|Kelly Olynyk posts a double-double, but Celtics fall to Rockets in summer league||07.10.13 at 5:59 pm ET|
Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but the Celtics had their two-game win streak snapped in an 85-78 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday afternoon in NBA Summer League play in Orlando. Olynyk did commit five turnovers and seven personal fouls in the loss. Summer league rules allow players to commit an unlimited number of fouls.
The Rockets, who recently signed free agent center Dwight Howard, jumped out to a quick start, leading 24-17 after one quarter.
The Celtics responded by outscoring the Rockets 23-19 in the second period and cut Houston’s lead to 43-40 at the half. But the Celtics offense went cold again in the third as Boston scored just 16 points and trailed 67-56 entering the final quarter.
Trailing 81-73 with 1:38 left in the game, the Celtics made one final push, cutting the lead to three, 81-78, on a Lawrence Hill 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds remaining. But those would be the final points of the day for the Celtics, who finished the scheduled portion of summer league at 2-2. They will have Thursday off before a playoff game on Friday.
The Celtics, who entered the day in third place in the standings, earned two points in the loss by winning the second and fourth quarters. They have 14 points, tying them with the idle Heat for third place. The Heat play Thursday. The Celtics are likely to play in either the third-place or fifth-place game on Friday.
The Rockets are a perfect 3-0, with their final scheduled game set for Thursday. The Rockets are second in the standings now with 16 points after earning five on Wednesday. Oklahoma City leads the group with 20 points after earning six on Wednesday in a win over the 76ers.
Tim Abromaitis (14) and Courtney Fells (10) were the only other Celtics scoring in double figures. Phil Pressey got the start again at point guard for the Celtics. He had an up-and-down game, dishing out a game-high 10 assists but committing four turnovers and making just 2-of-9 field goal attempts.
At halftime, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens spoke to NBA TV. Stevens said he’s not worried about next season’s record as much as he is about the overall approach his new team takes to playing.
“I’ve been a lot less concerned about results [this summer] than playing to a standard. That’s going to be a major emphasis,” Stevens told Nick Cellini and Kendall Gill.
Stevens was also asked about Rajon Rondo and whether he’s reached out to his All-Star point guard.
“From everything I’ve been told, his rehab has been going well,” Stevens said. “Shared quite a few texts, talked on phone. Will talk to him soon.”
|Report: Lakers, Celtics among six teams to pay luxury tax||at 12:36 pm ET|
Neither the Celtics or the Lakers made it out of the first round of the playoffs last season, but making it that far cost Los Angeles more than it did for Boston.
The Lakers reportedly will pay a league-high $29.25 million worth of luxury tax for their payroll last season, while the Celtics will pay only $1.18 million. The Heat ($13.34 million), Nets ($12.88 million), Knicks ($9.96 million), and Bulls ($3.93 million) are the other four teams that have to pay a luxury tax for their payrolls last season.
The NBA also announced its salary cap and luxury tax threshold for the 2013-14 season, and going over the luxury tax threshold will be even more costly for teams than it was this past season. The Nets, who have a similar payroll to the Lakers this past season, are projected to have to pay around $75 million in luxury tax payments after next season if they keep the payroll they have now.
Fifty percent of the total tax paid by the six teams will fund the league’s revenue sharing for the 2012-13 season, according to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. The rest of it will be distributed evenly among the league’s remaining 24 teams.
According to the ESPN report, the six teams will receive an invoice by Monday and have to remit their payment by July 24. The money will be distributed to the 24 teams before July 29.
|Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles||07.08.13 at 9:28 pm ET|
Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue will be migrating west with Rivers as assistants on the Clippers staff. A close friend of Rivers – Alvin Gentry – was also named associate head coach on Monday.
Rivers was named the head coach and senior vice president of the basketball operations of the Clippers in mid-June and has been working on completing his staff since leaving Boston for LA.
Also leaving Boston is JP Clark, who will serve as the assistant players skills coach. The Clippers confirmed the hires on their Twitter page on Monday afternoon.
