|Kris Humphries praises Celtics coach Brad Stevens||08.14.14 at 11:22 am ET|
After a disappointing 25-win campaign, few Celtics changed uniforms, but the only outgoing veteran to play all of last season in Boston gave coach Brad Stevens high marks, and that should sit well with the organization.
In a conference call introducing the new Wizards forward to the media in Washington, D.C., Kris Humphries lauded the first-year Celtics coach for helping him improve his game 10 years into his NBA career.
“I talked to Brad all the time, and it’s just one of those things where, ‘Man, you got me a lot better,'” Humphries told reporters Wednesday. “Handling the ball, making plays, things like that. Shooting. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep playing in a lot of situations like the one I was in.”
Arriving early to training camp last summer, Humphries won over skeptics inside the Celtics organization and out by taking younger players under his wing, keeping quiet early in the season despite limited minutes and eventually earning a spot in the starting lineup through continued effort. Ultimately, his numbers per 36 minutes (15.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 bpg, 55.2 TS%, 18.2 PER) ranked among the best of his career.
His patience during a trying year was commendable, and while another former Celtic will receive much of the applause when the Wizards make their only trip to Boston this season on Dec. 7, a tip of the cap should be reserved for Humphries, too. The 29-year-old publicly remained open to returning to the Celtics this summer, but ultimately chose a chance to contend for an Eastern Conference crown with the Wizards, and who can blame him?
“When you’re on a team like [Washington], which I feel blessed to be in this situation, everything you do is important and you feel important,” Humphries added in the conference call. “Whatever you do on a winning team is magnified. You feel better doing stuff when you’re working towards something. It’s a little tougher when you’re playing the right way, making sacrifices, and your team doesn’t have a chance to make the playoffs.”
His sign-and-trade with the Wizards also gave the Celtics a $4.3 million trade exception, so a Humphries era that began in Boston with one inopportune photo wasn’t so bad after all. As for the Keith Bogans experience …
|Celtics release schedule for 2014-15 NBA season||08.13.14 at 6:54 pm ET|
- The Celtics host Kevin Garnett and the Nets in the opener on Oct. 29 and again the day after Christmas. They visit Brooklyn on Jan. 7 and March 23.
- The Celtics host Paul Pierce and the Wizards on Dec. 7, when Kris Humphries will make his glorious return to Boston (get the video tribute ready now). The C’s travel to Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8 and 27.
- The Celtics host LeBron James, Kevin Love and the Cavaliers on Nov. 14 and April 12. They visit Cleveland March 3 and April 10.
- The Celtics host the defending champion Spurs on Nov. 30 and travel to San Antonio on March 20.
- The Celtics host Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Dec. 5 and visit them on Feb. 22 ‘ Rajon Rondo‘s birthday.
- The Celtics visit Doc Rivers and the Clippers on Jan. 19 and host them on March 29.
- The LeBron-less Heat come to Boston on Feb. 1 and March 25, and the Celtics travel to Miami on Dec. 21 and March 9.
- Reigning MVP Kevin Durant‘s Thunder make their only trip to Boston on Nov. 12.
- The Celtics have four nationally televised games: three on NBA TV against Anthony Davis‘ Pelicans on Jan. 12, at the Lakers on Feb. 22 and at Brooklyn on March 23; and one on ESPN against the Hawks on Jan. 14.
- Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker make their Garden debuts on Dec. 19 and April 3, respectively.
- The new prolonged NBA All-Star break leaves the Celtics without a game from Feb. 11-20.
- The Celtics have 18 back-to-backs.
- They have a six-game road trip at L.A. (Clippers), Portland, Denver, Golden State, Utah and Minnesota from Jan. 19-28, but don’t travel more than three straight games the remainder of the season.
- They play four games in five nights just once — at the Knicks, home against the Nuggets and 76ers and at Milwaukee — from Feb. 3-7, but that’s followed by three days off, a home game against the Hawks and the eight-day All-Star break.
- The Celtics have a brutal stretch of five games in seven nights from March 3-9 — beginning at Cleveland, and then home against the Jazz before traveling through New Orleans, Orlando and Miami.
