|Trade deadline: C’s may benefit from Warriors move||03.14.12 at 12:56 pm ET|
SAN FRANCISCO — The Celtics may or may not make a deal before Thursday’s trade deadline, but they have already benefited from the process. While they were en route to the Bay Area, the Warriors pulled off a five-player trade that cost them Monta Ellis, Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh to Mliwaukee for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
The move subtracts Golden State’s leading scorer in Ellis and a plus-minus monster in Udoh. It didn’t stop the Warriors from hammering the Kings by 26 points on Tuesday night but with Ellis gone and Steph Curry out with a sprained ankle, they started old friend Nate Robinson and rookie Klay Thompson in the backcourt. Golden State also started David Lee and Andris Biedrinis, but without Udoh their frontcourt depth is even thinner than the Celtics.
Bogut is out with a sprained ankle, but when healthy he could become the kind of interior defensive presence the Warriors have sought for years. As SI’s Zach Lowe points out, they made a run at Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan this past offseason before settling on Brown. Jackson is a complete wild card in more ways that one, but regardless, neither player should be on the floor for Golden State on Wednesday. (In a nice twist, the Bucks visit Golden State on Friday).
The move impacts the Celtics in another way as they will be in Milwaukee on Thursday. The Bucks have moved into a tie with the Knicks for the 8th playoff spot in the East and it will be interesting to see how the Brandon Jennings-Ellis backcourt meshes.
|Warriors send Monta Ellis to Bucks for Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson||03.13.12 at 9:24 pm ET|
Golden State has agreed to a deal that would send guard Monta Ellis and two players to Milwaukee for center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, according to Yahoo! Sports. According to multiple reports, the Bucks also will receive forward Ekpe Udoh and center Kwame Brown.
The 27-year-old Bogut, who was the first overall pick of Milwaukee in the 2005 draft, has been dogged by injury over the course of his career. He’s averaged 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in his seven years in the NBA. The 33-year-old Jackson — a fan favorite in the Bay Area when he played with the Warriors from January 2007 until November 2009 — also brings a jolt of offense to Golden State, as he’s averaged 16.1 points per game since he arrived in the league in 2000.
Ellis, in his seventh year in the league, has career averages of 19.6 points and 4.4 assists.
The Celtics will get their opportunity to see the new-look Warriors right out of the gate — Boston will face Golden State Wednesday in the Bay Area.
|Sizing up the D-League prospects||03.12.12 at 2:11 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Celtics need help. Specifically, they need tall people. The problem with that, of course, is that there just aren’t that many of them to go around and there are even fewer of them available. But with Jermaine O’Neal injured and away from the team and Chris Wilcox awaiting further tests on a possible heart condition, the Celtics need to find someone, somewhere to help fill the void in the middle.
They have four players on the roster who qualify as big: Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson. (Stiemsma was wearing a walking boot after playing 13 minutes on Sunday. He said it’s precautionary, but that’s not a good sign for a team that can’t afford any more injuries).
Coach Doc Rivers made it clear on Sunday that the team is looking for help, but they are hampered by two realities. First, they are at the maximum 15 players on the roster and if they decide to add someone, then a veteran has to be waived. Second, they are reluctant to do anything to damage their future rebuilding plans.
“You don’t want to do anything silly,” Rivers said. “We’re building for this year and the future so we’re not going to do anything that’s going to hurt either one of those. Obviously we’re looking to grab a big from somewhere, hopefully not by giving away a player, by doing it another route.”
The most obvious place to look is the D-League, but while the development league is full of guards and wings it has a noticeable shortage of qualified big men.
“Usually there’s not a lot of bigs floating around the D-League,” Rivers said. “We’re going to look everywhere. Wherever we can.”
Here’s a snapshot of some of the better prospects, with a hat tip to Scott Schroeder at Ridiculous Upside.
Mikki Moore: The most qualified by far, but he didn’t mess at all with Rivers in a brief run at the end of the 2009 season. There is a better chance of seeing Shaquille O’Neal back with the Celtics than Moore.
