Archive for the ‘ Boston Celtics Blog ’ Category

The Boston Celtics aren’t counting on Gerald Wallace for much this season. The veteran averaged 24.4 minutes per game last season yet scored just 5.1 points per outing. And he’ll probably play fewer minutes in 2014-15. Still, better healthy than not. Here’s ESPN Boston with an update:

Celtics: Gerald Wallace has bone bruise in knee

Celtics veteran swingman Gerald Wallace underwent an MRI Sunday that revealed a bone bruise in his knee. After sitting out Saturday’s game against the Knicks, he’s expected to miss both of this week’s preseason games as well.

“We were going to sit him anyway on Saturday and, actually, he mentioned it to [trainer] Ed [Lacerte] in the pregame … he has a little knee swelling,” said Stevens. “So they did an MRI [Sunday], he’s got a small bone bruise. So he’s going to be out, definitely the two games this week and I think he’s looking at it week-to-week right now.”

The Celtics have been thin on available swingmen. Rookie James Young strained his left hamstring before the team’s exhibition opener and is still considered week-to-week. “James Young is the same,” said Stevens. “Progressing well, but still probably a week away.”

The Boston Celtics are in a transitional period. They’re rebuilding, and their best player, guard Rajon Rondo, is injured yet again, and may wind up being traded later this season. On the brighter side, they have some nice young talent. And they have Avery Bradley, who is proud to play super-aggressive defense, and aims to be an even better defender this season. Here’s ESPN Boston reporting:

Avery Bradley hopes to make all-defense first team

Coming off the best offensive season of his career, one that helped him secure a lucrative long-term extension, Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley said his primary goal for the 2014-15 season is reestablishing his reputation as a defense-first player.

“I want to be on the first team all-defense,” Bradley said Thursday when asked about his individual goals for new season. “I made the second team two years ago. That’s my No. 1 goal this year, but obviously I want to improve in every part of my game.”

Bradley averaged a career-best 14.9 points per game last season and shot nearly 40 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. At times, he was maybe Boston’s most aggressive shooter as reflected in a career-high 13.8 shots per game (up four attempts per game from the previous season). Maybe due in part to a new system and a rebuilding team, Bradley’s advanced defensive numbers — among the glitziest in the league two years ago — eroded a bit and he wasn’t the sort of shutdown presence that he’s shown he can be.

Rondo falls at home, suffers broken hand

rajon rondo

This is not the way the Boston Celtics wanted to start 2014-15 training camp, which begins soon.

Once again, Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo is injured. According to the team, Rondo fell at home, and broke his hand in the process. After surgery today, he’s expected out 6-8 weeks.

A silver lining here is that the Celtics are a rebuilding team, and have plenty of young players to develop. Some of them should benefit from increased minutes due to Rondo being out, namely rookie guard Marcus Smart.

Also, the team may trade Rondo sometime this season. If he can come back, play well and look good, his trade value should remain the same.

More info on the Rondo injury is here:

http://www.insidehoops.com/rajon-rondo-hand-surgery-092614.shtml

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the Celtics:

James Young eager to play with Rajon Rondo

What is James Young looking forward to most during his rookie season with the Boston Celtics?

“Playing with [point guard Rajon] Rondo,” Young told the team’s official website during a recent video Q&A. “He’s a player I looked up to growing up, and he sees the floor very well and has a high IQ for the game. So just getting open with him and seeing if we have can have a good connection.”

Young and Rondo are both Kentucky products and Young is clearly eager to see if Rondo’s playmaking can generate some open looks at the NBA level.

Here’s ESPN Boston looking on the bright side — entertainment-wise, at least — for the Celtics:

Rajon Rondo

One prominent theme that’s emerging as the new seasons nears is a sense from Celtics players/management that some have simply forgotten what a healthy Rajon Rondo is capable of. As Celtics team president Rich Gotham noted last week, “I think a healthy Rondo is a huge difference-maker for us.” Further removed from the ACL surgery that limited him to 68 games over the past two seasons, it’ll be interesting to see if Rondo can return to All-Star form and just how much he’s able to elevate the play of a young supporting cast….

