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Report: Celtics acquire SG Zoran Dragic, pick from Heat 07.27.15 at 11:53 am ET
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Zoran Dragic

Zoran Dragic

The Celtics have acquired 6-foot-5 shooting guard Zoran Dragic and a second-round pick from the Heat in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick that likely will never come to fruition, according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.

The Heat will send their 2020 second-round selection and pay Dragic’s guaranteed salary of $1.71 million in 2014-15, per The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. The Celtics reportedly are expected to waive Dragic.

Much like the recent deal for Perry Jones III, the C’s add a second-round pick in exchange for relieving a team of a portion of its luxury tax penalty.

Dragic, was acquired by the Heat at last season’s trade deadline along with his brother, point guard Goran Dragic, from the Suns. He appeared in 10 games for Miami, averaging 2.2 points while shooting 41 percent from the field.

Dragic, who starred for Slovenia in last year’s World Cup, played for the Heat’s team in the Orlando Pro Summer League this month and averaged 12.3 points on 39 percent shooting with 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.5 minutes.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA, Zoran Dragic
Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 24. Goodbye, Semih Erden 07.24.15 at 12:06 pm ET
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Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 24 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2011: Goodbye, Semih Erden.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Minnesota’s 2013 second-round pick (via Cleveland): This pick was later used as a throw-in to complete the 2012 trade for Courtney Lee, and the Portland Trail Blazers ultimately used it to select Kansas center Jeff Withey with the No. 39 overall pick.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • Semih Erden: Due to a series of injuries and rumored homesickness resulting from worry over his ailing mother, the Turkish center played all of 32 games in parts of two seasons for the Cavaliers before returning to his native country, where he again plays for Fenerbahce.
  • Luke Harangody: Likewise, Harangody appeared in 42 games over the same two seasons for Cleveland before spending the past three years in the D-League and Euroleague.

It may not look like much, but this is a prime example of the value of second-round picks, something to keep in mind when the Celtics have as many as five such selections in the 2016 NBA draft.

From a talent evaluation standpoint, the Celtics took Erden with the last pick in the 2008 draft and Harangody with the No. 52 overall pick in 2010. Since Erden had been stashed overseas, both late-round picks were rookies competing for roster spots on a team that was coming off the 2010 NBA Finals appearance. Considering the health and age of a C’s frontcourt that featured Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis and a rehabbing Kendrick Perkins, both Erden and Harangody made the roster — and played important minutes on a team that won 56 games.

Harangody had a career night (17 points, 11 rebounds) in an early January win over the Toronto Raptors, and Erden averaged 20 minutes over 37 games, including seven starts, posting impressive 36-minute averages in Boston (10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 assists). So, it came as somewhat of a surprise that Ainge parted ways with them for seemingly nothing on the same day he dealt Perkins, leaving the brittle O’Neals and an unfamiliar Nenad Krstic to man the center spot.

And we all know how that played out.

By the trade deadline, though, the Celtics had already identified both Erden and Harangody were not long for the NBA, and keeping them around during a playoff run would only diminish what little value they had. So, Ainge took what he could get, and that second-round pick from Minnesota seemed almost as good as a late first-rounder, since the Timberwolves were well on their way to a league-worst 17 wins in 2010-11 and a safe bet to be a bottom-10 team for the next couple years.

In a vacuum, Ainge had turned two late second-round picks into an early second-rounder, which is a win when you consider those late selections weren’t ever going to crack a legitimate NBA rotation.

Now, we see the value of an early second-round pick. The Celtics were trying desperately to acquire Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets in 2012, and they required a third team to dump enough salary on in order to match Lee’s contract demands. With only scrap-heap players Sasha Pavlovic, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Sean Williams to offer in return, the Celtics had to include low-cost assets to convince the Rockets and Blazers to assume their salaries.

Enter the second-round picks. The Celtics had three such selections in the 2013 draft — their own (No. 45), the one from Minnesota (No. 39) and another from Charlotte (No. 32) by way of Oklahoma City as a result of the Thunder failing to disclose information about Jeff Green‘s heart ailment in the Perkins trade. The earliest pick went to the Rockets along with Johnson, Moore and Williams; the two later picks went to the Blazers with Pavlovic; and Lee came to Boston on a mid-level salary.

Nobody will ever describe the Courtney Lee era as a success in Boston, but at the time it was a coup for a contending team with zero spending flexibility and little to no young talent available to trade. And while none of the C’s three second-round picks were enough to acquire a player of value on their own, as a collective they helped grease the wheels on a deal that seemed like a steal in the present.

Remember that when Ainge sweetens the pot on trades this season with second-round picks, because it’s not like he’ll actually select someone every six picks in the latter half of the 2016 draft.

Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Danny Ainge
Source: R.J. Hunter expected to sign with Celtics next week 07.21.15 at 4:33 pm ET
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R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

The Celtics are expected to sign first-round pick R.J. Hunter to a contract early next week, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The Celtics have historically offered first-round picks the full 120 percent of the rookie salary scale, meaning the No. 28 overall pick is expected to receive a four-year, $5.86 million deal — roughly $860,412 more than the record-breaking deal second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed Monday. Hunter is expected to be a restricted free agent in 2019, when the Celtics can offer him a $3.37 million qualifying offer.

After going scoreless in his first two outings of summer league, Hunter averaged 16.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20 minutes over his final six games in Utah and Las Vegas, including a 22-point outburst against the summer league champion Spurs over the weekend.

