|Danny Ainge on not moving up: ‘Maybe we were going too hard at it’||06.26.15 at 1:17 am ET|
In the end, moving up into the prized Top 10 of the 2015 NBA draft was not in the cards for Danny Ainge.
“I’m not disappointed,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations. “We tried. It just didn’t happen.
“We tried hard. We tried hard to trade up. We spent the last couple of weeks trying to move, and really today was the only time we had any indication that we could move up. But we were trying. At the end of the day, it’s like Red used to say, sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make. Maybe we were going too hard at it. And there was a time when I thought, ‘Whoa, this is getting a little out of control. We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket.’
“So, I’m not frustrated. And, in the long run maybe it’ll be the best.”
The “one young player’s basket” may be a reference to the rumor of the Celtics’ effort to move up to No. 9 earlier in the day, trying reportedly to nab small forward Justise Winslow of Duke. There were reports that the team was going to part with Jared Sullinger and ship him to Charlotte. Sullinger had reportedly even followed the Hornets on Twitter and stopped following the Celtics.
Ainge could only laugh.
“The fans feed into what’s being written and said a lot, too,” Ainge said. “I did say we would try to move up. The price was way too high. There’s so many rumors out there. There are so many things are being said and written that aren’t even close to being true, that are just made-up stories. No sources and fake sources and people get caught up in these rumors and their expectations grow even higher. Don’t you think?”
Did he come close? “Yeah, we thought we were close,” Ainge said.
Instead, Ainge stayed put and made selections at all four of his spots going into the night. He took Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33 and Marcus Thornton at No. 45. Three of them, Rozier, Hunter and Thornton are guards, adding to an already crowded and jumbled backcourt.
“Listen, it all comes down to how good the players are that we have,” Ainge said. “It doesn’t matter what I say about it. We’ll just wait and see how good they are. We like the guys we have and I think our fans are going to enjoy them.”
Ainge had said he was looking for quality over quantity, and was not likely to make all four picks. He reiterated Thursday that he won’t be able to keep all four picks on the active roster, instead will try to stash them in Europe.
“No, we don’t have room on the roster for all four guys, most likely,” Ainge admitted. “We probably don’t have room for them so we’ll work out deals where guys can play overseas in some of the situations.”
|Celtics add LSU’s Jordan Mickey, William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton in second round||06.25.15 at 11:18 pm ET|
The Celtics selected LSU sophomore power forward Jordan Mickey with the No. 33 pick, the first of their two selections in the second round.
The C’s added William & Mary senior point guard Marcus Thornton with the 45th pick, their fourth and final selection of the night.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Mickey averaged 15.4 points (50.4 FG%), 9.9 rebounds, 3.6 blocks and 1.3 assists in 34.9 minutes over 31 games, leading the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament berth. For WEEI.com’s draft prospect profile on Mickey, click here.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Thornton averaged 20.0 points (45.6 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 83.0 FT%), 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 36.7 minutes over 33 games.
Stevens said he expects all of the team’s picks to compete in summer league play.
|Celtics select Georgia State SG R.J. Hunter with 28th pick||at 10:50 pm ET|
The Celtics selected Georgia State junior shooting guard R.J. Hunter with the No. 28 pick in the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-6 sharpshooter is best remembered for leading GSU to an upset of Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 19.7 points on 14.7 shots (39.5 FG%, 30.5 3P%, 87.8 FT%) to go along with 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals and a block in 37 minutes over 35 games.
For WEEI.com’s draft prospect profile on Hunter, click here.
|Celtics select Louisville PG Terry Rozier with 16th pick||at 9:26 pm ET|
As Duke freshman wing Justise Winslow slid down the draft, word of the Celtics desperately trying to trade into the No. 9 spot spread like wildfire. But that came and went, as did every other lottery pick until Danny Ainge was on the clock at No. 16.
And while most prognosticators forecasted the Celtics selecting energetic Arkansas big man Bobby Portis or skilled Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker, Ainge surprised just about everyone by taking a point guard with his first pick for the second consecutive season, adding Louisville sophomore Terry Rozier to a backcourt that already includes Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner and James Young. But who’s counting?
Moments after the Celtics drafted Rozier, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas suggested, “The only downside is that he’s small and he’s not a great shooter,” fueling confusion over a player who was projected in most mock drafts to be available when Ainge drafted again at No. 28.
Meanwhile, Rozier celebrated by jumping into a swimming pool with his clothes on. “It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said during a conference call. Asked what he knew about the Celtics, Rozier added, “I know their tradition. Most winning team in basketball.” And thus begins his NBA career.
|Video: Marcus Smart sinks halfcourt shot from his back||06.24.15 at 9:09 am ET|
We just having some fun in the gym!! Smart_MS3 pic.twitter.com/OD4XpKpYTr
— marcus plummer (@_marcus_plummer) June 23, 2015
Is this Marcus Smart’s official statement on Danny Ainge saying nobody on the Celtics is “untouchable”? Because it should be. Ainge should also then email this video to the 76ers and ask Sam Hinkie if he’s changed his mind about trading Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 overall pick for Smart and the C’s two first-round picks. “But he can drain halfcourt shots from his back!”
(h/t Bleacher Report)
|Celtics reportedly offered Marcus Smart, picks for Nerlens Noel, No. 3 overall||06.23.15 at 12:40 pm ET|
The Celtics offered Marcus Smart and both of their first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 overall pick, an unnamed NBA executive told the Los Angeles Times.
Naturally, Philadelphia declined, since a Second Team All-Rookie point guard (Smart) and two non-lottery picks don’t equal a First Team All-Rookie center (Noel) and a high lottery pick.
Still, recent reports indicate the Celtics are aggressively shopping for a high lottery pick, and team president Danny Ainge admitted as much in Tuesday’s pre-draft meeting with the media. Ainge also confirmed nobody on his middling roster is untouchable in trade discussions — all of which could be a smokescreen for ulterior motives in Boston’s front office.
The asking price for picks as high as No. 3 has historically been either an All-Star caliber player or another high lottery pick and additional assets — neither of which the C’s currently possess.
There are countless reasons the Celtics would be interested in trading for both a rim-protecting center of Noel’s caliber and a No. 3 pick that would net the best non-center in the draft (Justise Winslow, D’Angelo Russell, et al.). Among those reasons could be a desire to package those assets for DeMarcus Cousins.
Of course, there are also reasons rival executives would want this non-deal leaked, including an attempt to smoke out the actual value of the packages discussed on both sides. Don’t forget: Every executive has an agenda over the next 48 hours.
|Report: Kings coach pushing for DeMarcus Cousins trade||at 8:57 am ET|
The Kings made it pretty clear over the past week they aren’t trading All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins, as owner Vivek Ranadive told USA TODAY that there’s “zero interest” in dealing him and general manager Vlade Divac told The Sacramento Bee, “That is not happening.” But …
New Kings coach George Karl is urging Divac and multiple players to help convince Ranadive that Cousins must go, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a development that all but ensures Karl and Cousins will not enter the 2015-16 NBA season on the same page.
We’ve discussed at length the relative merits of pursuing Cousins from a Celtics perspective, but they would have serious competition on the trade market, including the Lakers and their No. 2 overall pick.
Cousins’ agents Jarrin Akana and Dan Fegan have a contentious history with Karl, and Fegan has experience pushing for a high-profile center’s move to Los Angeles from the franchise that drafted him, as he helped orchestrate Dwight Howard‘s trade from Orlando.
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