|Report: Celtics not planning aggressive pursuit of free agent Dwight Howard||06.30.16 at 11:25 am ET|
Las Vegas recently labeled the Celtics the favorites to land former All-Star center Dwight Howard, but reporters covering the team are hearing a different story.
Regarding Dwight Howard, hearing that right now Celtics have no plans for aggressive pursuit. Will always listen to see if a price is right.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 29, 2016
Himmelsbach covers the Celtics for the Globe, and frankly, his version of events makes more sense than a rabid pursuit of Howard, who has aged very quickly, even though he’s only 30. The eight-time All-Star averaged just 13.7 points last season for the Rockets, the lowest total since he put up 12 a game as a 19-year-old rookie in 2004-05.
Also, after missing just three games in his first six seasons, Howard has broken down in recent years, missing 63 games over the last three seasons.
For his career, he averages 17.8 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks a game. There’s a question of how he’d fit in the system of Celtics coach Brad Stevens, since Howard is a back-to-the-basket post player who doesn’t stretch defenses.
Howard recently declined his $23.2 million player option with the Rockets to become a free agent.
Kevin Durant may be the prize, and Dwight Howard an intriguing possibility, but the Celtics aren’t taking any piece of their roster for granted.
To that end, they plan to offer qualifying offers to big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. Per Steve Bulpett of the Herald:
According to league-related sources, Celts to give qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger & Tyler Zeller, making them restricted free agents.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) June 29, 2016
Qualifying offers must be made by Thursday, and extending them allows the Celtics to match any offer sheet Zeller and/or Sullinger sign in restricted free agency. Otherwise, they would’ve become unrestricted free agents.
Sullinger’s offer will be for $4,433,683, while Zeller’s one-year offer is for $3,695,169, according to the Herald.
Sullinger averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds this year, though he was ineffective against the Hawks in the playoffs. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds, falling out of Brad Stevens’ rotation at times.
|Report: Mom of late Celtics star Reggie Lewis would be OK with team un-retiring No. 35 for Kevin Durant||06.28.16 at 7:49 pm ET|
Reggie Lewis passed away nearly 23 years ago, but the late Celtics star’s mom believes the team could honor his memory in an unexpected way — by giving his retired No. 35 to Kevin Durant.
That’s according to Kevin O’Connor of CSNNE, who got Lewis’ mom, Inez Ritch, on the phone recently.
“I don’t think it would take anything from Reggie because his number is still hanging up in the Garden,” she told O’Connor. “If I see Durant running up and down the court with the No. 35, I don’t know how my emotions would be until it happens.
“I don’t think I would be upset about it. I think it would be a good thing, because he is a very nice, humble young man. I don’t know a lot about him, but I know of some of the things he has achieved while wearing the No. 35.”
The similarities between the two players are obvious, O’Connor notes, with both Lewis and Durant lanky scorers who could shoot over the top or dunk at the rim. Lewis was just entering the prime of his career when he collapsed and died in July of 1993 at age 27 while shooting baskets at Brandeis.
Durant is an All-Star and former MVP who has the Celtics on his list of six teams that he’ll meet during free agency.
Add Lewis’s retired number to the list of enticements the Celtics could potentially offer to get him in green.
|Jaylen Brown learned first-hand about NBA intensity during recent 1-on-1 game with Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler||06.23.16 at 9:48 pm ET|
Jaylen Brown learned about NBA intensity from a name Celtics fans lusted after — Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Because Brown and Butler share a trainer, they worked out together before the draft. A workout turned into a game one of one-on-one. They planned to play three.
“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”
Brown wouldn’t reveal who won, but he’ll have a chance to renew acquaintances with Butler and the rest of the NBA’s most versatile swingmen after being selected third overall by the Celtics in Thursday’s NBA draft.
“Boston is a great city full of culture, full of life, education, things that mean a lot to me,” Brown said. “I’m super excited. I cannot wait to get there and can’t wait to get everything started, can’t wait for the season to start, and I’m happy to be a part of the family.”
After taking Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Celtics used the 16th pick on Guerschon Yabusele, a relatively unknown 20-year old prospect from France. Yabusele is a 6-foot-8 forward who last played for Rouen Métropole Basket in the French A division. With his outside shooting ability and athleticism, Yabusele projects to be a small-ball four.
In most mock drafts, Yabusele was not projected to be selected until the second round. The Celtics already have a relatively full roster, and according to Yahoo Sports, the team will likely stash Yabusele in France as he continues to develop. Rouen was relegated to the French B division, so there is a chance that Yabusele will use this as an opportunity to make the jump to the NBA. The Celtics still have the 23rd pick in the first round, as well as five second-round picks.
Yabusele, 20, averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year. He’s considered a more advanced offensive player than defender, with NBA 3-point range and the ability to finish at the rim.
“Nobody was expecting,” Yabusele said when asked if he thought he’d be picked so high. “I see them coming close to me, see my name. So I was really surprised to be in here, but I was so happy.”
As for remaining in Europe for a year or two, Yabusele sounded open to the possibility.
“It’s not a problem for me,” he said. “Even if I got to go one year, two years in Europe, in another country and play, I’ll go. I just want to play in the NBA and try to be better, so it’s great.”
|Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge meets with agent for Kevin Love, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Ingram||06.16.16 at 5:31 pm ET|
According to a Twitter report from Andrew Perna of RealGM, Celtics president Danny Ainge met with the agent for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and impending free agent Harrison Barnes this week in New York.
Perna reports that Ainge spoke with agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents potential top-two pick Brandon Ingram of Duke. The report doesn’t specify what was discussed, but notes that such meetings are common.
Not at all uncommon for execs. to meet with agents, but Ainge may be looking to see if Love will be available.
— Andrew Perna (@Andrew_Perna) June 16, 2016
Ainge could’ve been inquiring on Barnes, who is expected to receive in the neighborhood of a max contract this offseason after filling an everyman role for the Golden State Warriors.
He also, more intriguingly, could’ve been feeling out Schwartz informally on the potential availability of Love this summer after two relatively lackluster seasons with the Cavaliers in the shadow of LeBron James.
Love has never meshed perfectly in Cleveland, and the Celtics have shown interest in the 27-year-old in the past, including two years ago, when he was spotted at a Red Sox game with then-Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The Celtics were unable to swing a deal with Minnesota at that time, though, and Love was instead traded to Cleveland to form a new Big Three with James and Kyrie Irving.
|Report: Sixers prefer to trade Jahlil Okafor over Nerlens Noel||06.13.16 at 4:02 pm ET|
With the NBA draft 10 days away, the rumor mill continues to churn, with the latest report suggesting the Philadelphia 76ers have decided which big man they’d like to deal away — Jahlil Okafor.
According to Philly.com, the Sixers would rather deal Okafor than fellow youngster Nerlens Noel, because they feel they can get a better return for Okafor, who last year became their first rookie since Allen Iverson to lead the team in scoring.
Okafor is recovering from knee surgery and told a Duke podcast that he hopes to return to the court shortly.
The Sixers are expected to take LSU’s Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, adding another big man to a crowded young frontcourt. The Sixers chose Okafor No. 3 overall last year, and they acquired the rights to Noel after the Pelicans selected the Malden native with the sixth overall pick in 2013.
The Celtics were linked to Okafor at the trade deadline, but there are concerns over his fit in Boston, since he’s not a great rim protector and generally plays with his back to the basket. He averaged 17.5 points a game last year.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason