|Celtics’ free agent options at backup small forward||08.03.11 at 2:14 pm ET|
A month into the NBA lockout, commissioner David Stern just declared war against the players, but can’t we still examine which free agents should be available to the Celtics for the (fingers crossed) 2011-12 season once 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 another critical position (backup point guards), so we move to what coach Doc Rivers called a pressing concern during the 2010-11 season: Backup Small Forwards.
The Celtics began last season with starter Paul Pierce and only swingman Marquis Daniels to spare the nine-time All-Star from playing heavy minutes at the 3. Once Daniels went down in February with a season-ending spinal injury, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was forced to make a deal for depth behind Pierce. Enter Jeff Green, who remains a restricted free agent after the Celtics extended a $5.91 million offer in June.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin 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.
The Celtics would be wise to pick up another player capable of spelling Pierce to ensure they aren’t handcuffed by the lack of depth at the position again, even if they re-sign Green. Obviously the C’s won’t be dedicating much more money beyond those two to small forwards, but they need to find as many inexpensive versatile options (2-3 or 3-4 guys) as possible to eat up minutes for their three aging stars.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup small forward (barring overseas exports), separating the current free agent players into four categories … Read the rest of this entry »
|Chris Broussard on M&M: ‘It comes down to the Celtics and the Heat’||03.21.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
ESPN’s Chris Broussard joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to talk about the Celtics and topics of interest around the NBA. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The C’s play the Knicks Monday night in New York. Broussard said despite the initial excitement over the addition of Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks aren’t a threat to knock off one of the East’s elite. And that was before the reported locker room discord that is swirling around the team during its recent struggles (five losses in the last seven games).
“They clearly have talent and should be dangerous,” Broussard said. “They don’t look that way right now. Even when they were looking good, I would never have picked them to win their first-round series over those top teams. But I did think they had maybe a puncher’s chance and could make it interesting. I still will say they could make it interesting if they get it together, but right now they don’t look like they’re any major threat to beat any of these top teams.”
The Celtics have their own problems, having lost four of their last seven games. Broussard speculated that much of the reason for the malaise falls on the trade of Kendrick Perkins, noting that Perkins and the struggling Rajon Rondo “were very tight.” He also said the Celtics still have a hole to fill with Perkins off the roster, and Shaquille O’Neal‘s absence exposes it that much more.
“I didn’t like [the trade] in the first place,” Broussard said. “With this kind of mystery involving Shaq, I like it even less.”
Added Broussard: “My biggest concern if I was a Celtics fan would be the lack of bulk and toughness that they now have without Kendrick Perkins. They only needed Perk for a few teams: Miami — that gave them a big advantage over the Heat — Orlando and the Lakers. You may be better matching up with Chicago without Perk. But if Shaquille O’Neal can’t come back and give you really quality minutes, and significant minutes, then I think a huge advantage that the Celtics had over everyone in the league is gone.”
Asked which team is the best in the East, Broussard said: “Boston, you’d have to give them their due respect. They’ve been great all year. I’m not going to hold this couple of weeks where they’ve struggled against them.”
Added Broussard: “I think if Miami plays the right way, they can win the East. And I feel a lot more comfortable about picking them in the preseason. But for most of this year, I have felt like it was Boston that’s the best team in the East. I like Chicago, but I still think at the end of the day it comes down to the Celtics and the Heat.”
|House Stays Hot with Suns||11.11.09 at 1:03 am ET|
“I call him the ‘Cheat Code,’ really because every time he shoots you think it’s going in,” Frye said. “Like in a video game, a basketball game, you put one person into one spot and they’re going make it every time. And that’s him. Yeah, he’s the ‘Cheat Code.’ ”
Frye came up with the moniker after watching House drain trey after trey, day after day this summer. House, who played in Phoenix during the 2005-06 season, lives in Arizona during the offseason. He trained with Frye and the Suns before reporting to training camp in Boston.
“That’s the best runs that you can get in Arizona,” House explained. “So as soon as those guys start getting into town, I go up there and we get some runs.”
House donned his Celtics workout gear and hit the court with the Suns to stay hot during the offseason. He capped off last regular season by breaking the Celtics franchise record previously set by Danny Ainge for 3-point shooting in a single season (.444). The Suns were impressed by the skills that earned him that mark.
“Any time he’s open it’s like, ‘Dang it’s going in,’ ” said Jason Richardson.
Added Frye, “We were playing to 15 and he’d make five 3′s — one, two, three, four, five — boom, game over.”
Grant Hill chimed in as well.
“I tell you what, that guy did not miss. He’s a great shooter,” Hill said. “There were some days that he got hot, and when a guy like him gets going it can be fun to watch.”
|Source: Hill leaning toward Phoenix||07.10.09 at 8:56 am ET|
A source close to the situation has told WEEI.com Grant Hill is leaning toward re-signing with the Phoenix Suns. The 36-year-old forward has been a free agent prospect for the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, among other teams, this summer. The Celtics have been eyeing Hill as a potential back up for Paul Pierce, a major hole in last season’s bench.
According to the source, Hill’s concern with coming to Boston is the decreased role, not the money. He has spent most of his 14-year career as a starter and averaged nearly 30 minutes with the Suns last season. (He has never averaged less than 29 minutes per game.) The Celtics do not have anywhere close to that to offer with the starting lineup playing the majority of minutes and the recent signing of Rasheed Wallace.
Although they have expressed their interest to Hill, the Celtics know they are not the only team in the picture. “I don’t even allow myself to go there, optimistic or pessimistic,” Danny Ainge said on Thursday at Wallace’s introductory press conference. “He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.”
Hill averaged 12.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season while shooting 52.3% from the field. He has also averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 22 playoff games.
Update: Yahoo! Sports has reported Hill has decided to re-sign with the Suns.
|No new updates on Hill||07.09.09 at 9:45 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Grant Hill update? There is no Grant Hill update. When asked if he was “optimistic” about signing him, Ainge said, “I don’t even allow myself to go there. Optimistic or pessimistic. He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.”
Garnett proclaimed himself “feeling great” but wouldn’t put a timeline on his return to the court.
“Rehab’s going really well at this point,” he said. “I’m continuing to heal and get stronger. To be honest, I’ve been in a pretty decent place mentally.”
When pressed on a date, Garnett simply said, “I’m on schedule to be on schedule.”