There’s maybe no bigger reason to watch this year’s team than the development of the youngest players. The Celtics have an intriguing young nucleus with players at all different stages of their development and lingering questions about just how good they can become. You’ve got someone like 23-year-old shooting guard Avery Bradley coming off his first big payday this offseason and he must prove he can be a consistent two-way threat to justify the team’s spending. Then there’s recent draftees like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, both of whom will be expected to take the next step in their developments with potential to assert themselves as key parts of the team’s future. Then there’s rookies Marcus Smart and James Young. Even as the No. 6 overall pick, Smart has created an awful lot of buzz this offseason for both his personality and potential. The 19-year-old Young might even spend a good chunk of the season in the D-League shadows if he simply needs game reps to further his development, but there will be interest in his progress after just one season at Kentucky.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on a key young Celtic:

Jared Sullinger looks ready for Celtics season

Jared Sullinger smiled wide, but wouldn’t bite when asked if he’d dropped any weight this offseason.

“Maybe,” a trimmer-looking Sullinger playfully offered Friday at the Hennigan Elementary School after leading some students through an afternoon hoops clinic as members of the Celtics organization joined more than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and City Year to revitalize the school’s grounds. “I can’t tell you everything, but maybe.”

The eye tests seems to suggest a more fit Sullinger, but the coy player only acknowledged that he’s in a better place now further removed from the back surgery that stunted his rookie season and erased the offseason before his sophomore campaign.

Earlier this offseason, Sullinger expressed a desire to improve his conditioning with the goal of maintaining his production in the fourth quarter of games. But he’s realistic when asked if he thinks that will happen this season.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the Celtics, who continue in their transitional period. They’re rebuilding. Winning isn’t expected. Nevertheless, the team president, as he’d be expected to do, shared optimism:

celtics

Gotham, a pair of gardening gloves sprouting from his back pocket after he joined members of the Celtics’ organization, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and City Year to revitalize the grounds at Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain on Friday, thinks this season’s team is ready to roll up its sleeves and do the dirty work necessary to take the next step in its development.

“I think the expectation for this year’s team is that the future will come a little bit more into focus,” said Gotham. “Some of the guys who showed promise last year, guys that took a step last year like Jared [Sullinger] and Avery [Bradley] and [Olynyk], I think their continued development is a great reason to be optimistic. The addition of Tyler Zeller helps us a lot as we have a pure center on the roster now. I think a healthy [Rajon] Rondo is a huge difference-maker for us. And so I think, while we were very competitive last year, in a lot of these games … I think we have a better shot to take some of those games that come down to the last two minutes. Guys will have another year in [coach] Brad [Stevens’] system, I think we have great depth on this team, we have quality depth. We just look forward to taking the next step in our progression.”

Ray Allen still undecided about future

Here’s the Hartford Courant reporting on NBA veteran Ray Allen:

Ray Allen still undecided about future

Ray Allen could play one more year in the NBA. He is wanted, and he knows it.

Or he could retire with no regrets, all business finished. All the years of solid play and diligent work at conditioning have put him, at 39, in this rare position — to script his own ending, and take his time doing it.

“I’m not in any rush [to make a decision],” Allen said during a break in the Citi Ray Allen Basketball ProCamp at East Granby High on Saturday morning. “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.”

Allen, an All-American who scored 1,922 points at UConn, is back in Connecticut doing his usual summer round of good works, including hosting this camp for 200 boys and girls in grades 1 through 12. Last week, his Ray of Hope Foundation provided a new computer lab for Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk, something he has done for other schools across the state. On Monday, he will host his annual golf tournament, benefiting his foundation, at the TPC in Cromwell.

More summer hoops for Kelly Olynyk

Here’s ESPN Boston with a report on a key young Celtic:

More summer hoops for Kelly Olynyk

Boston Celtics second-year forward Kelly Olynyk is expected to get additional offseason game reps as a member of Canada’s senior men’s basketball team.

Olynyk reported for camp earlier this week in Toronto before the team, which did not qualify for this year’s World Cup in Spain, instead traveled to Slovenia to open an 11-game European exhibition schedule on Thursday.

Olynyk, a Toronto native who grew up in Kamloops, British Columbia, did not play for the national team last summer while sidelined by a case of plantar fasciitis. He did attend camp with the national team and expressed a desire to compete for his county.