Keith Benson: A second round pick by the Hawks, the 6-foot-11 Benson is averaging 14.3 points and 7.7. rebounds for the Sioux Falls Sky Force.
Brian Butch: Stiemsma’s one-time teammate at Wisconson, Butch is averaging 18.2 points and 11.1 rebounds for the Bakersfield Jam. He has good range, making 42 percent of his 3-pointers.
Dan Gadzuric: The nine-year NBA vet has been off the radar for most of the season, but he made his debut with Texas on Sunday and scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Earl Barron: Currently playing in the Philippines, Barron has appeared in 112 games over six NBA seasons.
According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, the Celtics and Lakers talked about a trade for Rajon Rondo. The discussions didn’t get anywhere, according to the story, with the Lakers evidently unwilling to include Pau Gasol in any deal. Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists in the Celtics’ 97-94 loss to the Lakers Sunday.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Big Show in his March 1 appearance that he was not actively attempting to trade Rondo.
|Trade Rumor: Celtics asked for Tyler Hansbrough, pick for Ray Allen||03.09.12 at 3:19 pm ET|
“Here’s the thing,” Bird said. “When Danny and I talked about trading for Ray, he wanted Tyler Hansbrough and a first-round pick. If that’s the value he’s putting on Ray Allen, he ain’t getting it. That tells me he’s in no hurry to trade him.”
That jives with other talk around the league that Ainge’s price is high for one of his four All-Stars. On The Big Show on Thursday, Ainge said that he wouldn’t deal future assets to fix his bench’s problems now. He’s not desperate to make a trade, in other words.
|Report: Josh Smith wants out of Atlanta||at 12:18 am ET|
Hawks forward Josh Smith is having one of his best seasons, averaging 17.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for a team that has stayed in the thick of the playoff chase without Al Horford. But the 26-year-old Smith has had his problems in Atlanta, and Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Smith would like to be traded before the March 15 deadline.
By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court, according to one of the people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.
The Hawks have been fielding phone calls on Smith, with the Warriors mentioned as one possibility. The Celtics have been very loosely tied to the forward, but team officials shot down a report last week involving Kevin Garnett.
Smith, who played his high school ball at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia with Rajon Rondo, remains friends with the All-Star guard and he has one year left after this season on a contract that pays him $13 million.
|Trade Rumor: Celtics interested in Michael Beasley||03.08.12 at 3:06 pm ET|
Minnesota forward Michael Beasley turned 23 less than two months ago, and in four seasons in the NBA he’s averaged 15.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He’s also making 42 percent of his 3-pointers this season. Beasley has also been durable more than you’d expect. He missed only 14 games in his first three seasons in the league, and while he missed 11 games with a foot injury, he’s been back in the Wolves lineup since late January.
But Beasley doesn’t really fit with Minnesota, who have Kevin Love entrenched at the power forward spot and rookie Derrick Williams ready for more playing time. He will be a restricted free agent this summer with a qualifying offer of $8.1 million, per Sham Sports contract database. He can be had, but the question is for how much?
Ken Berger of CBS Sports notes the Celtics, Lakers and Orlando are interested in Beasley. A trade for free agent center Jermaine O’Neal straight-up works cap-wise, but the Wolves would certainly want more than an aging center contemplating wrist surgery. The Celtics will have two first round picks in this year’s draft — their own and one obtained from the Clippers, via the Kendrick Perkins trade. (The pick is top-10 protected through 2016, but the Clips are headed for the playoffs and have the fourth-best record in the Western Conference).
Celtics president Danny Ainge has never been afraid to take chances on talent that hasn’t fit in other places. Beasley was the No. 2 pick in the draft, but was dumped on the Wolves for cash and second round draft picks when the Heat cleared cap space to sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Would he be worth a mid to late-round pick in what has been described as a deep draft?
In the same report, Berger also notes that the Celtics are “prepared to entertain offers for Paul Pierce,” and that while the Clippers may be interested in Ray Allen, they don’t have the assets for a deal. Finally, Berger writes that Ainge would have to be “blown away” for a deal involving Rajon Rondo.
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