|The Celtics’ Andrew Bynum problem||08.10.12 at 4:17 pm ET|
If there’s one thing Kevin Garnett hates about playing center, it’s playing against an actual center. Thankfully, there are fewer and fewer of those in the NBA. Unfortunately, most of them now live in the Atlantic Division.
While Dwight Howard commands all the attention, the Celtics are certain to be keeping an eye on developments much closer to home. Namely, Philadelphia, where the 76ers took a massive step in their overhaul by acquiring Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson in exchange for Andre Iguodala and two recent first round picks as part of a four-team blockbuster.
Bynum’s arrival in the C’s division coincides with the NBA debut of the well-regarded Jonas Valanciunas in Toronto as well as the presumably healthy return of Brook Lopez to the Nets. Those three plus Tyson Chandler — the reigning Defensive Player of the Year — gives Garnett more than 28 feet of headaches, 16 times a year.
The Celtics have always kept a close eye on Howard — they built their 2010 team with the idea of beating the Magic in the playoffs — but that has always been from a comfortable distance. With Howard in Los Angeles that’s a problem only if they both happen to make the Finals and Bynum stands as a much bigger issue now.
Bynum scored 36 points and grabbed 31 rebounds against the Celtics last season, both with Garnett at center, an experience that left him drained. Bynum is coming off his best season and will be just 25 years old when the season starts, so if the Sixers can convince the Jersey-native to stay, he could be a problem for a long time for the Celtics. Read the rest of this entry »
|Analysis: Lakers get Dwight Howard in four-team trade||at 2:29 am ET|
Well, this was unexpected. After a summer of rumors that went nowhere, the Magic have finally agreed to trade Dwight Howard in a four-team deal that only became public Thursday morning.
The trade, as reported by numerous national outlets and which is expected to be finalized on Friday, will send Howard to the Lakers continuing a long legacy of disaffected big men that have made their way to Los Angeles. Howard joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal as All-Star centers who joined the Lakers after beginning their careers elsewhere.
In exchange for Howard, the Lakers sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers but held on to Pau Gasol. That gives them a starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard.
The trade sent Bynum right into the Celtics’ backyard and if there’s one center Kevin Garnett struggled with this past season it’s Bynum.
The Sixers also absorbed the contract of Jason Richardson, who has three years left at over $18 million. Richardson is still an effective player whose perimeter shooting helps shore up their biggest weakness, but he’s already beginning to decline and will be 32 in January. The cost was Andre Iguodala, who will go to the Nuggets, along with Nicola Vucecic and Moe Harkless, who will go to the Magic.
It’s a weird mix for the Sixers, who also amnesty’d Elton Brand and replaced him with Nick Young and Kwame Brown earlier this offseason. They dropped Brand, Iguodala and Lou Williams from the team that took the Celtics to seven games, and while Bynum is immediately the best center in the Eastern Conference, it remains to be seen if they got better after all their offseason moves. Bynum also has one year left on his contract. Read the rest of this entry »
|Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: ‘Good chance’ Celtics retain Ray Allen, Dwight Howard ‘not going to Brooklyn’||07.03.12 at 12:14 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski appeared on the Mut & Merloni show Tuesday to discuss all things NBA, including trade rumors involving Dwight Howard and the future of Ray Allen. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Wojnarowski said that if the Celtics are indeed offering Allen a two-year deal worth $12 million, that it puts them in a favorable position to get him back, but he didn’t cross off other potential suitors. One team Wojnarowski doesn’t think will land Allen, however, are the Grizzlies, who were reportedly asking about Allen during the trade deadline.
“When Boston and Memphis talked about a deal at the trade deadline that fell apart, I know that Ray was not excited about being sent to Memphis,” Wojnarowski said. “Even though they’re a playoff team, he didn’t see it as a very desirable location at that time. … I think geography is important to Ray and his family being geographically being closer, that’s why I thought the Knicks could be a possibility because of that, and obviously Miami’s intriguing because he knows he has a chance to be on the big stage to win, Mike Miller’s future is very much in doubt there.