Boston Celtics re-sign Avery Bradley

Boston Celtics re-sign Avery Bradley

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guard Avery Bradley to a multi-year contract.

“We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations. “He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We’re ecstatic to have him back.”

Bradley, a 6’2” guard, is coming off a breakout 2013-14 season where he recorded career-highs in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (3.8), minutes (1855), field goals made (361), three-pointers made (79) and free throws made (90). Bradley tied a career-high for points in a game when he notched 28 points against Brooklyn on March 21. He recorded his first career double-double when he recorded 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against New York on December 8. Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bradley recorded his 1,000th career points in the opening game of the season against Toronto on October 30. He led the Celtics in scoring in 17 games and recorded 20 or more points in 16 contests.

marcus smart

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed their 2014 first round draft picks, guard Marcus Smart and guard/forward James Young.

Players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft are guaranteed to receive a contract, assuming they wish to come to the league right away. Therefore, these signings are standard, and not a surprise.

Smart, a 6’4” guard, was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection, and was also named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team, USBWA All-District VI and NABC All-District 8 teams. Smart finished his two-year OSU career with 189 steals, the second-most in school history, and averaged 2.94 steals per game in his career, a school record. During his sophomore season at Oklahoma State he led the Cowboys with 18.0 points, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game. His 2.9 steals per game ranked third in the nation. Smart garnered All-America honors from the Associated Press (Honorable Mention) and NABC (Third Team).

james young

Young, a 6’6” guard/forward, was selected with the 17th pick in the first round. Young was part of the Kentucky squad that finished runner-up for the 2014 NCAA National Championship. In the national championship game he posted a team-high 20 points and a game-high seven rebounds against Connecticut. He was selected to the All-Final Four Tournament Team and All-SEC Second Team. He was the second highest scorer on Kentucky this past season with 14.3 points and finished 10th in the SEC in three-point shooting connecting on 34.9 percent of his attempts. Young was also named to the All-SEC Freshman team and led the Wildcats with 82 three-pointers which was the seventh most in a single season in Kentucky history and second all-time for a freshman. Young increased his three-point accuracy during the NCAA tournament when he connected on 42.6 percent of his attempts and also shot 85.0 percent from the free throw line.

Cavs trade Jarrett Jack to Nets

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Boston’s 2015 second round pick (top 55 protected) as well as the rights to Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic in a three-team trade that sends Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn and Tyler Zeller and the Cavs’ 2016 top 10 protected first round pick to Boston, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today. As part of the three-team trade, Boston will also acquire guard Marcus Thornton from the Nets.

The Cavs want salary cap space in order to offer LeBron James a maximum-level NBA contract. In order to accomplish this, they needed to trade Jarrett Jack’s contract. That’s what this deal is all about, at least from Cleveland’s side of things.

The 2015 second round pick that Cleveland received from Boston is top 55 protected. If Boston does not convey its 2015 second round pick to Cleveland, Boston’s obligation to convey a second round pick to Cleveland as part of this trade will be extinguished. Cleveland’s 2016 first round pick to Boston is top 10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and, if not conveyed, will be unprotected in the 2019 draft.

The Cavs also receive the rights to forwards Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic. Karaman, 24, was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 57th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft and most recently played in the Turkish Basketball League for Fenerbahçe Ülker. Bavcic, 30, who was originally selected by the Toronto Raptors as the 56th overall pick of the second round in the 2006 NBA Draft, currently plays for KAOD in Greece.

Zeller, a 7’0” center, appeared in 70 games for the Cavaliers last season where he averaged 5.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from the field in 15.0 minutes per game. In his nine games as a starter Zeller averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 21.6 minutes per game. The product of the University of North Carolina was originally selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks before being traded to the Cavaliers on draft night. Zeller recorded a career-high 23 points to go along with six rebounds against the Houston Rockets on March 22 this season. He pulled down a career-high of 15 rebounds against Philadelphia to go along with 18 points in just 25 minutes on February 18. During his rookie season (2012-13) Zeller averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game and was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team while also participating in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend.

