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Celtics face Cavs on NBA opening night

A Christmas Day home game, an international affair against a division rival and a slate of early season matchups against Eastern Conference competitors highlight the Boston Celtics 2017-18 regular season schedule, as announced today by the NBA.

The Celtics – whose 53-29 record topped the Eastern Conference a year ago – will make 25 total National Television appearances between ABC, ESPN and TNT. The first of those scheduled broadcasts coincides with the NBA’s Opening Night on Oct. 17, when Boston matches up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. Celtics forward and 2017 NBA All-Star Gordon Hayward will make his highly anticipated TD Garden debut alongside fellow All-Star teammates Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford the very next night on Oct. 18, when the Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks to tip off their 41-game regular season home schedule.

The Celtics’ home schedule expects to be highly competitive over the first month of the regular season, as Boston plays host to four different 2016-17 playoff teams in the first 31 calendar days of the NBA season. Among those four contests looms Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the defending NBA-Champion Golden State Warriors, who make their lone regular season appearance at TD Garden on Thursday, Nov. 16. The Celtics will host the Los Angeles Lakers the week prior on Wednesday, Nov. 8, giving Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum – the No. 2 and No. 3 selections in this year’s NBA Draft – a chance to experience the historic rivalry for the first time.

Highlighted by the franchise’s first home game on Christmas Day, the Celtics will have a recurring presence at TD Garden throughout the holiday season. Boston welcomes the Orlando Magic on Friday, November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, before stepping into the NBA spotlight on Christmas Day for a playoff rematch against the Washington Wizards. The Celtics will also host James Harden, newly acquired All-Star Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets on Thursday, Dec. 28, before challenging the Brooklyn Nets in a New Year’s Eve showdown on Sunday, Dec. 31.

Fans will have the opportunity to watch two showcases between the Celtics and Cavaliers at TD Garden this season. LeBron James and the reigning Eastern Conference champions represent Boston’s first opponent of the new year on Wednesday, Jan. 3, and will return the week before the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 11. There will also be ample occasions early in the season to witness Celtics basketball on their home court, as Boston will play a combined 18 home games in the months of November (8) and December (10). The Celtics’ longest homestand of the season is a five-game stretch against Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Milwaukee and Dallas from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6. Russell Westbrook – the NBA’s 2016-17 Most Valuable Player – and his new All-Star counterpart Paul George will guide the Oklahoma City Thunder to Boston on Tuesday, March 20 for their only regular season appearance at TD Garden.

The Celtics’ schedule also features an opportunity to play in front of their global fan base. The NBA announced on Aug. 10 that Boston would compete against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA London Game 2018 at The O2 on Thursday, Jan. 11, marking the Celtics’ first regular season game in London.

The 53-win Boston Celtics got 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game from 5-9 All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas last season. A big payday is likely looming next summer. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Isaiah Thomas aiming for max contract next summer

Thomas’ health is of the utmost importance as the Celtics try to ascend the next step up the NBA hierarchy, and he personally looks to climb on the pay scale. He has one year remaining on his contract. He hasn’t been shy about his desire to land a max contract next summer.

Team goals and winning a title come first, but Thomas still expects a big payday. The two may come hand in hand.

“Very confident,” Thomas said when asked how confident he is that he’ll get that max deal. “I deserve it. I put the work in, and you can put me down against any guard in the NBA. . . . My numbers are up there with the best players in the world, and my team is winning. So, I mean, you have to reward that.

“I’m just going to keep working though. My time is gonna come. I have a lot of faith in God, and I just have to keep working to get better.”

Celtics sign Daniel Theis

The Boston Celtics have signed rookie center Daniel Theis.

Theis (6-9, 243 lbs) has played professionally in Germany since 2010-11, most recently with Brose Bamberg which he joined at the start of the 2014-15 season. The Saltzgitter, Germany native played in 74 games across the Basketball Bundesliga League (BBL), Euroleague and German Cup in 2016-17. He averaged 9.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.24 blocks and 18.9 minutes in 41 BBL games, and was also named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Theis, who was eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft but went undrafted, also appeared in 30 games for Brose Bamberg during the 2016-17 Euroleague campaign where he averaged 9.6 points (41.0% 3-pt) and 4.6 rebounds in 19.7 minutes.

