|Report: Celtics target Josh Smith pending Paul Pierce trade||06.25.13 at 1:52 pm ET|
If the Celtics can unload captain Paul Pierce to a team with enough cap space to absorb his $15.3 million contract next season — acquiring an equally hefty trade exception in return — Danny Ainge already has a sign-and-trade package prepared to offer the Hawks for unrestricted free agent Josh Smith, according to a Sporting News report.
The Bucks and Cavaliers have both been rumored among potential Pierce suitors, but the Celtics legend’s desire to play for a contender if he doesn’t stay in Boston remains an apparent hurdle for Ainge, who also reportedly wants a first-round pick back for Pierce.
Unless Ainge finds a trade destination for Pierce or both agree to extend the deadline, the C’s must decide by July 1 whether to pay Pierce his $15.3 million or cut him for $5 million against the cap.
While Sporting News reporter Sean Deveney‘s source did not divulge any details of a potential sign-and-trade deal for Smith, the Celtics would reportedly be willing to offer the athletic 27-year-old $15 million.
However, Smith could receive as much as $17.5 million on the open market from teams with the salary cap space (i.e., the Bucks, who sought Smith at the trade deadline), throwing yet another wrinkle into Ainge’s rebuilding plans this summer.
Of course, Smith and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo have been close friends since their days as roommates at Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) Academy. The mercurial Hawks forward has admitted being “a little jealous” of Rondo’s Boston experience in addition to conceding that a trade to the C’s was “a possibility” in February.
|Adrian Wojnarowski on D&C: Chris Paul pushing Clippers to finish deal with Celtics||06.20.13 at 9:32 am ET|
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to give an update on the ongoing trade talks between the Celtics and Clippers involving Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett for DeAndre Jordan and one or two first-round picks.
While the deal appeared to be dead Tuesday, the Clippers started trade discussions again Wednesday at the urging of pending free agent Chris Paul, according to Wojnarowski.
‘Yesterday, Chris Paul — really over the last 36 hours or so, Chris Paul really started to pressure the Clippers to get this deal done,’ Wojnarowski said. ‘If they wanted to keep him in L.A. and to keep him off the free agent market July 1, that they had to get this deal done and to throw that extra draft pick that Danny Ainge has wanted, get this done and all but certainly lock him down to stay with the Clippers. That is what started to happen. The Clippers called the Celtics back yesterday afternoon, reported at Yahoo!, and started a dialogue again.
‘Late last night after Brian Shaw interviewed with [Clippers owner] Donald Sterling in L.A., the Clippers management met with Sterling. I don’t know if they are going to talk more this morning, but they met with Sterling last night really to give him their recommendation that, ‘Hey, we need to do this. Let’s give them the pick. Let’s make these incredible financial commitments and get this deal done.’ I think there is a very good chance that Doc and Kevin Garnett go to the Clippers for Jordan and the two picks as early as today.’
Wojnarowski said the deal makes perfect sense for Garnett, who has a chance to compete for a championship with the Clippers and does not have to play 37 minutes per night. However, he also said trading Garnett and his no-trade clause to the Clippers makes sense for the Celtics, who can use Jordan and the two first-round picks to help rebuild.
‘For the Celtics, I really think this is a win-win,’ Wojnarowski said. ‘They wanted Doc to be their coach. They weren’t trying to run him out. But when he expressed his desire to do this, to get two first-round picks out of this, to get a young player, DeAndre Jordan, who they like but they don’t love him ‘ I think everyone in the league feels his contract, he is overpriced. But I know DeAndre is excited about coming to Boston. He feels like maybe it has run its course with him and the Clippers. Maybe he will develop better in Boston. This is a situation where Boston is ready to do this, too. They are not sending Doc away angrily.’
Without Garnett in Boston, Paul Pierce would be the last remaining member of the Big Three that won the 2008 NBA championship together on the Celtics. However, Wojnarowski said there is a good chance that Pierce ends up in a Clippers uniform by the end of the summer as well.
