|NBA Free agent rumors: Jeff Green has many suitors||06.18.12 at 2:03 pm ET|
After Jeff Green had heart surgery, the Celtics rescinded their one-year qualifying offer. This was actually a nice thing as it allowed Green to enter the summer as unrestricted free agent.
Why would the Celtics do that? For one thing it saves them the step of making a qualifying offer, which could handcuff a bit of their cap space. Even as unrestricted free agent, the Celtics still retain full Bird rights on Green, meaning they can go above and beyond the cap to sign him and have the means of competing with just about any offer.
According to Green’s agent David Falk, there will be many competing offers, or at least interested teams. In an interview with SI’s Sam Amick, Falk said he has had discussions with 12-14 teams regarding Green. Falk also told Amick that Green is 100 percent ready for next season and that he expects him to be the most sought after free agent on the market after Deron Williams, if an when Williams opts out of the last year of his contract.
There will be several teams with cap space this summer who could decide to take a run at Green. As it stands, a little more than half the teams in the league have the ability to clear space and a handful could be well under the cap including Cleveland, Brooklyn and Phoenix. Green may not be the second-best unrestricted free agent in a class that includes Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan (admittedly special cases), Ersan Ilyasova and Steve Nash, but he’s in the discussion.
Green is now three years removed from his best season when he made 39 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Thunder, but he will be 26 in August and should be entering his prime. Compared to other wing forwards on the market — Gerald Wallace, Grant Hill — youth is very much on his side. Restricted free agents Ryan Anderson and Nic Batum may have more upside, but signing them away from their teams won’t be as easy.
The Celtics stand an excellent chance to bring Green back, but they will also have competition.
|Doc Rivers sees Kevin Garnett in the ‘half’ Kendrick Perkins||01.17.12 at 9:36 am ET|
When he was in Boston, Kendrick Perkins was known as the lumbering shot blocking man in the middle with a scowl.
When his former coach Doc Rivers looked out on the court Monday night, he saw a much different Perk.
“He’s half Perk but he’s quicker,” Rivers said of Perkins, who lost 30 pounds in the offseason. “He had a move today — even though he traveled — where he caught it, took two dribbles, went quick and gathered himself.”
This is the man that Celtics GM and team president Danny Ainge traded to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green at the trade deadline last February.
Perkins has matured — and that was clear for Rivers to see on Monday. Yes, he still got in foul trouble, limiting him to seven points and five rebounds in 28 minutes. But what was very clear — and audible — to Rivers from the Celtics sideline is what he’s done in terms of making the Thunder a tough team, a team battle-tested and ready to make a run at a title.
“You can see, he’s put work in his game,” Rivers said. “He has every year I’ve known him. His influence on that team is dramatic to me. You can see it, you can feel it. You can see it with the bigs, with [Serge Ibaka], they’re all defensive players now. Perk has completely changed the culture of that team, you can just see it on the floor. That’s terrific for him.”
Where did he get this from? Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics montage: ‘Thank you’ Kendrick Perkins||01.16.12 at 8:56 pm ET|
In a Jumbotron montage, the Celtics paid homage to former center Kendrick Perkins, who returned to the Garden for the first time since being traded at the deadline to the Thunder for Jeff Green last February. Perkins started for the C’s during their 2008 NBA championship run, and if not for a knee injury in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, he may have won a second title in green. Following the tribute, in classic Perk form, he waved to the crowd in gratitude before resuming an argument with a referee about a call he took umbrage with earlier in the first half.
|What can Mickael Pietrus really give the Celtics?||01.10.12 at 8:51 am ET|
WALTHAM — It’s a calculated gamble but one Celtics team President Danny Ainge knew he had to take.
When the Celtics got the news that Jeff Green would need season-ending surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm – surgery that was successfully performed on Monday at the Cleveland Clinic – Ainge was down a key man on his bench.
The Phoenix Suns provided the opportunity when they waived Mickael Pietrus on Dec. 22. Two days later, Ainge signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.
The veteran forward – who turns 30 on Feb. 7 – guaranteed that he’ll make his Boston debut this Wednesday when the Celtics host the defending champion Mavericks at TD Garden. Pietrus, who has averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds a game in his eight NBA seasons, missed the first two weeks with the team after rehabbing from arthroscopic right knee surgery.
