary cap for 2015-16.
Using Basketball Insiders cap guru Eric Pincus’ projections, the C’s now have roughly $66.1 million committed to 14 players, and that doesn’t include either of their second-round picks or non-guaranteed deals for Phil Pressey and Chris Babb.
On draft night, Celtics coach Brad Stevens gave us an idea of how he views a roster, which helps explain why the organization coveted versatile forwards Johnson, Crowder and Jerebko into the fold this week.
“Everybody starts with ones, twos, threes, fours and fives when they’re looking at a basketball team,” said Stevens. “I look at ball handlers, wings, swings and bigs. I’ve only got four categories. The more guys that can play the more positions the better. Right now when you look at our roster, I think we’ve got three of the four categories with a lot of depth. That swing area — where you can go three/four and play that way — that’s the area we’re going to have to address as we move into the next few weeks.”
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Celtics roster as currently constructed.
|Report: Celtics agree to 2-year deal with Amir Johnson||07.01.15 at 3:43 pm ET|
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Johnson averaged 9.3 points (60.3 true shooting percentage), 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 26.4 minutes for the Toronto Raptors last season, producing a 15.4 player efficiency rating. The 28-year-old shot 41.3 percent on just 46 3-point attempts in 2014-15. Johnson has averaged 7.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 blocks in 22.6 minutes a night over a 10-year career for the Raptors and Detroit Pistons.
While the $12 million price tag may seem steep, the Celtics have struggled luring free agents to Boston, and the short-term nature of the deal as well as the looming salary cap increase make it a bit easier to accept the fact the C’s just made Amir Johnson the highest-paid member of the team.
The signing also brings into question whether the Celtics would still be in the market for Tobias Harris and/or Jae Crowder, who fill a similar role.
|Danny Ainge on not moving up: ‘Maybe we were going too hard at it’||06.26.15 at 1:17 am ET|
In the end, moving up into the prized Top 10 of the 2015 NBA draft was not in the cards for Danny Ainge.
“I’m not disappointed,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations. “We tried. It just didn’t happen.
“We tried hard. We tried hard to trade up. We spent the last couple of weeks trying to move, and really today was the only time we had any indication that we could move up. But we were trying. At the end of the day, it’s like Red used to say, sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make. Maybe we were going too hard at it. And there was a time when I thought, ‘Whoa, this is getting a little out of control. We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket.’
“So, I’m not frustrated. And, in the long run maybe it’ll be the best.”
The “one young player’s basket” may be a reference to the rumor of the Celtics’ effort to move up to No. 9 earlier in the day, trying reportedly to nab small forward Justise Winslow of Duke. There were reports that the team was going to part with Jared Sullinger and ship him to Charlotte. Sullinger had reportedly even followed the Hornets on Twitter and stopped following the Celtics.
Ainge could only laugh.
“The fans feed into what’s being written and said a lot, too,” Ainge said. “I did say we would try to move up. The price was way too high. There’s so many rumors out there. There are so many things are being said and written that aren’t even close to being true, that are just made-up stories. No sources and fake sources and people get caught up in these rumors and their expectations grow even higher. Don’t you think?”
Did he come close? “Yeah, we thought we were close,” Ainge said.
Instead, Ainge stayed put and made selections at all four of his spots going into the night. He took Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33 and Marcus Thornton at No. 45. Three of them, Rozier, Hunter and Thornton are guards, adding to an already crowded and jumbled backcourt.
“Listen, it all comes down to how good the players are that we have,” Ainge said. “It doesn’t matter what I say about it. We’ll just wait and see how good they are. We like the guys we have and I think our fans are going to enjoy them.”
Ainge had said he was looking for quality over quantity, and was not likely to make all four picks. He reiterated Thursday that he won’t be able to keep all four picks on the active roster, instead will try to stash them in Europe.