A three-time Beko BBL All-Star, Theis is the first German-born player to have signed a contract with the Celtics. Theis has appeared in 12 games for for the German National Team.

Celtics sign Guerschon Yabusele

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 2016 first round draft pick Guerschon Yabusele.

Yabusele, selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, spent last season with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League. The native of Dreux, France started the season with Shanghai and appeared in 43 games where he averaged 20.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.35 steals and 1.05 blocks in 30.3 minutes per game. He also shot 52.7 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from three. After he appeared in 43 games for Shanghai he moved to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League on March 29 and appeared in a total of seven games for the Red Claws including their playoff run. During the five games of the 2017 G League Playoffs he averaged 12.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot 49.0 percent from the floor in 27.3 minutes per game.

The Celtics have signed rookie guard Kadeem Allen to a two-way contract.

Selected in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2017 NBA Draft, Allen averaged 9.8 points (45.3% FG, 42.7% 3-PT, 74.1% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 30.0 minutes over 34 games (33 starts) as a redshirt senior at the University of Arizona. The Wildcats guard spent his first two collegiate seasons at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KA

The Second Team All-Pacific 12 Conference selection led the Wildcats with 53 steals, paving his way to a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Allen, 24, demonstrated his offensive abilities throughout the season as well, scoring a collegiate career-high 18 points in back-to-back games against Colorado (Jan. 7) and Arizona State (Jan. 12).

Since being drafted last month, Allen participated on the Celtics summer league team in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and the MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas.

Celtics sign Aron Baynes

Celtics sign Aron Baynes

The Celtics have signed free agent center Aron Baynes.

“We are thrilled to have Aron aboard,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “He’s a great teammate, a hard worker and provides us some needed strength and toughness on the interior.”

A five-year NBA veteran with San Antonio and Detroit, Baynes (6-10, 260 lbs) has averaged 5.2 points (51.4% FG, 81.1% FT), 4.1 rebounds and 14.1 minutes in 295 career games (24 starts). He’s averaged at least 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 offensive boards in each of the last three seasons.

In 75 games (two starts) with the Pistons in 2016-17, Baynes, 30, averaged 4.9 points (51.3% FG, 84.0% FT) and 4.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes. He scored a season-high 20 points (8-13 FG) against Oklahoma City on Nov. 14, and hauled in a career-high 17 rebounds to go along with 13 points against Phoenix on March 19. The Washington State University product recorded two double-doubles last season.

Baynes has made four postseason appearances in his five-year NBA career, and was a member of the Spurs team that won an NBA Championship in 2013-14. He played in 14 playoff games that year, including a 10-point performance in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Portland.

Celtics sign Semi Ojeleye

The Celtics have signed rookie forward Semi Ojeleye.

Taken by the Celtics in the second round (37th overall) of the 2017 NBA Draft out of Southern Methodist University, Ojeleye, 22, averaged 18.9 points (48.8% FG, 42.4% 3-PT, 78.5% FT), 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 34.1 minutes in 35 games in his lone season at SMU. The 2016-17 American Atlantic Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-AAC selection made at least three 3-pointers on 12 occasions this season, shooting at least 50.0% from beyond the arc in 10 of those contests and finishing third in the conference in three-point shooting percentage.

Ojeleye (6-7, 241 lbs), who was also named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press this past season, spent his first two collegiate years at Duke University before transferring to SMU. He averaged 12.2 points (48.0% FG, 41.5% 3-PT, 78.5% FT), 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist in three total seasons at the NCAA level.

Since being drafted last month, Ojeleye participated on the Celtics summer league team in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and the MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas.

Paul Pierce retiring from NBA as a Boston Celtic

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 10-time NBA All-Star and 19-year veteran Paul Pierce to a contract, enabling him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.

