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What’s next for the Celtics? 07.14.10 at 2:34 pm ET
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LAS VEGAS — Out here in the steamy desert, it’s been difficult to keep track of all the coming and goings. One day, New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower is sitting in the stands watching the action at summer league. The next day various Hornets assistants were scrambling for an impromptu meeting in the same section to discuss what they’re going to do now that they don’t have a general manager anymore.

The free agent market typically has a defined rhythm to it. The top players go first, along with a handful of role players who actually set the market — Drew Gooden, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, etc. Then come the secondary players along with the sign-and-trades and restricted free agents.

This can take as long as a month, but in the wake of ‘The Decision’ things have happened at a breakneck pace. When LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudemire signed with new teams, they didn’t just take their talents with them. They also left parting gifts in the form of trade exemptions, which shifted cap space from one franchise to another.

So while the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Nets have used their cap space to varying degrees, the Raptors, Suns and Jazz have also remade their teams.

(Somewhat hilariously, the Timberwolves picked up up a sizable trade exception after they gave away Al Jefferson to Utah. The only problem is, they can’t use it unless they are over the cap. They used some of that cap space on Luke Ridnour and now seem intent on giving away Ramon Sessions, who they signed last year. There appears to be no method to the madness that is [David] Kaaaaahn.)

While all this has gone down, the Celtics have basically been forced to sit and watch with nothing but the veteran minimum left to offer.

Danny Ainge did almost all of his work before July 8 when he agreed to contracts with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and used the full mid-level exception on Jermaine O’Neal. The consensus out in Vegas is that the Celtics did well with those deals, particularly with O’Neal who will probably have to start at center for most of the season while Kendrick Perkins rehabs from his knee surgery.

But the Memphis Grizzlies threw them a curveball when they signed Tony Allen to a three-year deal. The issue wasn’t the money. It was the years. Having lived with T.A. for this long, they felt that three years was just too long to commit to a player with his inconsistencies and injury history.

The minimum offer from the Celtics has more cache then say, the minimum offer from the Pacers, because they can also offer a chance to play for a championship with a universally respected coach like Doc Rivers. But, money is money and there is still some of it out there to grab before the market settles back down.

So, where do they go from here? The operative word from people here in Vegas is time, as in it will take some before the market comes back to them.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Kwame Brown not expected to sign with C’s 07.12.10 at 11:17 am ET
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The Celtics will need to continue their pursuit of a frontcourt player for the bench as CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting that free agent target Kwame Brown will most likely take his services elsewhere next season. The biggest concern appears to be money as the C’s can’t offer anything over the veteran’s minimum to Brown, who averaged just 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while earning $4 million last season as a member of the Pistons. He has been considered one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history after being selected first in the 2001 draft by the Wizards and averaging double digits in points in just one of his nine NBA seasons, but he impressed Doc Rivers at a recent workout, leading Rivers to say, ”I wouldn’t mind having him on our team, I can tell you that. He could help us.”

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Report: No collusion probe by Cavs or Raptors at 9:46 am ET
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The Cavaliers and Raptors will not request an investigation by the NBA to look into if there was any collusion prior to the two teams losing superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, respectively, to the Heat this offseason, according to an ESPN.com report. NBA commissioner David Stern had previously mentioned that if the two teams wanted such a probe, the league would be obligated to follow through with one.

There had been rumors of collusion among the players involved as well as Dwyane Wade after the trio reportedly met for a free agent summit before the market opened on July 1. However, the league has decided that individual players cannot be charged with tampering in the same manner as teams can unless it is apparent that the player is working directly under the orders of team management.

The two teams had separate reasons for not requesting the probe. One Cavs official told ESPN.com that the team just wants to move on after the wake of “The Decision” and try to focus all of its efforts on its future without James. Toronto decided that it would rather let the league decide matters such as these, according to the report.

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Reports: Barbosa traded to Toronto, off Celtics’ radar at 9:18 am ET
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The Celtics will have to look elsewhere as they try to reload their bench for another run at the NBA finals next seasons after multiple reports have Suns guard Leandro Barbosa being traded to the Raptors as part of a three-player deal that would send swingman Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix. Barbosa had been rumored as a potential trade target for the C’s this offseason, but that appears to be off the table now. Barbosa averaged 9.5 points as a backup last season and could have replaced the recently departed Tony Allen as the first guard off the Boston bench. Instead, the Celtics will now need to lure in other trade partners to fill that role, using the not-yet-retired Rasheed Wallace‘s contract as bait.

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Report: Celtics have ‘serious interest’ in Howard at 7:34 am ET
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According to a report by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, a league source has indicated that the Celtics have shown “serious interest” in free-agent forward Josh Howard.

An All-Star with Dallas in 2007, Howard tore the ACL in his left knee as a member of the Wizards in March 2010. He was projected to out of action from six to eight months but told Yahoo! that he was ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation process and expects to be ready by the start of the regular season.

Howard averaged 12.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game last season.

The Celtics would most likely need a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Howard, already having used their mid-level execption on Jermaine O’Neal. It’s possible they could move Rasheed Wallace’s contract in a deal to land Howard.

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Report: Interest between C’s, Shaq no longer mutual 07.09.10 at 9:13 am ET
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Shaquille O’Neal appears to have moved on from the prospect of joining the Celtics’ front court next season, according to a report by AOL FanHouse NBA writer Chris Tomasson. O’Neal is said to still be interested in playing in Boston, but the Celtics seemed to have lost interest in a deal due to potential chemistry issues. This news comes on the heels of reports that the C’s have already agreed with veteran forward Jermaine O’Neal (no relation) on a two-year deal.

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NBA roundup: Beasley, Miller, Lee reportedly on move at 7:12 am ET
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According to multiple reports, the Heat were able to rid themselves of Michael Beasley when they agreed to send the 2008 No. 2 overall pick to the Timberwolves for a second-round pick and an exchange of first-round selections.

By virtually giving away Beasley, the Heat clear up more cap space so that they can complete the signings of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, as well as lure some other players to fill out the roster. Wizards sharpshooter Mike Miller reportedly is high on Miami’s list, and a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Friday morning indicate Miller is poised to sign a five-year, $30 million deal with the Heat.

Elsewhere, David Lee‘s agent confirmed to ESPN that the All-Star forward will go to the Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal that sends Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike to New York.

The Clippers signed two free agents: forward Ryan Gomes and guard Randy Foye. Celtics fans remember Gomes, the Providence College product who was traded to the Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007. Foye played last season in Washington after playing his first three years in Minnesota.

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