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Chris Mannix on MFB: David Lee ‘arguably the most talented guy’ in Celtics frontcourt 07.08.15 at 1:02 pm ET
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David Lee is coming off a championship season with the Warriors. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

David Lee is coming off a championship season with the Warriors. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated appeared on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Celtics and the recent acquisition of David Lee from the Warriors. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

On Tuesday, news broke that the Celtics had traded Gerald Wallace to the NBA champion Warriors for power forward David Lee. Lee is owed $15.5 million in the final year of his contract next season. Mannix said he expects Lee to contribute and be productive for the Celtics.

“I think that you’re trading a guy in Wallace that gave you nothing last year for a player in David Lee who, in my mind, can still be a pretty consistent 16- to 18-point per game scorer, eight- to 10-rebound guy. He’s arguably the most talented guy right now in that Celtics frontcourt,” Mannix said.

Mannix estimated that the addition of Lee could help the Celtics win as many as an extra three to five games. In earning the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, the team went 40-42 last season.

“You’ve now got some flexibility with those frontcourt positions. You have a guy in Lee who’s proven that he can rebound the basketball and he can score within that 15-foot area,” Mannix said. “I think the Celtics got a little more dynamic offensively with this addition of David Lee.”

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Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10′ of NBA draft 06.23.15 at 2:06 pm ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics draft plan and the rumors surrounding DeMarcus Cousins. To hear the full interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

With reports emerging that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and two first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the third overall selection, Mannix speculated that Smart could be moved at any point leading up to the draft.

“I heard that last night and I … couldn’t nail down all the details of the Philadelphia conversation, but I heard the Celtics were talking Marcus Smart and Nerlens Noel with the Sixers,” Mannix said. “… That’s why I wrote that anyone on the roster was available. But I believe it to be true now that it’s been put out there. I don’t think Boston is actively trying to dump Marcus Smart by any stretch, but I think Danny Ainge and the Celtics are looking to do anything they possibly can to get into that top-five, specifically the top-three because that’s where I think the true impact players are in this draft. You’re talking about either bigs or a point guard like D’Angelo Russell. Marcus Smart is available in the right deal any time in the next couple of days.”

Mannix continued to discuss Ainge’s trade plans, predicting the Celtics will trade up for a lottery pick.

“I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10,” Mannix said. “Three might be a leap. … I don’t think [the Celtics] are going to get that high, but pick number six with Sacramento is available. We’ve all heard the DeMarcus Cousins talk that’s out there, and that pick could be packaged with Cousins in a blockbuster deal with the Kings that probably wouldn’t involve Boston. But if the Cousins talk falls through, I think the Kings are more than willing to move back into the teens, in exchange for some kind of serviceable role player.

“I don’t know who that could mean on Boston’s roster, it could be [Jared] Sullinger, it could be [Kelly] Olynyk, it could be any number of guys. No. 9 I think is available too with Charlotte. The Hornets just made that Lance Stephenson trade with the Clippers, they got back Spencer Hawes, but they still have a gaping hole at the two-guard spot. And if Devin Booker, who is the 18-year-old two-guard from Kentucky, is off the board by No. 9, and I think he will be … I think the Hornets would be inclined to move back into a position where they can take R.J. Hunter later on in the draft. … I think Danny’s in a great position to move into the top-10 which is why I say at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t get into the top 10.”

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Read More: 2015 NBA draft, Chris Mannix, D'Angelo Russell, Danny Ainge
Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘I just don’t think that Boston has enough’ to acquire top pick 06.25.14 at 10:16 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics and the NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Celtics hold the No. 6 and 17 picks in Thursday’s draft, but the C’s reportedly are interested in acquiring the top overall pick from the Cavaliers.

“If Boston moves up in the draft it’s to get the player they want,” Mannix said. “And I think there are a couple of cornerstone players still available in [Andrew Wiggins] and [Jabari Parker] that can change the shape of a franchise. I don’t think Boston has abandoned the pursuit of Kevin Love by any stretch.

“Cleveland, really since they won the lottery, has let teams know that if you’ve got an offer for the No. 1 pick, we’re willing to listen to it. David Griffin, the GM out there, has been reluctant to trade it, but certainly he’s been fielding offers.

“I just don’t think that Boston has enough. ‘€¦ I just think it’s a long shot at best that the Celtics are able to get in that position.”

If the Celtics were to obtain the top pick, Mannix said general manager Danny Ainge would be deciding between Wiggins and Parker after Joel Embiid‘s stock fell following a foot injury.