“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”

“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”

Drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, Pierce’s 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most ever spent in a Celtics uniform. He produced 21.8 points (44.7% FG, 37.0% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in 1,102 career games (1,099 starts) in the green and white.

Pierce’s name will forever be a constant throughout the Celtics’ all-time leaderboards. The California native tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.

Earning his iconic nickname “The Truth” during his third NBA season in 2000-01, Pierce also retires in the organization’s top-10 lists in games played (3rd – 1 ,102), minutes played (3rd – 40,360), field goals (3rd – 7,882), field goal attempts (2nd – 17,630), three-point field goal attempts (1st – 4,928), free throw attempts (1st – 7,979), offensive rebounds (8th – 1,008), rebounds (7th – 6,651), assists (5th – 4,305) and blocked shots (4th – 668).

Pierce’s knack for postseason success further cements his legendary status in a Celtics uniform. Boston qualified for the playoffs in 10 of Pierce’s 15 seasons with the team, ranking him seventh on the franchise’s all-time playoff leaderboard with 136 postseason games played. The crafty forward averaged 20.9 points (41.9% FG, 33.9% 3-PT, 83.4% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.32 steals in 39.8 minutes in his Celtics playoff career. Pierce – who owns the fifth most playoff points in franchise history at 2,843 – averaged north of 20.0 points in six separate postseason runs, including a playoff career-high 27.1 points over 10 games in just his second career playoff appearance in 2002-03.

One of Pierce’s greatest postseason accomplishments coincides with the Celtics’ most recent NBA title in 2008. Making his first career NBA Finals appearance, Pierce followed up a 22-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 1 victory with 28 more points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-4 3-PT) and eight assists in Boston’s Game 2 triumph. His 38 points in Game 5 of those Finals represented his second-highest scoring total in 26 postseason games that year. Pierce produced 21.8 points (43.2% FG, 39.3% 3-PT, 83.0% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series, helping the Celtics raise their NBA-record 17th championship banner and their first since 1986. Named the Most Valuable Player of that 2008 clash, Pierce became the third Celtic ever to earn MVP honors in his first NBA Finals Appearance (Jo Jo White – 1974, Cedric Maxwell – 1981).

Spanning over his 19-year NBA career, Pierce averaged 19.7 points (44.5% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.31 steals and 34.2 minutes in 1,343 games (1,285 starts) with Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and the LA Clippers. He ended the 2016-17 season as the only active NBA player with at least 25,000 career points, 7,000 rebounds and 4,500 assists.

The Boston Celtics have signed rookie forward Abdel Nader, and have waived guard Demetrius Jackson.

Nader, the reigning 2016-17 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, averaged a team-high 21.3 points (44.7% FG, 34.9% 3-PT, 79.4% FT), 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.00 steal, 0.83 blocked shots and 33.5 minutes over 40 games with the Maine Red Claws in his first professional season. The 23-year-old was originally selected by Boston in the second round (58th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Nader (6-6, 230 lbs.) became the first internationally-born player to be named Rookie of the Year in the G League. The 2016-17 G League All-Star scored at least 30 points in five contests, including a 32-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist game against the Long Island Nets on Jan. 6.

Celtics signing of Gordon Hayward is now official

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed All-Star forward Gordon Hayward.

“Whether you’re talking about the team’s past, present, or future, the Boston Celtics are truly special,” said Hayward. “I can’t wait to be part of the winning culture of Boston, and to join my teammates and coach Stevens as we work together to bring Celtics fans Banner 18.”

Per multiple reports, Hayward’s contract is for four years and around $128 million.

“I’m very happy to welcome Gordon and his family to the Celtics organization and the city of Boston,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “He has improved his game every year in the NBA, to an All-Star level. We have been patient during this rebuilding process, and hope to step forward and compete at the highest level.”

