|Celtics free agent options at power forward redux||12.02.11 at 5:32 pm ET|
Welcome to the fifth and final part of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — as well as two other critical positions (backup point guards and small forwards), so we move to the final piece of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘s puzzle: Backup Power Forwards.
The Celtics started this past season with a surefire Hall of Fame four in Kevin Garnett, and backed him up with a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Glen Davis. The C’s version of assistant to the assistant regional manager rotated from Luke Harangody to ‘We Hardly Knew Ye’ Chris Johnson to Troy Murphy, with a dabble of Jeff Green, who played the four for the Thunder but is more suited to the three on the Celtics. Got all that? Good.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and should match any offer Green receives — unless another team far exceeds his qualifying offer of $5.9 million.
Davis and Murphy are free agents, and while they might sound like a buddy cop duo from Dublin, they’re actually both pretty darn good for second and third options at the four. The addition of first-round pick JaJuan Johnson — a 6-foot-10 senior power forward out of Purdue — likely makes a Murphy-type expendable. But even with Garnett, Green and Johnson expected to be on the 2011-12 roster, the Celtics should seek one more power forward option, in case Johnson isn’t ready and to leave Green on the wing.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup power forward, separating the current free agent players into four categories and forgetting about David West, because that ain’t happening.
|Celtics free agent options at small forward redux||12.01.11 at 5:39 pm ET|
Welcome to Part 4 of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — as well as another critical position (backup point guards), so we move to what coach Doc Rivers called a pressing concern during the 2010-11 season: Backup Small Forwards.
The Celtics began last season with starter Paul Pierce and only swingman Marquis Daniels to spare the nine-time All-Star from playing heavy minutes at the 3. Once Daniels went down in February with a season-ending spinal injury, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was forced to make a deal for depth behind Pierce. Enter Jeff Green, who remains a restricted free agent after the Celtics extended a $5.91 million offer in June.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million) and should match any offer Green receives.
The Celtics would be wise to pick up another player capable of spelling Pierce to ensure they aren’t handcuffed by the lack of depth at the position again, even if they re-sign Green. Obviously the C’s won’t be dedicating much more money beyond those two to small forwards, but they need to find as many inexpensive versatile options (2-3 or 3-4 guys) as possible to eat up minutes for their three aging stars.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup small forward (barring overseas exports), separating the current free agent players into four categories.
|Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge show the love for Rajon Rondo||at 1:29 pm ET|
They admitted on Thursday in an 18-minute briefing with reporters at the team’s practice facility that trade rumors involving their point guard are part of the uncontrollable business of the new-world NBA where there’s labor peace but no ratified deal in place yet to allow general managers and coaches to have direct contact with players.
“I’ll talk to Rondo,” Ainge said. “Rondo will be fine. Rondo knows that we love him. He’s excited to come back and play basketball. He gets a lot of attention. He’s a great player. There’s a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. How these rumors get out is unfortunate but we didn’t leak those rumors out and we’ll deal with it. He’ll be fine.”
“There’s a reason when whatever this thing leaked out, it was all over the news,” Rivers added. “It’s because the players they were talking about are both really good. Rondo has established that with his play. He is a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team. He should be flattered, in a way, that this is news.”
As big a deal as trading Rondo would be, Ainge has an even bigger issue at hand – filling out the roster before training camp and the season opener on Christmas.
“We have about eight players to sign, that’s not including our draft players, which we’re in the process of getting signed,” Ainge said. Read the rest of this entry »
|Irish Coffee: Celtics Rumors 911 (Episode 3)||at 1:00 pm ET|
Although they can’t sign anyone to contracts until Dec. 9, NBA teams are now officially allowed to reach out to free agents. Since the Celtics have only six players under contract, they’ll probably be linked to just about every name out there, especially big men (i.e., Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Kwame Brown, etc.) and backup swingmen (i.e., Shane Battier, Grant Hill, etc.). Here’s a rundown of the rumor mill from the past 24 hours.
|Doc Rivers doesn’t expect any comps from Bobby Valentine||at 11:39 am ET|
Rivers, who was back in rare form in front of a microphone on Thursday at the Celtics practice facility, was asked whether he has the kind of relationship with the new Red Sox manager that he had with Terry Francona.
Rivers was with the Knicks in the early 1990s while Valentine came onto the scene in New York in 1996 as manager of the Mets. The two lived in Stamford, Conn.
Rivers told reporters he didn’t get any free meals at Valentine’s restaurant, which is also in the birth city of the new Red Sox manager.
“I know Bobby a little bit, actually when I was with the Knicks one thousand years ago,” Rivers said. “I got to know him a little bit. We lived in the same town in Stamford. I ate a “Bobby V’s” quite a bit. I can tell you he doesn’t comp. I can tell you that much about him. I had to pay.”
As for Francona, Rivers said he keeps in touch with the former Red Sox skipper, who was a huge Celtics fan during his time in Boston.
“Tito, we talk,” Rivers said. “He’s one of my favorite people. I’ll miss him.”
|Celtics free agent options at point guard redux||11.30.11 at 5:57 pm ET|
Welcome to Part 3 of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We have already profiled the C’s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — so we move to a less pressing but critical position: Backup Point Guards.
The Celtics started and finished the 2010-11 season with three additional players capable of handling the point guard position behind two-time All-Star starter Rajon Rondo on the 15-man roster: Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson (before trade) and Carlos Arroyo (after trade). Only Rondo and Bradley remain, so it stands to reason that the Celtics will sign at least one more floor general.
The C’s targets depend on how confident they are in Bradley and how cheaply they can find a reliable backup (or third-string). As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.
Signed through 2014-15, Rondo cemented himself as the franchise’s foundation (until this week’s rumors), and Bradley — under their control until his restricted free agency in 2014-15 — is slotted as the backup of the future. As a result, the C’s ideally would seek a veteran pure point guard and/or a capable combo guard who wouldn’t completely destroy their chances should Rondo’s injury issues persist and Bradley prove ill-prepared for big minutes. Arroyo and West fit those descriptions, but both might be too expensive or require more minutes.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into five categories. Read the rest of this entry »
|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo rumors, fact and fiction||at 9:14 am ET|
When rumors started flying that team president Danny Ainge has included Rondo in trade discussions, there was always only one player who could possibly be on the other end of that conversation: Chris Paul.
With nobody to take over the reins in Rondo’s absence, the Celtics would have to land another point guard in return for the two-time All-Star. And considering the attractiveness of Rondo’s contract (4 years, $44 million remaining), that floor general would have to be decidedly better than Rajon Rondo.
In my mind, that list includes two names: Derrick Rose and Paul. There is no way in hell the Bulls are trading the reigning NBA MVP, so that leaves Paul, whose impending free agency puts him on the bargaining table.
Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick confirmed that notion on Tuesday, citing numerous sources in claiming Ainge “is highly motivated” to land the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year. Colleague Paul Flannery explained why the exchange makes painstaking sense but may require a third team to get done. And Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the C’s have made calls to the Pacers for just that reason.
The 26-year-old Paul has averaged 18.7 points (47.1 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 85.3 FT%), 9.9 assists and 2.4 steals in six NBA seasons, decidedly better numbers than the 25-year-old Rondo (10.7 points, 48.6 FG%, 24.2 3P%, 62.2 FT%, 7.6 assists, 1.9 steals) on a decidedly worse team.
While Rondo is one of the five best point guards in the NBA, Paul is one of the five best players in the league. That’s why Ainge is exploring the trade. And if it falls through, as ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher suggested it would, there’s nobody more stubborn than Rondo to prove Ainge, me and everybody else wrong.
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