And here’s the complete Celtics schedule for the 2014-15 NBA season.
|Kelly Olynyk’s wrist injury is far from ‘career-ending’||at 1:23 pm ET|
“It’ll be all right,” Olynyk told ESPN.com, admitting he fell awkwardly on the wrist while competing for Team Canada. “It’s not career-ending.” The wrist issue would have gone unnoticed were it not for a fan’s tweet to CelticsBlog.
The 23-year-old made a scheduled visit to Canobie Lake Park on Tuesday, missing Canada’s final game in Europe, and he did not alert the Celtics to any serious injury. Photos from the event show Olynyk wore no brace and had kids from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children tugging on him all afternoon.
|Celtics coach Brad Stevens accepts Ice Bucket Challenge||08.12.14 at 12:02 pm ET|
On Sunday, I issued the Ice Bucket Challenge to Celtics coach Brad Stevens in hopes of raising awareness about ALS and benefiting The Pete Frates #3 Fund‘s mission of finding a treatment and cure for the disease. Within the allotted 24 hours, Stevens accepted the challenge in an email Monday with the subject line, “On its way tomorrow …” Sure enough, the Celtics posted their coach’s response on the team’s YouTube account Tuesday.
Colton Iverson has signed a one-year deal with Spanish Euroleague power Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, according to his agent Ben Pensack.
“It’s a great opportunity for Colton to play at the highest level in Europe,” Iverson’s agent said of the Celtics‘ second-round pick in 2013. As for the 7-footer’s future with the team that drafted him No. 53 overall last year, Pensack added, “We will reassess after this season and will know more then.”
In 47 games for Besiktas in Turkey last season, Iverson averaged 7.2 points (53.5 FG%, 48.4 FT%) and 4.8 rebounds in 17.4 minutes. The 25-year-old Colorado State product returned to play for the Celtics in the Orlando summer league last month, producing 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 15.8 minutes over five games.
The trade for Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton along with a guarantee of Phil Pressey‘s contract and the signing of Evan Turner this season meant the Celtics had the same number of guaranteed contracts as open roster spots (15). The presence of Zeller in addition to Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony also pushed the number of centers on the C’s roster to three. While Faverani’s immediate future remains unclear pending his recovery from knee surgery and following his DUI arrest, the Celtics currently have no room on the roster as training camp approaches, even if Anthony’s $3.8 million expiring contract makes him surefire trade bait.
As a result, Iverson will continue to develop overseas, joining a team that made the competitive Spanish league playoffs last season and qualified for the Euroleague postseason in both 2011 and 2013.
Olynyk did return to Boston and will not play in the final game of Canada’s European tour on Tuesday.
However, the Celtics media relations staff connected with Olynyk on Monday night regarding his scheduled visit to Canobie Lake Park with 30 kids from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and “he mentioned nothing about any injuries he may have.” He will attend the event as planned.
‘ MSPCC (@mspccboston) August 12, 2014
If Olynyk indeed suffered a wrist injury, it doesn’t appear serious enough to prevent “a day of rides and fun.”
|What Kevin Love trade means for Celtics||08.07.14 at 11:29 am ET|
Mercifully, the Kevin Love drama has come to an end, and as expected in recent weeks he will not be wearing a Celtics uniform next season. Love will be donning wine and gold alongside fellow NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers will be really good for a really long time.
In exchange for the last two No. 1 overall picks — Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett — and a 2015 first-round pick, the Cavs acquired Love from Minnesota and received a commitment from the 25-year-old that he will sign a max contract next summer, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
There will be those who claim Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge facilitated the LeBron and Love pairing by dealing a trade exception for Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thornton and a first-round pick last month. And there will be those who say Love used his Boston visit to help the Timberwolves drive up the bidding war for his services. And they will not be wrong.
But once LeBron returned to Cleveland, nobody was stopping this trade. So, let’s not go around criticizing Ainge for acquiring three more assets and not offering enough to get a Love deal done. Once LeBron made the Cavaliers a destination attractive enough for Love to sign longterm and Wiggins became available in return, no combination of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and No. 1 picks was going to convince Flip Saunders otherwise.
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