A first-time NBA All-Star in 2016-17, Hayward (6-8, 226 lbs.) logged career highs with 21.9 points (47.1% FG, 39.8% 3-PT, 84.4% FT) and 5.4 rebounds, while also adding 3.5 assists, 1.00 steal and 34.5 minutes in 73 games (all starts) with the Jazz last season. His 21.9 points per game scoring mark represents Utah’s highest single season scorer since Karl Malone averaged 22.4 points in 2001-02. The Indianapolis, IN native was also one of 10 NBA players to produce at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while also shooting 47.0% or better from the field last season.

Hayward’s All-Star season culminated with a postseason run in which he averaged a team-best 24.1 points (44.1% FG, 41.2% 3-PT, 93.4% FT), 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 37.4 minutes in 11 playoff games for the Jazz. The versatile veteran scored 20 or more points in eight of those 11 contests – including a postseason career-high 40-point performance on April 21 vs. the LA Clippers – helping guide Utah to its first Western Conference Semifinals appearance since 2009-10.

“This is a big day in Celtics history,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Adding Gordon as a current All-Star, in the prime of his career, to an already good group of players is reason for excitement.”

Continued Ainge: “Gordon brings a great work ethic and character along with his ability to shoot, pass, and create offense in the pick and roll. His athleticism, size and versatility will allow him to fit in perfectly defensively as well.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Gordon and his family to Boston,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s a tremendous competitor and a great teammate who constantly seeks improvement, and consistently impacts winning. I am looking forward to working with him, once again, as we all continue to strive to compete for championships here in Boston.”

Originally selected with the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by Utah, Hayward, 27, has posted career averages of 15.7 points (44.4% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 82.0% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.02 steals and 31.3 minutes in 516 games played (408 starts) over seven seasons with the Jazz. Hayward’s scoring totals have improved each year since he entered the NBA out of Butler University, making him the only NBA player to have increased his scoring in each of the last seven seasons.

Hayward will wear number 20 for the Celtics.

Celtics trade Avery Bradley to Pistons for Marcus Morris

The Detroit Pistons have acquired guard Avery Bradley and a 2019 second-round draft choice from the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Marcus Morris.

Bradley, 26, averaged career highs in points (16.3 ppg), rebounds (6.1 rpg), assists (2.2 apg) and minutes (33.4 mpg) over 55 games for the Celtics last season. He shot 46.3% from the field and 39.0% from three-point range. In 18 postseason games, he averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.8 minutes per game.

Drafted 19th overall by Boston in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bradley has averaged 12.1 points (.442 FG, .366 3FG), 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 28.1 minutes in 413 career NBA games. The seven-year guard has averaged 15.0 points and shot better than 35% from beyond the arc in each of the last four seasons. He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 2013, the All-Defensive First Team in 2016 and finished sixth in the 2015-16 voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

The 6-2, 180-pound native of Tacoma, WA, played collegiately for one season at the University of Texas where he averaged 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists and was named to the 2009-10 Big 12 All-Rookie Team. As a high schooler, he led Las Vegas’ Findlay Prep to the National High School Championship as a senior and was named the ESPNRISE.com High School National Player of the Year. Bradley was also a McDonald’s All-American, Jordan All-American and First-Team Parade Magazine All-American.

“It’s no secret that Avery had been one of my favorite players, and on behalf of our entire organization, I’d like to thank him and Ashley for all of their contributions on and off the court,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Avery did a lot of the dirty work and often didn’t get the recognition that he deserved, but our coaches, staff, his teammates, and our fans who watched him play every night appreciated what a special player and person he is.”

Continued Ainge: “We are excited to add a high-quality player with the versatile skillset that Marcus possesses. He will be a great fit for our team.”

marcus morris

A six-year NBA veteran, Morris, 27, has averaged 10.8 points (42.8% FG, 35.5% 3-PT, 71.7% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 26.2 minutes over 416 career games (218 starts) with Houston, Phoenix and Detroit. He is one of 20 NBA players to have averaged at least 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and shoot at least 33.0% from beyond the arc in each of the last two seasons.