‘The Clippers would be one of the teams after [Pierce],’ Wojnarowski said. ‘For Pierce, if he does become a free agent ‘ there were a lot of questions around the league ‘ if Boston does waive him, remember, somebody can claim him on waivers, pick up his deal when they buy him out and pay him the full freight. So that is possible. Boston could still trade Pierce and get something back for him. The Clippers don’t have just a clear path to getting Pierce if he becomes free, but certainly there is an opportunity there. You know for Paul it makes all the sense in the world. Home in L.A., back with KG and Doc, a chance to win with the Clippers. It makes all the sense if he does get free to end up with the Clippers as part of the crew.’
|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘A 50-50 shot’ Doc Rivers ends up with Clippers||06.17.13 at 10:24 am ET|
Basketball analyst and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and he was unsure about whether or not a deal involving Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers would get done.
With Rivers still under contract for three more years, there are potentially a lot of moving pieces in such a trade. But fortunately for the Celtics, president Danny Ainge has a ton of leverage in the negotiations.
Still, Smith pegged the chances of a trade actually going through at just 50 percent.
‘Ultimately, all the cards are being held by Danny Ainge,’ Smith said. ‘It’s a 50-50 shot either a deal gets done or Doc Rivers stays in Boston. I don’t think Doc Rivers will sit out for the year, then do television and all this other stuff. I think he’s going to stay and coach in Boston this year, or he’ll move on because Danny Ainge will see an opportunity to get young and to get a box-office attraction to some degree, if not Blake Griffin, then some quality young guys you can build around.
‘Clearly, you have to go in that direction [getting younger]. If you’re Danny Ainge, it’s going to be a deal you want to make because you’re an older squad now, and it’s time to move in a different direction. Doc is the one hot commodity that he has. [Kevin Garnett] is 37. Paul Pierce is an aging 35. They’re not what they used to be, even though they can still contribute to a championship situation.
‘They’re not the guys to build around anymore, and if you’re Danny Ainge you know this better than anybody. As a result, it will behoove him to get a deal done. And Doc Rivers is the one piece you have that’s an ace. You have to maximize it.”
|Irish Coffee: 10 Things I Heard About Celtics||06.05.13 at 6:34 pm ET|
This is the worst. An aging Big Three stands in the way of LeBron James and a second straight NBA title — only it’s the Spurs, not the Celtics. Instead, Boston basketball fans are inundated with all sorts of ridiculous rumors. I think Kevin Garnett‘s uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister-in-law just claimed KG’s coming back. That’s why, on another slow C’s news day in June, we’re revealing the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics.
10. Heated rivalry: Speaking of LeBron, he went One on Two with Ahmad Rashad and Ahmad Rashad’s earring before taking on San Antonio. Asked if he considered Kobe Bryant his greatest rival, James waxed unpoetically about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, ultimately landing on Paul Pierce as the closest thing to a rival (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10). Somewhere, a pajama clad Kevin Durant stoically cleans gutters.
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” said the four-time NBA MVP. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine, because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times, so I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy if I had to name just one guy.”
9. Trading faces of franchises: “Healthy” and “Pierce” haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence too often over the last couple years, except when Boston Herald beat writer Steve Bulpett recently wrote, “there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market.” Now, we don’t know who considers what healthy, but I’m guessing the offers are more of the Kris Humphries ilk than the Eric Gordon variety.
|Kevin Garnett’s future determines Celtics’ ability to be competitive next few seasons||05.10.13 at 10:27 am ET|
If next season’s Celtics team does not start Kevin Garnett at power forward, prepare for a long, dark stretch. Without KG patrolling the middle in green and white, feel free to reintroduce yourself to the lottery, long losing streaks and the empty promise of rebuilding.
While you miss the scowls, intensity and blocked shots after the whistle, remember that the decline of the Celtics is more complex than the team simply aging. The major problem is the Celtics actually ask Garnett to do more now than they did during the NBA finals run in 2010. Despite his age (37 on May 19) and contract (2 years, $24.3 million), Garnett still is a premier power forward and a critical piece for a team chasing a championship.
‘Back in Minnesota, Kevin used to say, ‘I want to live beyond my contract,’ ‘ new Timberwolves president (and former coach) Flip Saunders told WEEI.com. ‘That meant whatever he was getting paid, whenever someone would see him in a game or in a practice, he wanted to live up to that contract and then play beyond that.’
