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10 questions post-NBA lockout Celtics must answer 11.26.11 at 4:34 pm ET
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Now that the NBA lockout is all but over, we can talk actual basketball again. No more exhibition games. No more Paul Pierce sightings at the World Series of Poker. No more overseas discussions. Should lawyers on both sides approve the tentative agreement as expected in the next three days to a week, both training camp and free agency are scheduled to begin on Dec. 9, leading up to a Celtics at Knicks season opener on Christmas Day.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, head coach Doc Rivers and the rest of the C’s brass face a ton of questions over the next month. Here are 10 of the biggest ones they’ll have to answer.

10. How will the Celtics fill out the remainder of the roster?

The C’s currently have just six players under contract: The Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as well as center Jermaine O’Neal and second-year guard Avery Bradley. That leaves nine open spots on the 15-man roster.

Jeff Green has received a $5.9 million qualifying offer that makes him a restricted free agent, and the remaining eight players from the team that lost a five-game Eastern Conference semifinal series to the Heat are free agents. Only Nenad Krstic, who signed a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow that did not include an NBA out clause for this season, is off limits.

First-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson is a lock to land one of those nine open slots, while second-round selection E’Twaun Moore is a strong candidate to make the roster. Johnson has been working out in his hometown of Indianapolis during the offseason, and Moore has averaged 9.5 points in six appearances for Italy’s Benetton Treviso over the past two months.

Prior to the lockout, undrafted Pitt swingman Gilbert Brown was on the team’s radar, so he has a chance to join the Purdue pair on the bench as well.

Assuming Green remains in Boston, Ainge will at the very least have to find veteran players capable of playing significant backup minutes at center, power forward and the two guard positions. Re-signing combo guard Delonte West would go a long way in cementing the latter, and we’ll be examining the free-agent options at each position throughout this week.

9. Is the annual mid-level exception still available to the Celtics? Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Things I Heard About Celtics IX 11.04.11 at 3:07 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIVVVIVII and VIII).

10. I’m not sure why I think these “how to pronounce” videos are so hilarious, but they crack me up every time. The embedded one on Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore is the best. Each member of the 2010-11 C’s gets the pronunciation treatment, but the JaJuan Johnson, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley ones are the best of the bunch. Am I the only one who finds these funny?

As an aside, Moore is averaging 6.7 points on 50 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.3 minutes over three games for Italian club Benetton Treviso. Speaking of second-round Celtics draftees, Gabe Pruitt was picked fourth overall in the NBA Development League Draft by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be playing in Italy than South Dakota.

Tommy Heinsohn has been both president of the NBA players' and coaches' associations.

9. While the lockout robbed Celtics fans of hearing Tommy Heinsohn’s dulcet tones during the canceled season opener on Tuesday night, at least the Worcester Telegram’s Bill Doyle let Heinsohn’s voice be heard. After all, he was in NBPA president Derek Fisher‘s shoes once.

  • On the lockout: “I’m not coming down on either side at this particular point. I just know that this is a crucial period for the game of basketball. The economy is tough for everybody. … Obviously it’s going to cost both parties money. The reputation of the league has yet to be determined.”
  • On NBA’s return: “I have no clue. I agree with the people. I’d love to see a basketball season.”
  • On the NBPA: “I’d hate to be Billy Hunter right now. He’s got to stand up and bump his chest for the players, and he’s got to keep the agents happy who are telling their players what to do. So he’s got an audience of players and agents, and then he’s got to go fight the owners.”

God, do I miss NBA basketball. It’s sounds like Tommy does, too. I think we can all agree with colleague Paul Flannery’s most recent column: “Has this really all been worth it?”

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Irish Coffee: Top 5 plays by Celtics during NBA lockout 10.21.11 at 2:49 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

The latest news from collective bargaining negotiations between NBA owners and players isn’t good. Media members can’t decide whether Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is among owners who actually want a season or ones sustaining the lockout. Either way, the biggest losers in all of this are NBA fans. This list of top of Top 5 plays by Celtics during the NBA lockout goes out to us losers (wait, what?):

5. Glen “Big Baby” Davis seemingly losing to a fourth-grader at the IMG Basketball Academy

Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Things I Heard About Celtics VII 09.20.11 at 6:35 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIVV and VI) …

10. Taking time out from practice on the LSU campus, Celtics free agent forward Glen Davis recently traveled to South Portland, Maine to dedicate a pair of basketball courts and speak on behalf of a charitable venture.

The latter event provided us with two dichotomous Davis interviews courtesy of the local NBA affiliate: 1) the awkward exchange in the embedded video between a report intent on asking lockout questions and Davis, who clearly wanted no part of it; and 2) the poignant speech to Day One fundraisers about being raised by a mother with substance abuse problems.

We’ll start on the basketball side. The short of what Davis had to say was “I have no worry,” “Everything will be Ok” and “We’ll be back on the court.” The long of it:

  • On the lockout: “The owners and the players are trying to deal with something, and they’ll make sure everything will happen the way it needs to happen. I have no worry. Everybody loves basketball.”
  • On the lockout, again: “They have issues. We have to work them out. Everybody wants basketball. With everybody on the same ground, we can work something out. Everything will be Ok.”
  • And again: “I think a lot of guys are working out and preparing themselves, but everybody’s at their house or doing something. We’re preparing like there’s going to be a season, and after everything gets worked out we’ll be back on the court.”
  • And again: “We’ve got to work things out first. In the meantime, between time, I’m just affiliated with and doing other things, so I’m just waiting.”