Thornton, a 6’4” guard, split last season between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings where he averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24.1 minutes per game. After being acquired by the Nets on February 19 he appeared in 26 games for Brooklyn and spiked his scoring average to 12.3 points while also averaging 2.8 rebounds per game. In those 26 games Thornton recorded double-figures in scoring 14 times and reached 20 or more points six times. Earlier in the season with Sacramento Thornton matched his career-high with a 42 point outburst against Indian on January 24 when he made seven three-pointers. Thornton has appeared in 341 career games between Brooklyn, Sacramento and New Orleans and has career averages of 13.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

“Jarrett is a proven NBA veteran who will add versatility to our backcourt,” said General Manager Billy King. “The team had a need in that area and we are excited that we were able to secure Jarrett to fill that role. Sergey is a player who we have followed closely for several years. He is a versatile forward and will be a welcome addition to our roster.”

Jack, a nine-year NBA veteran, played 80 games (31 starts) last season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he averaged 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. The 6′3″ guard has played in 691 career games for Portland, Indiana, Toronto, New Orleans, Golden State and Cleveland with career averages of 10.9 points, 4.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. Originally drafted by Denver with the 22nd pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Jack began his career in Portland, where he played his first three NBA seasons. The Georgia Tech product had his best statistical season in 2011-12 with New Orleans when he averaged career-highs of 15.6 points 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. Jack has twice helped his team reach the postseason, playing in 18 total playoff games. As a member of the Golden State Warriors, Jack played in 12 postseason contests in 2012-13, making four starts. En route to helping the Warriors reach the Western Conference Semifinals, Jack posted averages of 17.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Karasev was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The 6′7″ swingman out of Russia played in 22 games for the Cavaliers, averaging 1.7 points in 7.1 minutes per game. Karasev also appeared in 18 games for the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League last season, where he posted averages of 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. A member of the Russian national team, Karasev won bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and was a member of the gold medal winning team at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan. Prior to joining the NBA, Karasev played three seasons internationally with BC Triumph in Russia.

Photo: Celtics dance team auditions

Final auditions are ongoing for the Boston Celtics dance team. I will use this as an excuse to post the following photo:

Avery Bradley hopes to stay with Celtics

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the Celtics and guard Avery Bradley:

Avery Bradley hopes to stay with Celtics

On the eve of restricted free agency, Avery Bradley reaffirmed a desire to be back with the Boston Celtics, but said his offseason focus remains on simply improving as a player and letting his future take care of itself.

The Celtics formally extended a $3.6 million qualifying offer on Monday that gives them the chance to match any outside offer that Bradley receives when free agency opens at midnight. The two sides failed to reach an agreement on an extension to his rookie pact before a late-October deadline, but talks should resume now with outside interest likely to play a part in Bradley’s final price tag.

“I haven’t been worried about [free agency],” said Bradley, wearing a Celtics cap and colors as he instructed campers on the final day of his Avery Bradley Skills academy at UMass-Boston. “I’ve been worried about getting better. I try not to think about anything I can’t control. All I can do is continue to try to get better every single day, and I know everything else will work out.”

Asked about talks with Boston, Bradley added, “We really haven’t [spoke about] any numbers or anything. Obviously, I want to be here. And I let those guy know that. When the time comes, we’ll just see what happens, and see if we come to an agreement.”

Celtics extend qualifying offer to Avery Bradley

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have extended a qualifying offer to guard Avery Bradley.

Bradley, a 6’2 guard, is coming off a breakout 2013-14 season where he recorded career-highs in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (3.8), points (891), rebounds (226), minutes (1855), field goals made (361), three-pointers made (79) and free throws made (90). Bradley tied a career-high for points in a game when he notched 28 points against Brooklyn on March 21. He recorded his first career double-double when he recorded 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against New York on December 8. Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bradley recorded his 1,000th career points in the opening game of the season against Toronto on October 30. He led the Celtics in scoring in 17 games and recorded 20 or more points in 16 contests.

The Boston Celtics selected guard Marcus Smart with the fifth overall pick and guard/forward James Young with the 17th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Smart, a 6’4” guard, was selected with the sixth overall pick. He was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection, and was also named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team, USBWA All-District VI and NABC All-District 8 teams. Smart finished his two-year OSU career with 189 steals, the second-most in school history, and averaged 2.94 steals per game in his career, a school record. During his sophomore season at Oklahoma State he led the Cowboys with 18.0 points, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game. His 2.9 steals per game ranked third in the nation. Smart garnered All-America honors from the Associated Press (Honorable Mention) and NABC (Third Team).