“Danny has had a thing for Jabari Parker for a while. He scouted him extensively,” Mannix said. “The Celtics think that he can come into the NBA and be a ready-made scorer immediately at either forward spot when he gets there.

“Andrew Wiggins, I just see teams having a hard time passing him up with the top overall pick. I thought that he would’ve been a tough call for Cleveland if Joel Embiid were healthy. I just think Wiggins, even though he’s got some issues with his aggressiveness and he’s going to have to polish the game once he gets to the pros, the games you saw him play at Kansas, when he was on he was spectacular. He’s a two-way player, can defend multiple positions already.

“I just see him being the biggest star in this draft, and I include Joel Embiid in that mix.”

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Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘Kevin [Love] knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston’ 06.03.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics and Kevin Love. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Love’s name has sparked trade rumors since the power forward made it clear that he does not plan to re-sign with Minnesota after next season. The Celtics are one of those teams that appear to be interested, which is why Mannix said it’s no coincidence he was spotted in Boston this past weekend.

“I think it’€™s worth getting excited about,” Mannix said. “I think that Kevin knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston. I grew up there, I love the town, but nobody vacations in Boston this time of year. The guy just finished a long season, why wouldn’t he go home to Washington state or go back to Southern California to take a break? I think there was a reason for that trip.

“Look, he’€™s made it clear through his representatives to Minnesota that he has no intentions of re-signing there after next season. They’€™re going to opt out of the contract and they’€™re going to look elsewhere for better opportunities. … I don’€™t think it happens before the draft, but sometime this offseason I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Love is moved.”

Mannix said he doesn’t expect Love to be dealt before the draft due to “salary cap ramifications.” But, he said Love’s trip to Boston was meant to “put a little more pressure on Minnesota to make a move.”

“I think there’€™s a subliminal message there. He’€™s putting it right in Flip Saunders‘€™ face,” Mannix said. “Look, Flip reacted to it somewhat negatively. … I don’€™t think they were entirely pleased with Kevin’€™s trip to Boston, the fanfare that it received. I guess if he wanted to he kind of could’ve flown under the radar, but he was at moments pause taking pictures with people, showing up at Red Sox games, taking a picture with Rajon Rondo, bumping into Rajon Rondo in the stadium. What are the odds that was a coincidence?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics ‘got the most they could possibly get’ for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett 06.28.13 at 10:28 am ET
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NBA insider Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the Sports Illustrated senior writer commended Danny Ainge and the Celtics for pulling off a blockbuster trade Thursday, agreeing to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for a package headlined by the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks.

The trade stings a bit at first, sure, Mannix said, but the Celtics got great return for a pair of older players with big contracts.

‘€œBoston got the most they could possibly get for both these players,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œI’€™m going to be honest guys, I’€™m not sure they could’€™ve gotten a better haul for them. I’€™m not sure there is another team out there that would have absorbed one or both of those players and given the Celtics more in return.

‘€œIt’€™s a tough pill to swallow because in the short term you don’€™t get a whole heck of a lot in the players they get back. ‘€¦ Regardless, they get immeasurably worse in the short term, but I don’€™t know if they could have gotten more for those players.’€

Mannix said Thursday’€™s deal is a very, very risky one for Brooklyn. The organization has in effect given itself a one-year window to win, and it could very well ‘€œbackfire in their faces.’€

‘€œThe Nets are throwing all of their eggs into this one season and hoping they can find a way to get the chemistry to come together and challenge for a championship,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œThrow in the fact that I have no idea how Jason Kidd is going to be able to coach these guys. I say this half in jest, but I’€™m almost expecting Kidd to resign in midseason and activate himself and hand over coaching responsibilities to Lawrence Frank so he can get one more ring as a player as a backup. It’€™s just a bizarre situation out there.’€

The Celtics, meanwhile, could flip Humphries to the Bobcats for guard Ben Gordon, a deal Mannix said Brooklyn and Charlotte may have explored earlier.

Mannix also expects the Celtics to center their rebuilding around Rajon Rondo. That fact that the team didn’€™t take a point guard in the first round of the Thursday’s draft when there were several available speaks volumes about the Celtics’€™ plans.