Garnett has done exactly that in his six seasons in Boston. His playoff averages (35 minutes, 12.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, his highest playoff average since 2004) against the Knicks also demonstrated that quality basketball remains afloat in his veins. Surrounded by the right players, Garnett still can help Boston contend for a championship. After watching Garnett for 18 seasons, Kevin McHale — who drafted Garnett in Minnesota with the No. 5 pick in 1995 — still is amazed by his former student. Garnett was the first player in 20 years to go directly to the NBA from high school, and McHale recently reminisced about Garnett’s rookie training camp in Minnesota, when the 19-year-old was only a couple of months removed from his senior prom.
‘I loved the kid the first day of practice,’ McHale said. ‘He laid on the floor after his first training camp — laying on the ground with nothing left — and I said, ‘We’ve got to go again tonight.’ He went, ‘Huh?’ I said we did two-a-days, and he was like, ‘Oh my.’
“But that night he came and he laid it on the ground, played on the line, laying on the ground, playing on the line. At the end, he was laying on the ground, and I said to him, ‘Now we do two again tomorrow.’ He looked up at me and said, ‘Man, this is going to be a job.’ He hasn’t changed since then, he’s just got better.
“His ability to compete at a high level for such a long time, his love of the game, his competitive nature,’ marveled McHale, ‘it really is fun to watch.’
Competing at a high level for an extended period of time in the National Basketball Association takes a rare talent. It is a skill that is difficult, but far from impossible. The highest standard of excellence has been set by the Spurs, a team with an aging superstar in soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. Far from the best of friends, Garnett and the 37-year-old Duncan share very similar basketball philosophies, a fact not lost on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
‘They can look in the mirror and realize they’re both the same in so many respects as far as how they run their lives in the NBA and how they’ve run their careers,’ Popovich said during his last trip to Boston. ‘They’re both competitive as hell, they both understand the game, they both love being on the court, and neither one of them is really that excited about the hoopla that is all around it, but they’ve also endured by taking care of their bodies and what they do in the summertime to take care of their bodies.’
|Danny Ainge sees Celtics stars returning next season||05.09.13 at 5:04 pm ET|
On his final weekly appearance on Salk & Holley of the 2012-13 NBA season, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called the recent Stephen A. Smith rumors “silly,” indicated Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett will return next season, reaffirmed Rajon Rondo should be back for training camp and called Paul Pierce‘s future the first tough decision of his summer.
On Pierce: “There’s a lot that will go into it, but it hasn’t even started yet. We have until June 30 to make any decision. Listen, Paul’s been one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, and that will play a part in it. We love what he’s done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. And I think that Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him.”
On Rivers: “”Doc is always unsure. Coaching is very, very draining. Every year with Doc, he’s had to go home and sort of recharge and ask himself that question, ‘Is this something that I’m passionate about and want to continue doing?’ I understand that. And we sort of give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92’s on the golf course, he usually comes back.
“I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”
On Garnett: “I’ll touch base with KG probably some time next week. He puts so much into the game. He invests as much as any player I’ve ever seen. He just needs time to chill and contemplate his life, and then we’ll talk at some future time, but I do anticipate that KG will play. Just like I did last year, I feel the same this year. I don’t know for sure, but we’ll know more in the next couple weeks.”
On Rondo: “So far, he looks good. Him and [Leandro] Barbosa have both been rehabbing and both have looked good from their ACL [injuries]. From everything our medical staff has told us, Rondo is doing great, and he should be ready by training camp.”
The Barbosa mention seemed strange, considering the C’s dealt him to the Wizards in the Jordan Crawford deal. Ainge said not to read too much into the veteran rehabbing in Boston (but still …). Here are more highlights from the fantastic interview by Salk & Holley — a must listen for anyone looking for a summer Celtics primer:
|Irish Coffee: Six Celtics steps for this summer||05.08.13 at 2:33 pm ET|
Not even a week after their season ended with a wondrous failed comeback against the Knicks, the Celtics have already entered full-blown offseason mode. They’ve since lost wunderkind assistant general manager Ryan McDonough to the Suns, and the ridiculous rumor mill is churning like never before.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers stated the obvious after the Game 6 loss on Friday night when he explained team president Danny Ainge “has already worked on stuff.” Here’s the “stuff” facing Ainge over the next few months.
Step 1: What to do with Paul Pierce?
A decision on one of four options for Pierce must be made by July 1:
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