“No, we don’t have room on the roster for all four guys, most likely,” Ainge admitted. “We probably don’t have room for them so we’ll work out deals where guys can play overseas in some of the situations.”
|Terry Rozier knows Celtics fans are ‘crazy about basketball,’ pledges willingness to compete for spot||at 12:47 am ET|
Terry Rozier will have his hands full to make the Celtics crowded backcourt.
But listening to the 21-year-old product of Louisville, the guard is more than up for the challenge.
“I came in for two workouts so I had a pretty good feeling about it,” Rozier said during a conference call after being selected with Boston’s first of two first-round picks. “It worked out well. Danny Ainge is a great guy. Stevens is a real great guy. He’s really interactive with his guys. It was just amazing.”
With names like Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart already on the roster, Rozier will have to battle with those veterans and fellow rookies R.J. Hunter (Georgia State) and Marcus Thornton (William and Mary) to make an impression.
“I’m very excited,” Rozier said. “I know the tradition. Fans are crazy about basketball. And I’m just to excited to be a part of something like this. I’m just to ready to bring something to the table.
“It’s kind of the same thing I went through with a lot of guards when [Louisville] won the national championship [in 2013]. I just want to come in and bring the Celtics the same kind of defense, find my way to fit on the floor and compete. That’s my thing. I’m not worried about who’s there. I’m worried about how can I get on the floor and things like that.”
One of the big influences, naturally, has been his coach at Louisville and former Celtics coach Rick Pitino.
“He was a big help,” Rozier said. “He helped me relax. He knows the area [in Boston]. He talked to me every day. He was a guy in my corner, in my ear, just giving me the confidence.”
|Celtics add LSU’s Jordan Mickey, William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton in second round||06.25.15 at 11:18 pm ET|
The Celtics selected LSU sophomore power forward Jordan Mickey with the No. 33 pick, the first of their two selections in the second round.
The C’s added William & Mary senior point guard Marcus Thornton with the 45th pick, their fourth and final selection of the night.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Mickey averaged 15.4 points (50.4 FG%), 9.9 rebounds, 3.6 blocks and 1.3 assists in 34.9 minutes over 31 games, leading the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament berth. For WEEI.com’s draft prospect profile on Mickey, click here.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Thornton averaged 20.0 points (45.6 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 83.0 FT%), 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 36.7 minutes over 33 games.
Stevens said he expects all of the team’s picks to compete in summer league play.
|Celtics select Georgia State SG R.J. Hunter with 28th pick||at 10:50 pm ET|
The Celtics selected Georgia State junior shooting guard R.J. Hunter with the No. 28 pick in the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-6 sharpshooter is best remembered for leading GSU to an upset of Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 19.7 points on 14.7 shots (39.5 FG%, 30.5 3P%, 87.8 FT%) to go along with 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals and a block in 37 minutes over 35 games.
For WEEI.com’s draft prospect profile on Hunter, click here.
|Celtics select Louisville PG Terry Rozier with 16th pick||at 9:26 pm ET|
As Duke freshman wing Justise Winslow slid down the draft, word of the Celtics desperately trying to trade into the No. 9 spot spread like wildfire. But that came and went, as did every other lottery pick until Danny Ainge was on the clock at No. 16.
And while most prognosticators forecasted the Celtics selecting energetic Arkansas big man Bobby Portis or skilled Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker, Ainge surprised just about everyone by taking a point guard with his first pick for the second consecutive season, adding Louisville sophomore Terry Rozier to a backcourt that already includes Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner and James Young. But who’s counting?
Moments after the Celtics drafted Rozier, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas suggested, “The only downside is that he’s small and he’s not a great shooter,” fueling confusion over a player who was projected in most mock drafts to be available when Ainge drafted again at No. 28.
Meanwhile, Rozier celebrated by jumping into a swimming pool with his clothes on. “It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said during a conference call. Asked what he knew about the Celtics, Rozier added, “I know their tradition. Most winning team in basketball.” And thus begins his NBA career.
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