Now to the human side. Here are a few touching tidbits from Davis about his childhood:

  • On his hometown: “I grew up in a neighborhood where there were drugs everywhere. It was like walking zombies out there.”
  • On his upbringing: “I had to face some things that I never could ever imagine that I would have had to face as a young child. I was put in situations where I had to grow up as an adult. I had to realize what life was really about.”
  • On finding hoops: “In basketball, that’s where I found the values of life. It’s where I found that structure. It’s where I found that place where I can vent and be me, because I had to be someone else.”

The Portland Press Herald has more from the emotional Davis, who was introduced by Celtics legend Dave Cowens with this: “All the old guys I played with think he really knows how to play the game.”

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Glen Davis to join Zach Randolph, Stephen Jackson and other NBA players in Baton Rouge Pro-Am Classic 09.07.11 at 1:48 pm ET
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Zach Randolph (right) and Glen Davis are both expected to participate in the Baton Rouge Pro-Am Classic. (AP)

While plenty of hype appropriately surrounds the two-week Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series — which includes Celtics Jermaine O’Neal and Avery Bradley among 40 NBA players already committed — free agent forward Glen Davis will be competing against some stellar competition of his own, at a more unlikely location.

Big Baby will join Louisiana State University alumni Marcus Thornton (a restricted free agent), Anthony Randolph (Timberwolves) and Ronald Dupree (D-League’s Utah Flash) as well as a host of other NBA talents in the Baton Rouge Pro-Am Classic on Saturday and Sunday.

Grizzlies O.J. Mayo and Zach Randolph, Bucks swingman Stephen Jackson and retired four-time NBA All-Star AnferneePennyHardaway are also expected to participate in the tournament, scheduled to tip off at 9 a.m. on the Baton Rouge Community College campus. Proceeds from the $5 to $15 tickets will benefit the BRCC men’s and women’s basketball programs.

Of course, Davis is among many other Celtics who have trained with Impact Basketball over the years — including Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. That “Lockout League” is scheduled to begin on Sept. 12, so Davis would be available to play in Las Vegas, too. Perhaps he could catch a ride with Randolph and Jackson, who like O’Neal and Bradley are among the 40 players already committed.

Pierce is slated to play alongside fellow University of Kansas alumni in the now sold out Legends of the Phog exhibition on Sept. 24, the day after the Lockout League’s scheduled championship game. Likewise, Rondo is committed to appear at Red Bull’s King of the Rock 1-on-1 basketball tournament on Alcatraz Sept. 24 — so he and Pierce may also be available to participate in Las Vegas.

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Celtics’ free agent options at backup power forward 08.25.11 at 3:06 pm ET
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We’re almost two months into the NBA lockout, and more progress has been made on the crippled U.S. economy than the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still examine the likely free agents available to the Celtics for the (fingers crossed) 2011-12 season once commissioner David Stern and players association executive director Billy Hunter kiss and make up.

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 that should be available to the Celtics at backup power forward (barring overseas exports), separating the current free agent players into four categories and forgetting about David West, because that ain’t happening … Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics sign-and-trade options for Glen Davis 08.08.11 at 4:46 pm ET
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There has been plenty of discussion about sign-and-trade opportunities for the Celtics concerning unrestricted free agent Glen Davis, which leads to a number of questions:

  • How does a sign-and-trade work?
  • Who could the Celtics get in return for Davis?
  • What are the odds of a sign-and-trade after the NBA lockout?

Here, we’ll attempt to answer all three of those issues.

HOW DOES A SIGN-AND-TRADE WORK?

Under the now expired collective bargaining agreement, the sign-and-trade option benefited all three parties involved. Ideally, the player got a better contract than he would have on the open market, his new team got a player coveted by its opponents and his old team got a a player, picks or some kind of trade exception in return.

For example, the Celtics own “Bird rights” to Davis and could sign him for more dollars than another team at or above the salary cap. I’m guessing Big Baby wouldn’t turn down the extra cash. So, let’s say the Magic and Hawks both want Davis, the Celtics could shop him to the highest bidder in exchange for acting as the middle man.

Recent history of sign-and-trades involving players of Big Baby’s caliber haven’t garnered too much in return. I think we can agree that Davis falls somewhere in between 2010 C.J. Watson and 2006 Al Harrington. Watson signed a three-year, $10.2 million deal with the Warriors, and then got shipped to the Bulls for a second-round draft pick. Harrington inked a four-year, $35.3 million deal with the Hawks, and then got traded to the Pacers for a first-round draft pick. The Harrington deal turned into the No. 11 overall pick in a fairly deep draft — which Atlanta wasted on Acie Law — so there is some value there.

WHO COULD THE CELTICS GET IN RETURN FOR DAVIS?

Read the rest of this entry »

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