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Irish Coffee: Have the Celtics upgraded their roster? 12.12.11 at 1:22 pm ET
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When Brandon Bass is your biggest offseason acquisition, would you consider that a success? The Celtics needed to get a lot better, and without knowing who the 15th man on the roster will be it’s hard to say they did.

Here’s your 2011-12 Celtics roster, with 14 of the 15 available roster spots all but filled.

Kevin Garnett: $21.2 million
Paul Pierce: $15.3 million
Ray Allen: $10 million
Rajon Rondo: $10 million
Jeff Green: $9 million
Jermaine O’Neal: $6.2 million
Brandon Bass: $4 million
Keyon Dooling: $2.2 million
Avery Bradley: $1.5 million
Marquis Daniels: $1.3 million
Chris Wilcox: $1.3 million
Sasha Pavlovic: $1.3 million*
JaJuan Johnson: $0.9 million**
E’Twaun Moore: $0.5 million***
Total: $84.7 million (plus $14.4 million luxury tax)

*Pavlovic is expected to re-sign for one year at the veteran minimum, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
**Johnson has yet to reach a deal, but the rookie pay scale suggests he’ll get just under $1 million.
***Terms of Moore’s guaranteed deal have not been disclosed, so I’m slotting him at the rookie minimum.

Did the Celtics improve themselves at any position from the team that lost the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games to an improved Heat squad? Let’s attempt to answer that question. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling
Irish Coffee: Another NBA conspiracy theory 12.09.11 at 2:20 pm ET
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Please indulge me, whilst a tell you an NBA conspiracy theory. It involves a Mormon, a camel, two giants and an insurance salesman. None of them walked into a bar.

On July 31, 2007, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge convinced former C’s teammate, good friend and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale to ship Kevin Garnett to Boston in return for Al Jefferson and a cup of poop soup over a deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And the road to a 17th NBA championship was paved.

On Feb. 1, 2008, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dangled the immortal Kwame Brown and his 5.7 points/5.7 rebounds per game as the centerpiece of a trade for Grizzlies All-Star Pau Gasol and his 18.9 points/8.8 rebounds per game. And former C’s general manager Chris Wallace delivered the 2009 and 2010 NBA titles to L.A.

On June 25, 2009, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers brass traded $20 million worth of Sasha Pavlovic and a washed up Ben Wallace for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Paul, Glen Big Baby Davis
Irish Coffee: Celtics on Grant Hill’s short list and other NBA free agent rumors 12.06.11 at 12:58 pm ET
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Because NBA teams can contact free agents but cannot sign them until Friday, you’ll hear plenty about players truncating lists of potential destinations — mini versions of LeBron James‘ ill-conceived Decision, if you will.

Four players, all great would-be additions in Boston, have included the Celtics on their short lists, according to various reports: Shane Battier, Grant Hill, Kurt Thomas and Leon Powe.

Battier would require the $3 million mini mid-level exception, and that might still not be enough for Danny Ainge to lure The No Stats All-Star. Hill might cost the C’s $3 million as well, unless by some miracle coach Doc Rivers can leverage his relationship to convince his fellow former Orlandoan to sign for the 10-year veteran minimum ($1.4 million). Both free agent’s list include seven teams, according to SI.com.

  • Battier’s list: Heat, Spurs, Pacers, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics, Thunder
  • Hill’s list: Suns, Knicks, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Celtics, Clippers

While Sports Illustrated cited the Suns as the heavy favorite to retain the 39-year-old Hill, a New York Post report confirmed Hill’s interest in the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks, making the point that Phoenix is a rebuilding team that can’t offer the chance for a title like the Celtics, Bulls or even Knicks.

With the possible exception of the Spurs, the Celtics will be in the unfortunate position of offering the lowest contract to either player, as those other teams as currently constituted will have the full $5 million exception.

The Post report also linked the Celtics, Heat and Bulls to another 39-year-old in Thomas. While all three teams would be offering the 10-year veteran minimum, the Bulls can offer slightly more to retain Thomas, but the Celtics and Heat would probably have more minutes available for him.