In 79 games with Detroit in 2016-17, Morris (6-9, 235 lbs) averaged 14.0 points (41.8% FG, 33.1% 3-PT, 78.4% FT), 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 32.5 minutes. The University of Kansas product and Philadelphia, PA native produced career highs in points (14.1 ppg), rebounds (5.1 rpg), assists (2.5 apg) and minutes played (35.7 mpg) with the Pistons in 2015-16. His 2,856 minutes played that season ranked fifth throughout the NBA.

Utah Jazz statements on Gordon Hayward

Utah Jazz free agent forward Gordon Hayward will reportedly be signing a deal with the Boston Celtics. Tonight, the Jazz issued some statements about his departure:

Gail Miller, Chairman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies: “Gordon has been an important part of our Jazz family for the past seven years. While disappointed that he is moving on, we thank him for his contributions to the organization and wish Gordon, Robyn and their family well. We thank him for his play, his leadership and how well he represented the Jazz and the state of Utah.”

Steve Starks, President, Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment: “The Jazz made a compelling case for Gordon to stay and managed the process well. A foundation for success has been established here, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring a championship to Utah. From our renovated facilities to our dedicated ownership, we are building a winning culture that will make Jazz fans proud.”

Dennis Lindsey, General Manager, Utah Jazz: “We are proud of the player that Gordon developed into with the Jazz, and wish him and his family the best of luck. Despite his departure, we still have a tremendous coaching staff and very good young core of players in place as we move forward.”

Celtics sign Jayson Tatum and Ante Zizic

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed 2017 first round draft pick Jayson Tatum and 2016 first round draft pick Ante Zizic.

Tatum, selected third overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.35 steals, 1.14 blocked shots and 33.3 minutes in 29 games (27 starts) in his lone season at Duke. During his single season at Duke he set a single-season record with six games of at least 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. The 19-year-old Missouri native ranked second on his team and second among ACC freshmen in both points and rebounds en route to being named Third Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference and to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2016-17. He was named as one of the five final candidates for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. As a senior at Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis, Missouri he was named as the 2016 Gatorade Boys National Player of the Year.

Zizic, selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, competed internationally with Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul in Turkey and KK Cibona Zagreb in Croatia last season. He played in a total of five different competitions last season; the Euroleague, Basketball Champions League, Adriatic League, the Turkish BSL and the Croatian A-1 league and played a total of 65 games. He appeared in 21 games for Darussafaka Dogus in the Turkish BSL where he averaged 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and shot 68.8 percent from the field in 17.8 minutes per game. He also appeared in 20 games for Darussafaka Dogus in the Euroleague, helping them to a quarter-finals appearance against Real Madrid. In those 20 games in the Euroleague, Zizic averaged 9.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and shot 64.9 percent from the field. He had his highest scoring average per game in the Adriatic League for KK Cibona where he averaged 20.0 points and 9.2 rebounds while blocking 1.23 shots per game. He was named as the 2015-16 Adriatic League Top Prospect which is given to the league’s best young player, aged 22 or under. Previous winners of this award include current NBA players Nikola Jokic and Daric Saric.

Report: Celtics give Kelly Olynyk a qualifying offer

According to a league source, the Celtics have extended a qualifying offer to forward Kelly Olynyk, thus making him a restricted free agent. But this move is not an indication that the team does not believe that it will need that salary cap space to offer a maximum salary contract to a player like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin.

– Boston Globe

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo announced today that the team has acquired the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Boston Celtics.

In exchange, the team sends the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and a future first-round pick to Boston.

The future first-round pick that Boston will receive will be the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, provided that such pick is No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, or No. 5 in the 2018 NBA Draft. If the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick is No. 1 or is No. 6 or later, the Sixers will instead convey to the Celtics the rights to the more favorable of the Sixers’ own 2019 first-round pick or the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-round pick, provided that the more favorable pick is not the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. If the more favorable of the Sixers’ and Kings’ 2019 first-round picks is the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Sixers will instead convey the rights to the less favorable of those two picks.

“We’re thrilled to be able to select what we expect be an impact player with the third pick in this year’s very talented draft class, while also adding a highly valuable future asset as we continue to build towards Banner 18,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

With the acquisition of these two first round picks, the Celtics now potentially own the rights to seven first round selections over the next three years, including picks from Brooklyn (2018), Memphis (2019, protected 1-8), and the LA Clippers (2019, protected 1-14).