It would follow that fellow first-round pick Terry Rozier would also have his contract in place early next week. C’s second-round pick Marcus Thornton will reportedly sign in Australia.

With the Jae Crowder signing and David Lee trade also reportedly expected next week, it appears the Celtics are done dealing, as this series of moves would eat their remaining cap space. Once Hunter, Rozier, Crowder and Lee are officially added to the roster, the Celtics will have 16 players under guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season, requiring at least one cut.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, R.J. Hunter,
Report: Celtics to waive backup PG Phil Pressey 07.15.15 at 11:30 am ET
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Phil Pressey

Phil Pressey

The Celtics will waive reserve point guard Phil Pressey, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

Pressey’s $947,276 deal would have become guaranteed had he remained on the roster through midnight on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old son of three-time NBA All-Defensive selection Paul Pressey averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes over 50 games this past season, his second since arriving in Boston as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri.

Pressey’s 36-minute averages of 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals are rather impressive, but his size (generously listed at 5-foot-11) and inability to shoot from the perimeter (25.7 career 3-point percentage) limited his impact on both ends of the floor despite above-average playmaking instincts.

The former Waltham High star became expendable when the C’s added first-round pick Terry Rozier to a point guard mix that also featured Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, but his work ethic and attitude could help him land an NBA job elsewhere.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Phil Pressey,
Celtics acquire Perry Jones III, pick from Thunder 07.14.15 at 3:45 pm ET
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Perry Jones

Perry Jones

The Celtics once again benefited from another team’s cost-saving machinations, acquiring Thunder forward Perry Jones III, Detroit’s 2019 second-round pick and cash from Oklahoma City in exchange for a protected 2018 second-round pick, the teams announced.

The deal reportedly saves OKC about $7 million in salary and luxury tax expenses while creating a $2.o4 million trade exception.

Meanwhile, the Celtics will audition the 23-year-old Jones for one season on that same $2.04 million salary before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2016. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Jones averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just 14.7 minutes over 43 games this past season. Bostonians probably best remember the Baylor product as one of several late first-round picks the C’s passed on in order to select Fab Melo in 2012.

The deal brings to mind last summer’s trade for Tyler Zeller, who the Celtics acquired along with Marcus Thornton for a conditional second-round pick in a cost-cutting move by the Cavaliers. Zeller played a similar role to Jones before starting for the C’s in 2014-15.

Even if the Celtics can get just one game close to his performance against the Clippers in the second game of this past season ‘€” a 32-point, seven-rebound, three-assist night when OKC was missing Kevin Durant ‘€” the trade will be worth the phone call to Sam Presti.

The deal theoretically brings the Celtics to the requisite 15 guaranteed contracts once Jae Crowder is officially signed and the David Lee trade is completed, which either means second-round pick Jordan Mickey won’t be earning a roster spot or more moves are coming down the pike. The latter scenario is more likely so early in the 2015-16 calendar.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Perry Jones III,
You never once let me know you were lettin’ me go, Gigi Datome at 10:32 am ET
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Any truth to the rumor Danny Ainge sang Umberto Tozzi’s “Ti Amo” quietly in his office when Gigi Datome informed him he signed a three-year, $5 million deal with Euro power Fenerbahce? Adieu, Gino reincarnated.

Gigi Datome, God how I love you so
My heart just won’t let go
Day after day I’m still holdin’ on
Even though you’re gone
Gigi Datome, wasn’t I good to you?
I did all that I could do
To make you want to be here with me
I thought you loved me
I can’t believe you could just turn and leave
Y’did it so easily
You pulled my world out from under me
Look what you’ve done to me
How could you end it this way
After the love that we made?
God how I wish you had stayed
Can’t you see that I just want you back?
Gigi Datome, I never had a clue that I was losin’ you
You never once let me know you were lettin’ me go
Oh, I guess it was there in your eyes
Guess it was there in your sighs
Guess it was there in your lies
I was blind then, couldn’t face the end
Gigi Datome, thought we’d go on and on
Thought we had something strong
You pulled my world out from under me
Look what you’ve done to me
How could you end it this way
After the love that we made?
God how I wish you had stayed
Can’t you see that I just want you back?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Gigi Datome, NBA,
Isaiah Thomas: Playing with DeMarcus Cousins again ‘would be something special’ at 9:54 am ET
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During Isaiah Thomas‘ trip abroad for the NBA 3X Spain three-on-three basketball tournament last month, the Celtics guard conducted an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario AS as a precursor to the team’s preseason game against Real Madrid on Oct. 8. He touched on subjects as wide-ranging as DeMarcus Cousins and Floyd Mayweather.

Here are a few highlights roughly translated from the original interview.

When will we see the Celtics fighting for another ring?

“In the next two years. That is the plan. Danny Ainge is trying to build a winning team from scratch. I hope to be part of that future and reach that goal.”

And so, what is the way to go?

“As easy as getting us a couple more good players. That is what we need. I hope that this summer we can do really well in the market for free agents, which already being a playoff team will take us to the next level. The most important thing for us is getting a big man and starting from there to continue to grow. I’d like to be able to persuade Marc Gasol to come to the Celtics.”

NOTE: Keep in mind, this interview was conducted prior to free agency and shortly after Thomas joked on Twitter about recruiting Gasol during his trip to Europe.

And DeMarcus Cousins?

“[Laughs.] It would be something special to join him in the locker room again. For me, he is among the best big men in the world: He is intelligent, and there aren’t many big men with his talent …”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
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