What can he give the Celtics?
“Obviously, I haven’t played for eight months so I’m going to be Mickael Pietrus from the first game,” Pietrus said. “But, defensively, you can always help your team do the littlest of things to make them be a great team. So if I can get in the game Wednesday, even five minutes or 10 minutes, whatever, I’m willing to help my team.”
Pietrus is one of the most genuinely enthusiastic and likable players in the NBA. Combine that will his defensive skills, and he can bring a lot of intangibles to the Green.
“That’s why I was excited,” Pietrus said with a wide smile. “That’s why I wanted to be a Celtic because I think – on the floor – me and KG and all the guys can bring the toughness that Boston had when we played them. They were so tough. It was hard for us to get a shot so I’m trying to get the same mindset. Get in the game, play hard and make sure we work hard, and at the end of the day, make sure we get the ‘W’.
“It was a good two weeks. I got to see downtown Boston a little bit, read the newspaper so obviously, there’s no snow yet so good thing – summertime in Boston. I’ve been watching my teammates and watching a lot of film so on Wednesday, I’ll be ready… Wednesday is going to be a great day for me!”
Pietrus tested his knee in practice last Thursday then worked with the second unit on Sunday before going full bore on Monday, not coming out to rest at all.
“Today I went through my first practice,” said Pietrus. “It feels good to be a Celtic. I had fun so hopefully, I’ll be back on the court Wednesday.”
Asked how close he was to 100 percent after knee surgery, Pietrus pointed to the watch of a reporter.
“You have a watch? Probably 48 hours,” Pietrus said. “I think I’ll be able to help my team. I went through practice with no pain. I told you guys I’d be ready to go in two weeks and two weeks came. I’m very happy I could go through practice with my teammates and get stuff done.”
Pietrus, who battled against the Celtics in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 with the Orlando Magic, said he’s happy to be wearing the green.
“It feels good,” he said. “Look around, there’s 17 banners so I’m in a great spot. I just want to work hard and be available for my team on Wednesday.”
|Celtics owners Steve Pagliuca, Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘We’re going for it’||12.21.11 at 5:04 pm ET|
Celtics owners Steve Pagliuca and Wyc Grousbeck stopped by to chat with D&C guest hosts Dale Arnold and Bob Ryan Wednesday morning and discussed the upcoming season, Rajon Rondo‘s mindset, and why this could be the best Celtics team Danny Ainge has put together.
After the Celtics’ disappointing loss at the hands of LeBron James and the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the owners expressed optimism about the C’s fortunes for the shortened 2011-12 season.
“It’s going to be a frenetic season, obviously packed in, a lot of games,” Pagliuca said. “The good news for us is that we have a veteran core, but we’ve got a lot of young legs on the team. Danny’s done another great job of building this squad. It’s a very deep team, and that deep team will pay service. Also, with a short training camp, we have four veterans coming back. They know the offense; we have veterans coming in. Doc [Rivers] will have them in very good shape to play.”
Added Pagliuca: “The positive side early is that the team has a lot of depth. One through 15 we’re about as good as we’ve been. If you look at the players Danny’s added here, they can all play basketball. We’re going to get some offensive rebounding this year with [Chris] Wilcox and [Brandon] Bass on the boards, so we’re optimistic. It’s really early in the season, but so far they’ve looked really good.”
Grousbeck said the decision was made to stick with the Big Three and build around them for another shot at the title, holding off any rebuilding plans.
“We do think about the future every day. We really, really do,” Grousbeck said. “But this does look like another year when this core has a chance. And if we supplement them to the max, everything we can possibly do under the new rules, it looks like to us, and more importantly to the basketball staff, that these guys have one more chance at least. So, you make that decision and you put the throttle fully that way. We’re not halfway. … It wasn’t a bad team last year. This year it looks like we can have a chance. Shortened season, almost anything can happen. So, we’re going for it.”
Added Grousbeck: “It has been a shortened preseason. There hasn’t been a lot of chance to really settle in with this team yet, this roster, and see it, and get a sense of other rosters as well. Having said that, every time I see [Kevin] Garnett, [Paul] Pierce, [Ray] Allen, and Rondo walk out on the court and Rivers coaching them, I get goose bumps, actually. So, I’m hopeful, and we’ll see.”
|Irish Coffee: Celtics sour grapes over David West||12.20.11 at 11:06 am ET|
Celtics president Danny Ainge lost out to former teammate Larry Bird in the David West sweepstakes, and that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Ray Allen and head coach Doc Rivers.