Finally, ESPN Los Angeles reporter Dave McMenamin talked to a familiar face, tweeting: “Leon Powe said the Grizzlies and Celtics are the teams he’s looking at.” The injury-plagued Powe chose Memphis over a return to Boston after being waived by the Cavaliers late last season. He averaged 5.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.8 minutes over his final 16 games, and then played only 3.5 minutes a night during the Grizzlies’ playoff run.

To recap, the Celtics can offer the worst contract among seven teams vying for the best player on this list (Battier) and would be lucky to land a pair of 39-year-olds (Hill and Thomas) or a guy who has played a combined 50 games over his last two seasons due to serious knee injuries (Powe). And I’m on board with any and all of these moves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2011-12 Celtics free agency period!

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Grant Hill, Kurt Thomas, Leon Powe
Celtics free agent options at power forward redux 12.02.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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Welcome to the fifth and final part of this week’€™s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’€™s biggest needs – at center and shooting guard — as well as two other critical positions (backup point guards and small forwards), so we move to the final piece of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘€™s puzzle: Backup Power Forwards.

The Celtics started this past season with a surefire Hall of Fame four in Kevin Garnett, and backed him up with a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Glen Davis. The C’€™s version of assistant to the assistant regional manager rotated from Luke Harangody to ‘€œWe Hardly Knew Ye’€ Chris Johnson to Troy Murphy, with a dabble of Jeff Green, who played the four for the Thunder but is more suited to the three on the Celtics. Got all that? Good.

As we’€™ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (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 — unless another team far exceeds his qualifying offer of $5.9 million.

Davis and Murphy are free agents, and while they might sound like a buddy cop duo from Dublin, they’€™re actually both pretty darn good for second and third options at the four. The addition of first-round pick JaJuan Johnson — a 6-foot-10 senior power forward out of Purdue — likely makes a Murphy-type expendable. But even with Garnett, Green and Johnson expected to be on the 2011-12 roster, the Celtics should seek one more power forward option, in case Johnson isn’€™t ready and to leave Green on the wing.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup power forward, separating the current free agent players into four categories and forgetting about David West, because that ain’€™t happening.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carl Landry, Glen Davis, Jeff Green
Celtics free agent options at small forward redux 12.01.11 at 5:39 pm ET
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Welcome to Part 4 of this week’€™s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. 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.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Grant Hill, Josh Howard, NBA
Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge show the love for Rajon Rondo at 1:29 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers know full well what to expect when they next see Rajon Rondo – assuming that’s in a Celtics uniform on Dec. 9, the first day of training camp.

They admitted on Thursday in an 18-minute briefing with reporters at the team’s practice facility that trade rumors involving their point guard are part of the uncontrollable business of the new-world NBA where there’s labor peace but no ratified deal in place yet to allow general managers and coaches to have direct contact with players.

“I’ll talk to Rondo,” Ainge said. “Rondo will be fine. Rondo knows that we love him. He’s excited to come back and play basketball. He gets a lot of attention. He’s a great player. There’s a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. How these rumors get out is unfortunate but we didn’t leak those rumors out and we’ll deal with it. He’ll be fine.”

“There’s a reason when whatever this thing leaked out, it was all over the news,” Rivers added. “It’s because the players they were talking about are both really good. Rondo has established that with his play. He is a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team. He should be flattered, in a way, that this is news.”

As big a deal as trading Rondo would be, Ainge has an even bigger issue at hand – filling out the roster before training camp and the season opener on Christmas.

“We have about eight players to sign, that’s not including our draft players, which we’re in the process of getting signed,” Ainge said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Irish Coffee: Celtics Rumors 911 (Episode 3) at 1:00 pm ET
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Although they can’t sign anyone to contracts until Dec. 9, NBA teams are now officially allowed to reach out to free agents. Since the Celtics have only six players under contract, they’ll probably be linked to just about every name out there, especially big men (i.e., Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Kwame Brown, etc.) and backup swingmen (i.e., Shane Battier, Grant Hill, etc.). Here’s a rundown of the rumor mill from the past 24 hours.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Grant Hill
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