|Chris Wilcox: ‘I want to get better than where I was’||08.20.12 at 1:02 pm ET|
In somewhat of a lost interview, Celtics big Chris Wilcox joined “Go4it” sports radio talk show host Paul Gant recently to discuss his recovery from an enlarged aorta, his camaraderie with fellow heart surgery patient Jeff Green, returning to Boston and the team’s title hopes for this coming season. Here are some highlights.
|What we know about Jeff Green’s Celtics contract||at 12:04 pm ET|
Welcome to the biggest mystery of the Celtics offseason: Jeff Green‘s contract situation. Does he have a deal? Is it really for that much? Has he signed it yet? What’s the holdup? Is he healthy? All fair questions. All unanswered.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT JEFF GREEN’S CONTRACT
- In mid-December, the C’s announced Green required season-ending heart surgery that “should completely repair” his aortic aneurysm.
- In early January, we learned the Celtics pulled Green’s qualifying offer, preventing the possibility of any sign-and-trade deal.
- In early July, he and the C’s agreed to a four-year, $36 million contact.
- On Aug. 3, Green said, “I feel awesome. I actually feel a lot better than I did prior to the surgery. It was a blessing, and I’m doing better now.”
- On Friday, The Globe’s Gary Washburn tweeted, Green’s agent David Falk said the “deal with #celtics is close and should be official next week.”
- At present, Green’s contract remains the team’s only unsigned deal of the summer.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT JEFF GREEN’S CONTRACT
- Why it’s been six weeks and counting since Green agreed to a contract and the deal becoming official.
- How the Celtics will protect themselves against the possibility of a reoccurring heart ailment.
- Whether Green’s contract will be front-loaded, back-loaded or simply $9 million per season.
- How close his contract will push the Celtics to the salary cap apron of $74 million this year.
- What to make of unfounded internet rumors like this one.
|Irish Coffee: 10 things I Heard About Celtics||08.03.12 at 2:28 pm ET|
If watching Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo attempt to defend three-time NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo (see video above, h/t ballislife.com) isn’t enough enjoyment for one Friday afternoon in the NBA’s dog days of August, here is the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics, where despite another slow news day we gather all the information we can about Boston’s green men.
10. Green peace: Well, I guess this one falls more under “things I haven’t heard about Celtics,” since inquiries about Green to the team and his agent David Falk have so far gone unanswered, so in all likelihood his reported four-year, $36 million deal remains unsigned.
Obviously, since he cannot be signed-and-traded as a result of the new collective bargaining agreement, the first reason that comes to mind for such a delay is Green’s health following heart surgery this past winter, but I can think of two other possibilities: 1) The two sides are ironing out clauses that would protect the team against the possibility of a recurring heart ailment, and/or 2) The CBA is so complicated, and the Celtics are so close to the salary cap, Danny Ainge & Co. are waiting to see if they’ll use the bi-annual exception.
If the Celtics begin the season with a minimum salary player rather than using their exception this season, they can frontload Green’s deal for an extra million dollars, so they could potentially free up some cap space — however small it may be — in Year 2, 3 or 4 of the deal. Then again, the delay might involve an entirely different scenario altogether. With both sides remaining mum on the issue, it’s all speculation at this point.
|Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge’s masterful Celtics summer||07.20.12 at 3:48 pm ET|
How do you think David West is feeling right about now? If you’ll recall, when he snubbed the Celtics for the Pacers in free agency last summer, he said, “In Boston, everybody is kinda realistic about the window that the Celtics have. Me looking at where I’m at, I think my window is a little bit wider.”
Since then, after watching the Celtics take the Heat to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals, West has seen his Pacers match Roy Hibbert‘s max contract (4 years, $58 million) — dedicating roughly $36 million annually to a “Big Three” of Hibbert, Danny Granger and George Hill — trade Darren Collison for Ian Mahinmi, and sign Gerald Green (3 years, $10 million) and D.J. Augustin (1 year, $3.5 million) as their biggest free agent splashes.
Meanwhile, Celtics president Danny Ainge painted his best masterpiece since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007 for Al Jefferson, the No. 5 overall NBA draft pick and a bunch of garbage. Not willing to call Ainge’s offseason a masterpiece? Take a look at what he had to work with this summer.
|Chris Wilcox: ‘This is a blessing for me even to be here’||07.14.12 at 2:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Among teammates, coaches and even owner Stephen Pagliuca, Chris Wilcox is known to be a fun-loving man.
So, it was with great humor and appreciation that Pagliuca listened to Wilcox tell him recently that if only he had been able to play against Miami, things might have turned out differently for the Celtics.
“It’ll be even more special to have all these guys on board and we’ll win that seventh game against Miami this year,” Pagliuca said with a smile and chuckle. “Chris said he would’ve made the difference and I think he was right.”
It was no laughing matter in March when Wilcox became the second Celtics player in three months to undergo heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart irregularity.
He was officially waived by the Celtics on March 23, but like with Jeff Green, who had heart valve surgery two months earlier, there was an unwritten agreement that the team would offer him a contract once he was medically cleared to resume basketball activity. Saturday was that time, as Wilcox, a much-needed veteran big man in the C’s front court, was formally re-introduced in a press conference at the team’s practice facility.