Ainge reportedly offered a sign-and-trade package of Jermaine O’Neal and a younger player to the Hornets for West, who would then be signed to a three-year, $29 million deal, according to ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan.
Instead, Bird signed the free agent to a two-year, $20 million contract, offering a higher annual value and a shorter window until West’s next free agency period, when he likely wouldn’t be coming off reconstructive knee surgery.
“Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in,” Allen told MacMullan. “He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’ Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We’re still taking less to make it work. But it’s worth it. No one can ever say to KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul [Pierce] or me, ‘You guys never got your ring.’”
“I’m very disappointed,” Rivers told Jackie Mac, “but we’re moving on with the guys we have.”
|Jeff Green will miss the 2011-12 season||12.17.11 at 12:42 pm ET|
The Celtics announced on Saturday that forward Jeff Green will have heart surgery next month after his physical revealed an aortic aneurysm. Green will not play this season, although there is hope that he will be able to continue his career next season.
Symptoms for aortic aneurysms often go undetected until examinations, such as physicals. Green’s condition was detected during a team physical on Friday after he had agreed to a one-year contract. He had been held out of practice while he underwent further tests.
“While we are saddened that Jeff will not be able to play this season, the most important thing is his health, and we were fortunate to have access to an amazing team of specialists to evaluate Jeff’s case,” team president Danny Ainge said in a statement released by the team. “The entire Celtics family supports Jeff during this difficult time in his career.”
The Herald reported that his contract will be voided, although it’s unclear where the Celtics go from here. They had one open roster spot even with Green and if his contract is voided, that would open another. They are already over the salary cap and they used the mini mid-level exception on Chris Wilcox, leaving them able to offer just the veteran minimum.
The Celtics could apply for an injury exception, which would allow them to sign a player for up to half of Green’s $9 million contract as a replacement. However, doing so would validate Green’s contract and cost the team up to $27 million in contracts and luxury tax payments.
Former Celtic James Posey was recently waived under the amnesty clause and he is an unrestricted free agent after clearing waivers. While different players with much different skillsets, comparisons were made between the two after Green was the centerpiece of an unexpected trade in February that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Green, center Nenad Krstic and a first round pick from the Clippers that carries top-10 protection through 2016.
The prize, however, was Green, a 6-foot-9 player with obvious basketball skills but no defined strength, He was expected to provide youth, athleticism and scoring for a team that needed all three.
Green was a capable backup for Paul Pierce, something that was desperately needed after Marquis Daniels was lost for the season with a spinal cord injury, but he never appeared to get in sync in Boston, averaging just 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 regular season games.
Beyond backing up Pierce, his playing time was often sporadic. It was a significant adjustment for Green who went from a starting role where he was getting 36 minutes a night with the Thunder to an undefined backup situation that saw him on the floor for just 24 minutes a night.
“I wasn’t comfortable in my spot,” Green said on Tuesday. “It was tough to transition coming from Oklahoma to doing what I was doing there to coming here and trying to find my spot somewhere where I can score the ball.”
Still, Green’s numbers held up when adjusted for the lost time (his scoring and rebounding averages were essentially identical per 36 minutes for both teams) and his shooting percentage climbed from 44 percent with the Thunder to 49 percent with the Celtics. Both he and the team were expecting better results in his first full season.
“Coming to this situation last year was very stressful, trying to grasp everything right away was hard,” Green said. “Now I’m in a situation where I can relax a little bit. I’m on point with everything.”
In a condensed season, Green was expected to see significant playing time. The plan was to work Green in tandem with Kevin Garnett, giving them a small-ball look. While Green struggled to defend bigger players without a strong frontcourt compliment, he performed well when paired with Garnett and the other All-Stars. His absence also leaves the backup small forward to Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic, although coach Doc Rivers is less concerned with that situation.
“We have enough players,” Rivers said. “That’s why we have Sasha and Marquis to play the [small forward.] What it would take us away from is going small. We gameplanned all summer about the small lineup we were going to run with Kevin and Jeff .”
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