“The fact that Boston has shown, if they are at two years, $6 million per, which I think is comparable to what I’ve been hearing of what Jason Terry is being offered by teams around the league, then I think that gives Boston a good chance to be able to retain him.”
Wojnarowski doesn’t think a rumored poor relationship with Rajon Rondo will deter him from signing with the Celtics, but he thinks it is a factor in the decision.
“The thing with Ray and Rajon which I think has been there, the one thing people have always said to me, in that locker room and in the organization is, whatever issue they may have had with each other, with personalities, they never carried it on the court,” Wojnarowski said. “It never was an issue on the court, which at the end of the day is all that really matters. So only Ray knows how much of a factor it is. I think it is a factor, but I don’t think it’s enough of a factor that it’s driving him away or would drive him away. … Ray Allen is not going to leave Boston because he doesn’t get along with Rajon Rondo.”
Wojnarowski also touched on the Howard saga. The unsatisfied All-Star center is reportedly being shopped in a potential trade with the Nets, but Wojnarowski doesn’t think that’s going to happen.
“He’s not going to Brooklyn. It’s very unlikely. Orlando’s not interested in accommodating what Dwight wants,” Wojnarowski said. “They’re willing to make the deal that they think gives them the best return. Last year, when teams wanted to take Dwight as a rental, he had the real threat of, ‘Hey, if you trade for me at the trade deadline or before the season or whatever it would be, I’m just going to go to Brooklyn as a free agent because they have cap space.’ He doesn’t have that threat anymore. The Nets are loading up all their cap space as we speak.”
Added Wojnarowski: “What team out there has cap space next year that would be appealing to him? Now Atlanta has been talked about a lot the last couple of days because of all the money they’re getting off, but listen, a big part of what Dwight has been doing here in wanting to get to a big market, specifically New York or LA, is his Adidas deal is worth two, I’ve been told even three times more by being in New York or LA. So going from Orlando to Atlanta, while it’s his hometown and Josh Smith is a close friend, and maybe it’s appealing on some levels, it’s not going to give him the pay day that he’s been looking for here.”
|Rockets get 18th overall pick for Chase Budinger, Lior Eliyahu||06.26.12 at 1:50 pm ET|
The Rockets have acquired the 18th overall pick in the NBA draft from the Timberwolves in return for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu according to multiple reports.
The deal gives the Rockets the 14th, 16th and 18th overall picks in Thursday’s draft, which gives them plenty of ammunition for more trades. The Rockets have been linked to a potential deal involving the Kings’ fifth overall pick in the draft, as well another deal involving the Raptors’ eighth overall pick.
The Rockets are reportedly using these trades to make a strong push towards acquiring Dwight Howard from the Magic despite the fact that Howard intends to become a free agent at the end of the season.
Budinger, who was the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft, averaged 9.6 points in 22.4 minutes per game last season. The 6-foot-7 small forward shot 40.2 percent from three-point range last season and is likely to help a Timberwolves team that struggled to score from the wing. Eliyahu is a 6-foot-10, 232 pound forward who was originally taken with the 44th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Magic and plays professionally in Israel.
|NBA Free Agent Rumors: Jason Terry wants long-term deal||06.18.12 at 3:28 pm ET|
Mavericks’ guard Jason Terry, an integral part of the Mavericks 2011 NBA Championship run, is set to be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and has voiced his desire for a long term deal.
The 34-year-old was last a free agent in 2006 when he was quickly re-signed by the Mavericks to a six-year, $57 million contract. This time around Terry wants another multi-year contract, preferably with Dallas, but he also has said he’s willing to test the free agent market.
The Mavericks have been rumored to be interested in acquiring free agent superstar Deron Williams if he opts out of his contract. If that’s the case then Dallas most likely will be unable to sign Terry to a long-term deal if they want to land Williams. If they can’t sign the point guard then they may choose to sign players to one-year contracts in order to prepare for next year’s free agent class that includes Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Terry wasn’t interested in that scenario.