“I’m good. I’m back now. I’m full contact,” Wilcox said. “I can do everything, lifting weights, just to a minimum though, lifting weights. Everything else, I’m back and I’m ready.
“By training camp, I’ll definitely be full-go. I’ve been working hard all summer, trying to get back right, being prepared and it’s going along well.”
What’s been the biggest challenge of training since heart surgery?
“Cardio. Your cardio, your wind,” Wilcox said. “You have to re-train your whole body over again after surgery like that. So, I think the main thing for me is the my cardio so I’ve just been running, trying to get my wind up. That’s the main thing right now.
“This is a blessing,” Wilcox continued. “This is a blessing for me even to be here right now. So, I’m just going to take full advantage of all my situations and all the opportunities that have been coming my way. And it’s a blessing to come back to a team and be able to pick up where I left off. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jeff Green returns, Celtics’ future takes shape||07.08.12 at 1:21 pm ET|
There are two main takeaways from the deal. First, That’s a lot of money for a player without a natural position, especially one coming off surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. Second, Green’s deal means that he is officially part of the core, and while the focus has been on bringing the band together, the Celtics actually have managed to get a bit younger this offseason.
This is an important move for team president Danny Ainge, who has invested much time and energy in the forward. He was with Green throughout the medical process last winter, an effort that played a significant factor in the new deal, agent David Falk said.
“The Celtics have developed a very special bond between Jeff and the team,” Falk said. “This is where he wanted to be. There was a high level of good will.”
Green and the Celtics are confident that he will be able to continue his career with no further complications and before we get to the actual basketball implications, take a moment to remember the anxiety that existed last winter when his heart condition was detected. His career is back on track and that’s an exceptional development in his young life.
The trade that brought Green to Boston was jarring for everyone involved, from Kendrick Perkins to Nenad Krstic, but few have been affected as much as Green. He went from getting consistent minutes on a young team to an undefined role on a veteran crew.
Green was around the team for most of last season, even going so far as it sit on the bench for one game. While there is much to be worked out on the court, Green is no longer in unfamiliar territory. That’s all to the good, but on the court there are question about how coach Doc Rivers will use the versatile forward and whether he’s worth the kind of big-money, long-term deal. Read the rest of this entry »
|Brandon Bass re-signs with Celtics||07.05.12 at 5:00 pm ET|
Brandon Bass never wanted to leave, and now he won’t have to. The veteran power forward agreed to a three-year deal with the Celtics, per a league source, filling a major hole in the team’s front line. Bass told the Herald that the deal was for $20 million total, but it’s unclear how the deal breaks down in terms of an annual salary.
Using reported figures for Bass, Kevin Garnett and free agent guard Jason Terry while adding in rookie contracts for first-round picks Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, the Celtics have committed an estimated $56 million to nine players.
The key word there is estimated. It’s important to note that new contracts can’t be officially signed and finalized until July 11 when the league completes its internal audit and arrives at a salary cap number as well as a luxury tax threshold.
By using the full mid-level exception to sign Terry, the Celtics would commit themselves to staying under the salary tax apron, which is expected to be a little more than $74 million. Once a team goes over the apron, it can’t use the full mid-level or the bi-annual exception and the cap becomes a hard cap.
Yes, this all gets confusing, but as it stands the Celtics have somewhere in the vicinity of $18 million to complete their roster with Jeff Green and Ray Allen still unsigned, as well as other internal free agents like Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma. It’s also worth noting that the Celtics have E’Twaun Moore and Sean Williams signed to non-guaranteed minimum contracts.
Allen met with the Heat on Thursday and the Associated Press reported that he would spend the night in Miami after a planned meeting with the Clippers on Friday was canceled in the wake of the Clippers agreeing to terms with Jamal Crawford. With Los Angeles out of the picture it appears to be a two-team race for Allen, although the Grizzlies have also expressed interest.
Miami is limited to offering Allen the taxpayer mid-level, which starts around $3.1 million per year. The Celtics have offered a two-year, $12 million deal. The Boston Herald reported that they could include a no-trade or a trade kicker in the deal.
As for Green, his agent David Falk said that he was optimistic a deal would get done, although it might not happen until next week. Falk reiterated that Green’s goal was to return to Boston. The Celtics had Green signed to a one-year deal for $9 million last season before an aortic aneurysm was detected, so it’s not out of line to expect a new deal to be constructed along similar parameters.
In other words, it’s still possible for the Celtics to bring back Allen and Green and still have enough left to complete the roster, but it will be tight. The deal for Bass is another strong step in that direction. Locking up a starting power forward for less than $7 million a year is an exceptionally savvy signing.
Bass averaged a career-high 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Celtics this past season after he was acquired from the Magic in a sign-and-trade involving Glen Davis. After beginning the season as the team’s sixth man, Bass joined the starting lineup for good after the All-Star break and helped the Celtics surge back into contention.
One of the game’s top mid-range-shooting big men, Bass made 48 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet, a percentage that put him on par with big man All-Stars like Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett. The Celtics love his ability to make shots because that helps open up the court for Rajon Rondo‘s slashing game.
With Bass back in place, Garnett will presumably stay at the center position although their frontline still needs work before it can be completed. Still, the Celtics’ lineup is beginning to take shape.
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