|NBA Free Agent Rumors: 76ers guard Lou Williams set to test free agent market||06.18.12 at 4:19 pm ET|
While 76ers’ guard Lou Williams wants to remain in Philadelphia, he has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract. Williams, 25, chose to opt out in order to gauge his market. He was scheduled to make $6.39 million dollars this season, which would have been the last year of a 5-year, $25 million contract.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that interest in Williams is “significant” and he could be offered a contract in the “Thaddeus Young range.” Young, a backup forward for the 76ers, was given a 5-year deal worth about $43 million before the start of this season.
Williams averaged 11.5 points off the Sixers bench. He was the third highest scorer on the 22nd ranked Philadelphia offense.
|The Celtics are not alone||04.01.09 at 9:10 pm ET|
When news broke this week that the Celtics were shutting down star Kevin Garnett until his sore right knee feels strong enough to take the punishment of practices and games, many thought their ‘ticket’ to a return to the NBA Finals was in jeopardy.
And while that certainly may be the case, another story came out Wednesday about an injury to a team that the Green might face in the first round.
HoopsWorld reported that Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young could miss 2-3 weeks after spraining and bruising his left ankle last night in Philly’s win over Atlanta. That would keep him out the rest of the regular season and possibly the first game of the playoffs, which open on April 18.
The sprain and bruise were diagnosed after an MRI today and Young will be using crutches and an air cast on the ankle for a bit.
Why should Celtics fans care? Because Young, along with superstar Andre Iguodala, gives Philly the type of size in the front court to match up with Boston.
The 6-8 Young has started 68 games for Philly this season and has greatly improved his statistics in every category over his rookie numbers, averaging 15.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 assists on 49% shooting from the floor.
In March, Young scored 20.5 points a game and averaged 5.5 rebounds, scoring 20 or more points in 10 of 15 games. The Sixers would likely replace Young with bruiser Reggie Evans (a Celtics killer on the glass) and Marreese Speights. They do have depth but losing Young hurts.
Now, Philly’s hold on sixth in the East doesn’t look so sure with Detroit trying to make a move. No. 7 Detroit would play No. 2 Orlando right now and No. 8 Chicago would take on top-seeded Cleveland.
|Pregame News and Notes||11.28.08 at 5:25 pm ET|
Anything Really is Possible for Pierce: Kevin Garnett screamed it after winning the NBA Finals. This season Paul Pierce is taking on the same optimistic attitude. In a rare chat with the media prior to Friday’s game, Pierce was asked how he could top winning a title, becoming a father, and watching his alma mater Kansas win the NCAA championship.
‘Kansas wins the title, become a dad again, and we win it again. That would top it,’ he said with a laugh, adding, ‘It’s a possibility.’
Pruitt in Need of Some R&R: Gabe Pruitt left the building prior to the Celtics-76ers game with flu-like symptoms. He was sick on Thanksgiving and does not expect to travel with the team to Charlotte for tomorrow’s game against the Bobcats.
Young Thanks KG: Among veteran standouts like Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala, Kevin Garnett is paying close attention to a (literally and figuratively) young player. He’s had his eye on Thaddeus Young, and the second-year forward was taken aback by the acknowledgment.
‘It’s pretty good. He’s an All-Star player,’ Young said with his trademark smile. ‘It’s pretty big for him to say something like that so, you know, thank him for that.’
|Preview: Celtics vs. 76ers||11.27.08 at 10:01 pm ET|
On Friday night the Boston Celtics (14-2) will take on the Philadelphia 76ers (7-8) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The 76ers were expected to challenge the Celtics in the Atlantic Division after acquiring Elton Brand this summer, but so far they have yet to pose a threat. The Celtics are riding a six-game winning streak while the 76ers have lost their last two.
In the last five games …
Over the last five games the Celtics have averaged the third most points in the NBA (108 ppg), the 76ers are posting the third least (90.4 ppg). The 76ers have the highest rebounding differential in the league (+6.33) for the season but the Celtics have outrebounded their opponents by nearly eight boards in the past five contests.