“I won’t be here,” Terry said. “You can count on that. If they’re doing that, you won’t see the Jet on the runway in Dallas.”
Terry switched agents recently hiring Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong from the Wasserman Group after cutting ties with Dan Fegan
|Glen Davis: Magic ‘capable of beating’ Celtics in playoffs||04.19.12 at 2:26 am ET|
Since being traded from the Celtics to the Magic prior to the season, Glen Davis is now 0-3 against his former team. Yet, Big Baby believes his new squad is fully prepared to defeat the C’s should they meet in the playoffs — even without the injured Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.
“I think we’re capable of beating them,” said Davis, who totaled 27 points in the Magic’s 102-98 loss in Boston.
If the playoffs started today, the Celtics (37-26) — who clinched a fifth straight Atlantic Division title and the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed — would face the Hawks (37-25) in the first round, but the Magic (36-26) still have a shot at the fifth seed and a date with the C’s. However, Orlando may have to do it without Howard (herniated disc) or Turkoglu (fractured face), both of whom remain doubtful until the playoffs and questionable beyond.
Which is why those in the Magic locker room viewed their four-point loss in Boston as a positive, even if the Celtics were also without two stars in Rajon Rondo (back) and Ray Allen (Allen) as well as a key role player in Mickael Pietrus (knee) — all of whom are expected back for the playoffs.
“Today, we didn’t even have two of our guys,” said Davis. “They didn’t have two of their guys, but at the same time we had a big missing piece today, and we still came out there and played the right way and was in the game. So, whatever happens, happens. Whoever we play, Indiana or Boston, we are going to bring energy, and we are going to play hard, and that’s all that matters.”
|Magic drama and the Celtics postseason||04.05.12 at 3:35 pm ET|
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy blew the lid off the simmering tensions in Orlando on Thursday when he told reporters that management had informed him that star center Dwight Howard wanted him fired at the end of the year.
Or as Howard Beck from the New York Times put it:
“A well-placed Orlando Magic source claims Dwight Howard has asked the team to fire Coach Stan Van Gundy. The well-placed source? Stan Van Gundy.”
What followed was a revealing, and then awkward press conference. “It’s 12:02 right now,” Van Gundy said. “If they want to fire me at 12:05 I’ll go home and find something to do. I’ll have a good day.”
Then Howard appeared, apparently unaware of what his coach had just said. Some awkward small talk ensues and it’s clear that Howard still doesn’t know what just happened, setting up the walk-off line as Van Gundy throws Howard to the wolves: “Are you guys done with me? You can talk to him now.”
Various players have already spoken on, and off the record, in support for Van Gundy yielding a giant mess for a team that as of last week seemed fairly secure in the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But the Magic have lost four straight and been passed by the Pacers in the standings.
That leaves them in fifth for the moment, opposite of where the Celtics are sitting as the fourth seed. (An important note: Winning the Atlantic Division doesn’t guarantee homecourt advantage in the first round. If the fifth seed has a better record — like the Magic do know — they would get homecourt in the series.)
Regardless, the Celtics playoff positioning is a tenuous thing. They have a game and a half lead on the slumping Sixers for first place in the Atlantic Division, but also are in the middle of facing their toughest stretch of games against quality opponents. They could finish anywhere from third to seventh.
Here’s how the standings look at the moment:
3. Indiana 33-21
4. Boston 30-23
5. Orlando 32-22
6. Atlanta 32-23
7. Philly 29-25
Here’s how they look simply by record with Games Behind noted after record:
Indiana 33-21 –
Orlando 32-22 1
Atlanta 32-23 1.5
Boston 30-23 2
Philly 29-25 3.5
The Celtics play all four of those teams once and the Hawks twice, which will set up a frantic race to the finish.
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