‘€œIt’€™s a big risk, because nobody has any idea what Rondo’€™s reaction is to all this, how he’€™s going to handle being the focal point of a team that’€™s probably going to be really bad next year,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œThere’€™s no reason to believe they can’€™t try to build around Rondo these next couple of years and see what happens. If it turns out he’€™s not capable of doing it, if it turns out it’€™s not working out, you can always flip him at the trade deadline or at the start of the following season for something better in return.’€

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Chris Mannix on Mustard & Johnson: Celtics should do ‘exactly what [Danny Ainge] has been doing’ 05.04.13 at 3:09 pm ET
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With the future of the Celtics now up in the air after the six-game first-round playoff loss to the Knicks, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, in an interview on WEEI’s Mustard & Johnson show, suggested that the team should proceed in precisely the fashion in which president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has operated for some time. Mannix noted that Ainge actively explored the possibility of dealing longtime mainstays Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett leading up to this season’s trade deadline, and suggested that the Celtics should again explore the market for the duo this offseason — while remaining comfortable with the notion of bringing them back if the team is unsatisfied with the return.

“I don’t think it would be [financially] difficult to trade Pierce if you wanted to. Boston was motivated to do it the last couple years. Leading up to the trade deadline, they spoke to Brooklyn, they spoke to Atlanta, they spoke to Dallas. They were actively looking to deal Paul Pierce,” said Mannix. “They had conversations with the Clippers about Kevin Garnett and were trying to figure out a way to get a deal done for DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe. Look, they were trying to make some moves with these two guys. Boston’s issue wasn’t financial. It was that they wanted a lot in return. I remember talking to some people in the Nets organization about how much Boston wanted in return. It was a combination of draft picks and young talent.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a financial issue for the Celtics to trade either one of those players if they’re motivated to. It’s just how much less they’re willing to take back in return.

“I would do exactly what Danny’s been doing to this point,” added Mannix. “If you can trade one of them and get a lot in return, get something that you know is going to help reboot your franchise, do it. If not, hold onto them and just play this thing out, wait for their contracts to expire and play with the flexibility then.”

Mannix noted that the avenues to upgrading the Celtics roster are limited this offseason, particularly in terms of free agents. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics ‘can’t win without Rajon Rondo’ 04.24.13 at 9:51 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics, who are in a 2-0 hole against the Knicks in their Eastern Conference playoff series following Tuesday night’s 87-71 loss at Madison Square Garden.

“They can’t win without Rajon Rondo. It kind of just boils down to that,” Mannix said. “It was such a gutty first half, how they played. They defended, they made shots, Jason Terry was big for them. But the second half, when the Knicks came out with a modicum of defensive intensity, they could do nothing, because they don’t have anyone on the floor that knows how to manufacture shots. [Paul] Pierce did the best he could, but it was pretty clear to me that the Knicks were loading up on him and really putting a focus on keeping him under control in the second half, contesting more shots in the second half. And without Rondo, they got nothing in the paint. Everything was a contested jump shot off one or two passes.

“In a lot of ways, it’s kind of depressing to watch. Because the Knicks, they’re not a good defensive team. They were good for like five games in the month of November. Then all of a sudden they reverted back to Carmelo Anthony ball, circa 2008, and decided to outscore people. But the Knicks, when they put any kind of pressure on the Celtics last night, they just didn’t have anything in terms of playmaking that could respond.”

The Celtics were able to play well for stretches after Rondo’s season-ending ACL injury in the regular season, but Mannix noted that the style and intensity in the playoffs are a different matter.

Said Mannix: “We’ve seen first-hand the last two years what Rondo has done for this team in the playoffs — he’s been the best player on the floor every single year. ‘€¦ He just creates shots, and he wreaks havoc in the paint. You simply can’t replace that.”

Jeff Green‘s inconsistency continues to be an issue. After recording 26 points and seven rebounds in Saturday’s Game 1 loss, Green had 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting with one rebound in almost 35 minutes Tuesday.

“I don’t know what it is, other than the fact that it’s just kind of who Jeff Green is at this point,” Mannix said. “He has been a workhorse for him in the second half of the season, and so many nights you can see just that talent. But I can tell you this: The inconsistency was maddening to Oklahoma City back in the day. They wanted to keep Jeff Green, they offered him a good contract extension. But they weren’t willing to go as high as Jeff Green wanted them to go because of that inconsistency. It was a big part of it. They didn’t know if he was going to be that guy every single night. At his best, he’s one of the most versatile forwards in the NBA, he can do a lot at either forward spot from the perimeter and on the inside. But some nights, as you mentioned, he does disappear. That’s one of the most frustrating things about Green, and that’s something I think that until he resolves, it’s always going to hold him back.”

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