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years,” Colangelo said. “History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year’s draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program.”

The Sixers will choose first overall for the fourth time in team history. Philadelphia chose Ben Simmons with first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Allen Iverson in 1996 and Doug Collins in 1973.

“I am incredibly excited that we’ve acquired the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft,” Josh Harris, Sixers Managing General Partner, said. “This pick provides us a tremendous opportunity to add another foundational player to our promising core. Bryan and his team have done a great job in positioning our organization for what we believe will be long-term success.”

Multliple reports say that the Celtics may trade the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft to the Sixers, who have the No.3 pick. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

Saturday was Markelle Fultz Night for the 76ers.

Hours before Fultz’s arrival at the team’s practice site in Camden, Joel Embiid tweeted out a selfie of himself and Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Markelle Fultz name plate.

There was an overflow of reporters and photographers taking pictures as Fultz walked into the building at 7:08 p.m. wearing a black Sixers cap.

And the team’s employees and guests watched intently as Fultz’s workout - that weeks ago seemed nothing more than wishful thinking - took place.

The Washington point guard working out for the Sixers was an indication that the team is getting closer to acquiring the only perfect fit in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

Isaiah Thomas hopes to avoid surgery

Playing without injured star point guard Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics were recently eliminated in five games by the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Thomas, in recovery, must still figure out if surgery is a necessary option for him. Long-term health is in mind. Here’s the Boston Herald with the latest:

Isaiah Thomas hopes to avoid surgery

The goal now is to return to what Thomas calls an “MVP” level, and he hopes to get there without surgery, though that remains a possibility. He also wants to play until he’s 40 years old.

“I’ve only seen one (doctor) but we’ve sent the information to a few of them,” he said. “I’m just waiting to hear back. We’re really waiting on the swelling to go down to see what the No. 1 option is. And then we go from there and attack that, whatever it may be. (Surgery is) not the No. 1 option right now but it could be once the swelling goes down. They want to let it die down a little bit then take another MRI once everything is down and it’s back to normal.

“We’ll go from there. Hopefully I don’t have to have surgery but I know that is an option.”

Thomas added that he doesn’t know how long he played with a tear in his hip, but that he had hip issues prior to suffering the injury on March 15 against Minnesota.

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics-Cavaliers Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. Boston’s starting lineup is undergoing a change. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said center/forward Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Amir Johnson is not likely to play, Stevens said, due to a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

It will mark Olynyk’s first start for the Celtics in their 17 playoff games. He’s averaging 8.9 points and three rebounds in 18.9 minutes off the bench.

The road to the NBA finals has already looked incredibly easy for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it just got even easier.

The Boston Celtics today announced that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of this year’s postseason following re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Thomas initially injured the hip during the third quarter of the Celtics’ March 15 game against Minnesota, forcing him to miss the next two regular season contests. The injury was further aggravated during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Washington on May 12.

“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred,” said Celtics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian McKeon. “The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

Thomas did not travel with the team to Cleveland and is currently evaluating treatment options.

The Cavs are up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. Game 3 is tomorrow in Cleveland.

Isaiah Thomas sustained multiple injuries to teeth

The Celtics have clarified the gory details about what’s going on with guard Isaiah Thomas and the injuries to his teeth:

As a result of a collision that occurred in Game 1 of the Boston Celtics’ Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Washington Wizards, Isaiah Thomas sustained multiple front teeth injuries including a complete fractured tooth and two other subluxed/shifted teeth that required extensive oral surgery to stabilize. He did not suffer a fractured or broken jaw.

Thomas is currently wearing a four-piece temporary bridge that cracked after being re-injured. This necessitated a replacement at halftime during Game 3 of the series. The spanning bridge is necessary to protect and stabilize the injuries. Members of the Celtics medical staff anticipated the need to replace the temporary bridges, and are prepared at any time to do so. Thomas will receive a permanent bridge at a future date.

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