Clippers name Alvin Gentry Associate Head Coach & add Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue as assistant coaches. http://t.co/L0hAgigOf4
‘ Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) July 8, 2013
Gentry returns to Los Angeles for his third stint with the Clippers after serving as both head coach (2000-2003) and assistant coach (1990-1991).
Hill was one of Rivers’ main assistants in Boston over the past nine seasons. Before joining the Celtics, Hill was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2003-04 season.Eastman joined the Celtics staff in Rivers’ second season in Boston and remained in Boston ever since.
Lue, who played in Los Angeles with the Lakers and won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001, spent the past four seasons on the Celtics bench, including the last two as an assistant coach. Lue will serve as the head coach for the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas.
Clark spent last season with the Celtics in their player development department and also served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
One of the greatest Celtics in franchise history believes the team’s intensely loyal fan base should trust in Danny Ainge.
Larry Bird, speaking to reporters Monday at the Orlando summer league games, said he understands why his former teammate and current president of basketball operations of the Celtics traded heart-and-soul pieces Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last week to the Brooklyn Nets.
“Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing,” Bird said. “He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. Danny does a good job. You know, you do get older. You can’t beat Father Time, and I’m sure things will work out.”
Pierce will be 36 next season while Garnett will be 37 when he suits up with Brooklyn. Both, Bird said Monday can be productive with the Nets.
“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said Monday. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah — they’ll pick their spots, but when the time comes, they’ll be there.”
Bird, who serves as Ainge’s counterpart with the Pacers, acknowledged it’s disappointing to see Pierce, the second-leading scorer in Celtics franchise history, not be able to do what he did and finish his career playing only for the Celtics.
“I would have loved to see it,” Bird said. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Pierce, who turns 36 Oct. 13, averaged 18.6 points per game this past season and, with 24,021 points, trails only John Havlicek on Boston’s all-time scoring list.
“[Pierce] is one of the better ones to ever come through there, he really is,” Bird insisted.
|Irish Coffee: What next for Danny Ainge’s Celtics?||07.02.13 at 8:05 am ET|
Strap in, because this may take a while. The previous rebuilding phase lasted 22 years, and Kris Humphries is involved this time around. A locker room shared by the former Mr. Kardashian and Rajon Rondo might just ignite enough toxicity to blow these Celtics up from the inside out. That’s one option, I guess.
At least C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acquired a handful of building blocks, adding an additional first-round draft pick in four of the next five seasons and clearing cap space in 2014. Whatever else he accomplishes over the next couple months, it will all be done with an eye toward next summer.
As a result, don’t expect a Josh Smith to join the Celtics during the NBA’s free-agency period that began on Monday. Ainge admitted as much when introducing “not star” rookie 7-footers Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson.
Sure, the Celtics could chase a sign-and-trade deal for Smith, ink Rondo’s high school roommate to double-digit millions and let a handful of wildly entertaining sixth-seeded seasons commence, but that wouldn’t get them much closer to the only thing that matters around here: An 18th banner. As Ainge said, “This is the Boston Celtics.”
Of course, Ainge also said, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous.” So, what exactly is he doing?
|Danny Ainge talks Dwight Howard, NBA free agency||07.01.13 at 9:56 pm ET|
While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis.
Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo: The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.
“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers and the pending trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics.”
|Celtics waive Terrence Williams on eve of free agency||06.30.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s free agency period begins, the Celtics waived wing Terrence Williams on Sunday, just two days after the Chinese Basketball Association import’s 26th birthday.
Williams averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games since his signing in mid-February. After consecutive 10-day contracts, the C’s signed him for the remainder of the season with a non-guaranteed minimum contract for 2013-14.
The Celtics saved $200,000 that would have become guaranteed had Williams been on the roster at midnight. His arrest last month on gun charges that are still under investigation probably didn’t help matters.
After stints on the Nets, Rockets and Kings from 2009-12, Williams played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China this past winter before joining the injury-riddled Celtics for the stretch run.
In five playoff appearances, Williams made little impact, playing mostly as a 6-foot-6 backup point guard to Rajon Rondo.
Once the trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry becomes official on July 12, Rondo and expected starting 2-guard Avery Bradley are the only current players on the roster capable of playing the point. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has plenty of priorities this summer, and backup point guard has to be one of them.
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