|Isaiah Thomas: Playing with DeMarcus Cousins again ‘would be something special’||07.14.15 at 9:54 am ET|
During Isaiah Thomas‘ trip abroad for the NBA 3X Spain three-on-three basketball tournament last month, the Celtics guard conducted an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario AS as a precursor to the team’s preseason game against Real Madrid on Oct. 8. He touched on subjects as wide-ranging as DeMarcus Cousins and Floyd Mayweather.
Here are a few highlights roughly translated from the original interview.
When will we see the Celtics fighting for another ring?
“In the next two years. That is the plan. Danny Ainge is trying to build a winning team from scratch. I hope to be part of that future and reach that goal.”
And so, what is the way to go?
“As easy as getting us a couple more good players. That is what we need. I hope that this summer we can do really well in the market for free agents, which already being a playoff team will take us to the next level. The most important thing for us is getting a big man and starting from there to continue to grow. I’d like to be able to persuade Marc Gasol to come to the Celtics.”
NOTE: Keep in mind, this interview was conducted prior to free agency and shortly after Thomas joked on Twitter about recruiting Gasol during his trip to Europe.
Going to Spain next week. Maybe I run into a really talented big man LOL
‘ Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) June 12, 2015
And DeMarcus Cousins?
“[Laughs.] It would be something special to join him in the locker room again. For me, he is among the best big men in the world: He is intelligent, and there aren’t many big men with his talent …”
|Would Danilo Gallinari represent an upgrade for Celtics?||at 8:39 am ET|
The Celtics aren’t content with their current roster. That much we know. They’re stocked with good players, but fresh out of great ones, and team president Danny Ainge has openly discussed the C’s need for star power.
But is Nuggets wing Danilo Gallinari the answer? Ainge explored a trade with Denver, and while nothing resulted from the discussion, sources told the Boston Herald a deal for the 26-year-old “could be revived.”
His versatility as a 6-foot-10 wing whose shooting can stretch the floor certainly fits Celtics coach Brad Stevens‘ system, but Gallo was hardly a star even before an ACL tear cost him more than a year of his prime.
After missing the entire 2013-14 NBA season, Gallinari regained form after the All-Star break in 2015, averaging 18.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range over his final 24 appearances. Those numbers would make him an upgrade over any other wing on the C’s roster, including newly signed Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson. His defense when healthy has also steadily improved since his early days on the Knicks.
And while Gallinari would be an upgrade in the short term, his expiring $11.6 million contract would also maintain the Celtics’ flexibility for the long haul, as is the case with soon-to-be C’s forward David Lee, whose expiring $15.5 million deal comes off the books next summer.
Because the Celtics landed Lee for Gerald Wallace‘s expiring contract, they surely would be looking to make a similarly lopsided deal for Gallinari, which is likely where the talks stalled.
Even if the Gallinari discussion is dead and gone, though, Ainge’s interest at least offers an indication of the team’s thinking. For the time being, it does not appear there is a star available on the trade market, so the Celtics are looking for players who will improve the roster now and not limit their ability to land a better one at the trade deadline or in free agency next summer.
Either that, or the Celtics were simply interested in fulfilling their Italian stallion quota with the dearly departed Gigi Datome signing with Euroleague power Fenerbahce overnight.
|Celtics summer league scouting reports: Marcus Smart, James Young, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey||07.08.15 at 1:03 pm ET|
Before we get to our Celtics scouting reports, a few quick thoughts …
- Are we ever going to see Colton Iverson in a Celtics uniform?
- Isn’t it time CSNNE stops advertising its free agency coverage?
- Has somebody told C.J. Fair to stop shooting yet?
- Should we be concerned when Marcus Smart, James Young, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey closed Monday’s loss to the Utah Jazz as a unit, and Rodney Hood was the best player on the floor?
- How long until Jay Larranaga becomes a head coach in the NBA?
… OK, now to the scouting reports. We’ve seen some good and some bad from each of the young C’s in Monday’s 100-82 loss to the Jazz and Tuesday’s 76-62 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Below are the pros and cons we’ve seen so far.
- Jazz 100, Celtics 82: 26 points (6-20 FG, 2-10 3P, 12-13 FT), eight assists (2 turnovers), five rebounds, two steals and one block in 30 minutes.
- Sixers 76, Celtics 62: DNP (rest)
+ Getting to the rim: Using strength to get to basket and draw fouls more often
+ Court savvy: Drawing fouls, posting up smaller defenders, etc.
+ Elite defender: Stopped quick guards Dante Exum and Bryce Cotton in tracks
+ Pick and roll: Improved orchestration of game’s most important offensive play
+ Grit: Constantly fighting for position and not afraid of contact on both ends
+ Court vision: Improved decision-making on interior passes
+ Defensive rebounding: Size and strength helps assist bigs on the glass
— Shot selection: Way too many contested long 2’s and 3’s early in the shot clock
— Shooting form: Still doesn’t square up his feet enough
— Gambler: Can be beat backdoor defensively off the ball
— Reputation: Seemingly inadvertent elbow on Jack Cooley earned a flagrant foul
- Jazz 100, Celtics 82: 12 points (4-11 FG, 1-5 3P, 3-4 FT), three rebounds and one assist (1 turnover) in 30 minutes.
- Sixers 76, Celtics 62: Nine points (2-11 FG, 1-7 3P, 4-5 FT), one rebound, one steal and zero assists (0 turnovers) in 21 minutes.
|Source: Celtics trade Gerald Wallace for David Lee||07.07.15 at 3:04 pm ET|
The Celtics acquired David Lee from the Warriors in exchange for Gerald Wallace, a source has confirmed. Tommy Dee first reported the deal, which will be completed when the moratorium is lifted on Thursday.
Lee will make $15.5 million in the final year of his contract, roughly $5.4 million more than Wallace will before his deal also expires in July 2016.
Lee, 31, is just two years removed from his second All-Star appearance. He averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in just 18.4 minutes on a loaded Golden State team this past season. For his career, he has produced 14.7 points, 9.5 boards and 2.3 assists in 31.5 minutes a night over 10 seasons.
Wallace, 32, was respected in the locker room despite averaging 8.9 minutes in 2014-15, earning the nickname “Uncle Gerald” from his young C’s teammates. The Warriors are expected to cut Wallace and stretch his $10.1 million contract over three seasons, saving an estimated $12.2 million in salary and the resulting luxury tax penalty.
Meanwhile, the Celtics add another defensive liability to a frontcourt replete with power forwards. Lee has dealt with back and hamstring injuries that cost him 33 games and his starting job in 2014-15. Still, his history when healthy suggests he could be the C’s best scorer and rebounder in the post, as his field goal percentage at the rim (63.7) and rebounding percentage (15.7) both bested Jared Sullinger’s numbers this past year (60.6 and 15.4).
There is some question as to how Lee fits into Brad Stevens‘ system, as he does not stretch the floor offensively or shrink it defensively. Don’t rule out his inclusion in a trade closer to the deadline, when his expiring $15.5 million deal will be more attractive to teams in need of salary cap relief entering the highly anticipated summer of 2016.
|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.”
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