|Irish Coffee: Top 10 observations of Celtics schedule||07.27.12 at 1:20 pm ET|
In case you missed NBA TV’s very special release of the 2012-13 regular season schedule, hold onto your hats for this breaking news: The Celtics will play 82 games over the span of six months — exactly 41 apiece at home and on the road, if you can believe that coincidence — and each one of them counts equally against their record. Of course, some offer more intrigue than others. That’s where the following 10 observations come into play.
10. Opening Night: Remarkably, the first game of the entire NBA schedule features the unstoppable force known as the Wizards and the immovable force that is the Cavaliers. Thankfully, that’s not the inaugural national TV broadcast. That honor belongs to the Celtics and Heat, who play their Eastern Conference finals rematch on Oct. 30 in Miami at 8 p.m. (TNT), followed by Mavericks at Lakers at 10:30 p.m. The NBA’s selection of C’s-Heat is no surprise, whose rivalry only gets more interesting now that Ray Allen has taken his talents to South Beach.
9. Many Happy Returns: We’ll get to Allen’s return to Boston momentarily, but the C’s new additions have their own homecoming dances. Celtics free agent signee Jason Terry won’t play his first road game in Dallas since the 2003-04 season until March 22. Since C’s sign-and-trade acquisition Courtney Lee has played for three different teams in four years, his homecoming won’t be so emotional, but on Dec. 14 he visits Houston, where he played for the Rockets the past two years. And, believe it or not, Jeff Green still hasn’t played in Oklahoma City since the Thunder shipped him to Boston for Kendrick Perkins in 2011, so March 10 marks his return.
|2012-13 Celtics regular-season schedule||07.26.12 at 7:49 pm ET|
The NBA released the 2012-13 regular-season schedule. Here are all 82 Celtics games.
Oct. 30: Celtics at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
Nov. 2: Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3: Celtics at Wizards, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7: Wizards at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10: Celtics at Bucks, 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 12: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m.
Nov. 14: Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 15: Celtics at Nets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
Nov. 17: Raptors at Celtics, 12:30 p.m.
Nov. 18: Celtics at Pistons, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 21: Spurs at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23: Thunder at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Nov. 25: Celtics at Magic, 6 p.m.
Nov. 28: Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Nov. 30: Blazers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
|Agent: Mickael Pietrus ‘not a veteran minimum player’||07.24.12 at 1:30 pm ET|
Pietrus is “still open to a return,” according to his agent Bill McCandless, but the 30-year-old free agent swingman will not play for the NBA’s veteran minimum salary — which, after his nine years in the league, is $1.23 million.
‘MP will not play for the veteran’s minimum. Period,” said McCandless. “It’s not happening. That’s the beginning, middle and end of that. … He is not a veteran’s minimum player. There’s no chance he’ll ever sign for that.”
That leaves the $1.96 million bi-annual exception as the C’s only option, but that may not be enough. While Pietrus signed for the $1.22 million minimum after being waived by the Suns in December, the French-speaking Guadeloupean has “a standing offer triple that overseas,” his agent said. They’ve also engaged in serious talks with several NBA teams, including one Monday, “and the money was much more than the veteran minimum.”
|Irish Coffee: Examining the 2012-13 Celtics depth chart||07.23.12 at 12:39 pm ET|
The NBA draft is over. Summer League is over. And for the Celtics, free agency is essentially over. So, with the addition of former Hawks center Jason Collins and the training camp invites to Summer League stars Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith over the weekend, the C’s could field a 15-man roster as currently constituted.
The depth chart is beginning to take shape. While Danny Ainge could still welcome Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling or another player into the fold for the veteran minimum, the hard part is done. None of the four recently re-signed players or eight new additions could even be traded until December 15, and Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley don’t appear to be on the block, so any changes to this group would be a minor tweak at best.
That being said, let’s take a look at how this season’s depth chart stacks up to the one that finished the playoffs.
|E’Twaun Moore bullish on Chicago; JaJuan Johnson considering options||07.20.12 at 5:53 pm ET|
A league source tells WEEI.com that after his expected release from Houston, E’Twaun Moore expects to wind up in Bulls camp and get a look with former Celtics defensive guru and current Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The source says the other player, big man JaJuan Johnson, has doubts about his future in Houston and is keeping his options open, should it not work out long term with the Rockets.
On Friday, the Celtics officially announced they traded Moore, Johnson, center Sean Williams and a second-round pick to Houston and forward Sasha Pavlovic to Portland in the deal. The Trail Blazers will also get a second round pick. What remains unspecified is what Portland will send to Houston or the Celtics to finalize the deal.
The source indicated the timeline of events are not certain and are very fluid. The trade is not expected to be affected as Johnson and Moore evaluate their options based on potential scenarios in Houston and Portland.
Per CBA rules, the Celtics cannot re-sign Moore if he becomes a free agent after being released.
Moore and Johnson were selected together by the Celtics out of Purdue in the 2011 NBA draft. Johnson was picked in the first round, 27th overall, by the Celtics while Moore was Boston’s second round choice (55th overall). Due to the lockout, Moore signed a deal with Italy’s Benetton Treviso that featured an opt-out clause that let him return to the Celtics once the lockout ended.
On Dec. 9, 2011 Moore signed a guaranteed contract with the Celtics. He debuted briefly (less than a minute) in the Celtics’ season-opener against the Knicks on Christmas Day.
In the March, with Keyon Dooling and Sasha Pavlovic nursing nagging injuries, Moore saw his playing time increase. He had a career-high 16 points on Jan. 26, against the Magic, going 4-4 from 3-point range. On April 24 and 26, in the final two games of the regular season, Moore established new career highs of seven rebounds and five assists against the Heat and Bucks, respectively.
Johnson had much less playing opportunity. In 36 games, he averaged just eight minutes and 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.
|Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge’s masterful Celtics summer||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.
|Irish Coffee: What’s the bigs deal with the Celtics?||07.18.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
Thank God for Kevin Garnett. Again.
If not for his transition to center last season and the assumption that he’ll now man a position he admittedly hates for three more years, who would have earned minutes at the five other than Chris Wilcox? Fab Melo? JaJuan Johnson? Sean Williams? Might as well punch the Celtics faithful in the stomach thrice.
The bad news: As currently constituted, one among that trio will get minutes to begin the 2012-13 NBA season.
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