The match up to watch will be Kevin Garnett vs. Elton Brand. The big men have seen each other plenty of times in the Western Conference and now they are two of the best in the East. Brand gives the 76ers a legitimate option in the post, something they’ve been lacking of over the years, and they don’t have to rely as much on their running game.
‘You know they’re going to play hard, you know they’re going to crash the boards,’ Garnett said. ‘But having that range from the floor makes them [multi-dimensional]. They’re able to go pick-and-pop. Andre Miller can string out the defense a little bit and throw it back and Elton can hit all the way up to 19-feet jumpers.’
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has made it clear on several occassions that Andre Miller is one of his favorite point guards in the league. Now many are saying the same about Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
‘The problems we’ve had with Philly in the past, last year we struggled with them because of the Andre Miller problem,’ Rivers said. ‘You know, at the point, with his size. I think Rondo’s better suited to handle that this year, and so he’s going to have to.’
Rondo’s fearless hustle has garnered praise from teammates and opponents alike. He enters Friday’s game on a hot streak after scoring 22 points against the Golden State Warriors. See how Rondo and Miller stacked up in the past five games:
Rajon Rondo: 29.2 minutes, 16.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 55.7% FG
Andre Miller: 36.4 minutes, 12.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 42.3% FG
Keep an Eye On …
The obvious scoring options on the 76ers are Brand and Andre Iguodala. This season, however, versatile forward Thaddeus Young is emerging in Philly. Young is quietly averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds, catching the attention of Garnett.
‘A lot of people don’t really talk about him but Thaddeus Young, I think, is having an exceptional year,’ Garnett said. ‘He’s hitting threes, he’s been able to come off picks … and he’s aggressive. Just some of the games that I’ve seen, when they win it’s because he’s playing really well.’
The Bottom Line
‘I think they ran a lot more this year than last year,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘They’re good in transition with Iguodala but I think now that they’ve added Brand to the dimension, they’re more built I think for the playoffs. They have early struggles, I think they’re a better team than their record has really shown as they get used to one another, but definitely they’re capable of scoring 100 points. But we’ve got our work cut out for us again defensively.’
Check in with the WEEI Celtics Game Day Blog for all the latest from the Celtics-76ers match up.
|Preview: Celtics vs. 76ers||10.08.08 at 11:28 am ET|
The biggest storyline of tonight’s preseason match up between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers is the addition of Elton Brand. But while Brand makes the Sixers an instant threat to the Cs in the Atlantic Division, the veteran isn’t the only player the Celtics will have to keep an eye on. The 76ers have a duo of young talent with promising potential who impressed during summer league play:
- Thaddeus Young: 12th overall pick in 2007 out of Georgia Tech … only 20, has enormous upside … gives the 76ers versatility with his ability to multiple positions … at 6’8″ could cause match up problems for smaller defenders … as a rookie showed maturity in 2008 playoffs (10.2, ppg, 4.5 rpg) against the experienced Detroit Pistons … shined at 2008 Las Vegas Summer League (18.8 ppg) and got the vote of confidence from head coach Mo Cheeks.
- Marreese Speights: 16th overall pick in 2008 out of Florida … at 6’10″ 245 lbs. is a beast on the boards ‘¦ ranked second in rebounding at Vegas Summer League (18.2 ppg, 10.2 ppg) ‘¦ gives the 76ers more defensive depth on the glass, which is critical to their fast break running game … think Al Jefferson with more speed … could be dangerous once he becomes consistent at the line … Cheeks was happy with all-around summer performance and sees Speights learning from Brand this season.
Jason Smith rounded out the Sixers trio of emerging big men at the Vegas Summer League before tearing his ACL in August. WEEI has you covered tonight from UMass Amherst to see how the Celtics match up against Brand, Young, Speights, and the revamped 76ers.