Young, a 6’6” guard/forward, was selected with the 17th pick in the first round. Young was part of the Kentucky squad that finished runner-up for the 2014 NCAA National Championship. In the national championship game he posted a team-high 20 points and a game-high seven rebounds against Connecticut. He was selected to the All-Final Four Tournament Team and All-SEC Second Team. He was the second highest scorer on Kentucky this past season with 14.3 points and finished 10th in the SEC in three-point shooting connecting on 34.9 percent of his attempts. Young was also named to the All-SEC Freshman team and led the Wildcats with 82 three-pointers which was the seventh most in a single season in Kentucky history and second all-time for a freshman. Young increased his three-point accuracy during the NCAA tournament when he connected on 42.6 percent of his attempts and also shot 85.0 percent from the free throw line.

Celtics seek trade for Kevin Love

Here’s the Boston Herald reporting on the Celtics, who like many NBA teams would happily add Kevin Love to their roster:

Celtics seek trade for Kevin Love

The Celtics’ pursuit of Kevin Love isn’t as hot as reports are indicating.

Sources close to the situation have told the Herald that Boston’s offer of draft picks and players isn’t nearly the best the Timberwolves have received — or expect to receive — for their All-Star forward.

The Celtics are willing to discuss a number of options, but none of them includes the quality of player with NBA experience that Minnesota is seeking or believes it can get elsewhere.

One source indicated Denver and Golden State have both made more intriguing offers, and there are other teams very much in the picture, as well. There have been conflicting reports on whether the Warriors would make Klay Thompson available, but the Wolves are said to be confident they can find a more than acceptable deal there.

Here’s the Boston.com blog reporting on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who spent most of last season injured:

Rajon Rondo healthy for next Celtics season

At long last though, Rondo looks healthy and has been a regular visitor to the team’s practice facility and draft workouts all summer. His constant presence has been welcome sight for Stevens and the rest of the team’s coaching staff.

“He’s been great,” [Celtics head coach Brad] Stevens said. ““Physically, he looks fantastic. That really sets a tone having him come in. That really is helpful.”

Stevens continued: “I think Rajon is anxious to get back out there playing. You can tell that from his work ethic. He’s been with our small groups a lot in the last 8-10 days. That’s not always the case with a guy as seasoned and accomplished as him.”

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding. But should that process include point guard Rajon Rondo? Or would it be smarter for the team to trade him as well? Here’s the Boston Herald with a report:

While the Celtics are here at the NBA draft combine primarily to identify people they might like to add to their team, it’s fair to assume they’ll also be examining which present players will stay and go.

We’ve been told that Washington isn’t presently interested in Jeff Green at his numbers ($9.2 million next year and a player option for the same in 2015-16), and that a number of teams are waiting to see where the Celts land in the lottery before entering into different deal discussions.

But what we’ve been hearing for a while and in more concerted tones here is that Rajon Rondo may be more available now than ever before. Danny Ainge yesterday dismissed a report that the Knicks had turned down a deal for the All-Star point guard as “maybe the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.”

The Celts’ president of basketball operations, as well, dismissed talk of Rondo’s obtainability.

“That’s all speculation,” Ainge said. “Those aren’t facts. People don’t know that, so it’s just people speculating on Rondo’s free agency next summer. That’s all that you’re hearing. You’re not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations haven’t even been discussed, so that’s just speculation.”

Read NBA fan reaction or share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on Nets forward Paul Pierce, who spent the bulk of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics before becoming a Net:

Jason Kidd feels Paul Pierce gained closure in Boston return

Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd believes that Paul Pierce’s emotional return to Boston on Jan. 26 allowed the future Hall of Fame forward to get some closure, move on and begin really thriving in Brooklyn.

“To go back to Boston, the place you were drafted, I think that probably closed the door on his career there in Boston,” Kidd told reporters Sunday.

Pierce played the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics. The 36-year-old veteran was initially stunned when he was traded by the only franchise he’d ever known.

It took Pierce awhile to get over that.

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