Archive for the ‘ Boston Celtics Blog ’ Category

Celtics and 76ers both in rebuild mode

That the Sixers and Celtics are on parallel paths back to respectability is nothing more than the reality of the NBA. The league’s salary cap and the impact of even a single superstar often force a franchise to gamble that, by breaking apart its roster and struggling for a season or more, it will increase the odds that it will draft a player who can change everything. (A simpler way to say all this is that the league encourages tanking, but that’s well trod ground.)

For too many years, the Sixers were unwilling to accept this necessary evil. They didn’t want to bottom out, so they lingered on the periphery of the playoffs, sometimes reaching the postseason, sometimes missing it, usually inspiring little more than a shoulder shrug from a frustrated fan base. Everything about them became stagnant and stale. It was only when their attempt to “go for it” - their misbegotten trade for Andrew Bynum - failed last season that they effected the sort of overhaul in front-office personnel and philosophy they needed.

“This year is going to be a lot about development - bringing some of our young guys along, try to change the culture, what hard work looks like, what expectations look like,” Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. “We’re looking as long-distance as we can, versus next month or next year.”

At least the Celtics got to lengthen their legacy before hitting the restart button. With point guard Rajon Rondo and their trio of eventual Hall of Famers - Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen - they won a championship in 2008, then reached the NBA Finals in 2010 and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 for good measure.

Reported by Mike Sielski of the Boston Herald

Jared Sullinger set to return for Celtics

Tonight’s exhibition opener against Toronto at the Garden will be Jared Sullinger’s first game since Jan. 30.

The process of recovering from back surgery has admittedly been slow and debilitating for the Celtics forward. He gained an estimated 15 pounds, and has spent training camp attempting to trim down his 270-plus frame.

There’s no time like now for a fresh baptism.

“Everything feels great, but I have to get in better shape,” Sullinger said after yesterday’s practice. “Being six, seven months off and then coming in and trying to play with these guys who have been working out all summer and played the entire NBA season last year, I’m just a tier under.

Reported by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald

Celtics

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent forwards DeShawn Sims, Damen Bell-Holter and guards Chris Babb and Kammron Taylor. The contracts are likely all non-guaranteed and merely bring the players to training camp.

Sims, a 6’8” forward, played in 35 games for Sagesse in Lebanon last season where he averaged 22.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 33.3 minutes per game. Sims was previously named the 2011 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year when he posted 20.3 points (fourth in NBADL) and 7.7 rebounds (11th) for the Maine Red Claws. Sims also has played professionally in South Korea with KCC Egis, PAOK BC in Greece and for Piratas de Quebradillas in Puerto Rico.

Bell-Holter, a 6’9” forward, appeared in 35 games for Oral Roberts as a senior during the 2012-13 season when he averaged 15.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. The native of Hydaburg, Alaska recorded 17 double-digit rebound performances during Southland Conference play as well as 13 double-doubles.

Babb, a 6’5” guard, appeared in 33 games for Iowa State as a senior during the 2012-13 season and averaged 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and shot 38.2 percent from three-point territory. Babb was also named to the Big 12 All-Defense Team for his defensive efforts.

Taylor, a 6’2” guard, appeared in 19 games for Ludwigsburg in Germany last season where he averaged 13.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 28.6 minutes per game. Taylor has also played professionally in the Ukraine, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Turkey and Spain. Taylor appeared in 119 games for the University of Wisconsin from 2003-07 and left with career averages of 10.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 26.1 minutes per game.

It will be interesting to see how first-time NBA coach Brad Stevens adapts to his new digs and how well he establishes a working relationship with players who won’t have to sit out a year if they transfer.

Rajon Rondo

It will be beyond interesting to see how Rajon Rondo adjusts both physically and sociologically to playing without Pierce and Garnett.

How much of what we saw from rookie Kelly Olynyk in July was the product of summer-league competition? Is Jeff Green ready to exhibit his considerable talent on a more consistent basis? Who among the Brooklyn refugees is here for more than a cup of chowder?

The Celtics are wise to be patient as they seek to repackage their roster and multiple first-round draft picks into a worthy entity. But they are still on the clock as regards Rondo, who can be a free agent in two years. Before then, the Celts must show they are close enough to being good to make him want to stay, or, failing that, find the right trade for Rondo before he abdicates.

Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

Until Rajon Rondo returns, Avery Bradley the PG for Celtics

In the wake of Danny Ainge’s comments that Rajon Rondo may not be back until December, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens thinks he has an in-house candidate to fill the star point guard’s shoes.

Stevens said Avery Bradley may indeed see the bulk of the point guard duties until Rondo finds his way back from offseason knee surgery.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that Avery has elite ability in a lot of ways as a point guard,” Stevens said at TD Garden yesterday morning, where he was a guest at the breakfast to promote November’s Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball tripleheader. “He’s an elite defender at the position. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position. I think he’s a guy that’s gotten better. I think he’s a guy with more confidence, and I think he’s excited about the challenge if Rajon is out.”

Reported by Tom Layman of the Boston Herald

Boston Celtics find new radio station home

The Boston Celtics and CBS RADIO Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub today announced a multi-year partnership in which the Boston Celtics games will be broadcast on the market’s leading sports station. Beginning this season, 98.5 The Sports Hub will feature select pre-season games, and all regular and post-season matchups, as well as produce extended pre and postgame shows focused entirely on the Celtics.

“We are excited to launch a new era of Celtics basketball with CBS RADIO Boston, extending our audience reach with Celtics fans throughout New England and providing an enhanced promotional platform for the Celtics, our team sponsors, and advertisers,” Celtics Team President Rich Gotham said. “In addition to enjoying the NBA’s best play by play with Grande and Max, Celtics fans will also have the opportunity to hear directly from Celtics executives, players, and coaches through interviews and features throughout the season.”

“98.5 The Sports Hub is thrilled to add Boston Celtics radio broadcasts to our line-up,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President & Market Manager for CBS RADIO Boston. “The Celtics are a winning, world class organization and the perfect fit for 98.5 The Sports Hub. I look forward to growing the success of both organizations through this partnership.”

The Boston Celtics begin their new season on the road at Toronto on October 30. The Celtics will play their home opener on November 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. The 2013 Champion Miami Heat visit the TD Garden just once this season on March 19 and the Celtics will host Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the Brooklyn Nets on January 26 and March 7. Other highlights of the season include Doc Rivers’ return to Boston with the Los Angeles Clippers on December 11 and the Los Angeles Lakers’ arrival at the TD Garden on January 17.

Gerald Wallace

Back in July, when the Boston Celtics formally introduced the players acquired from the Brooklyn Nets as part of this summer’s nine-player blockbuster swap, small forward Gerald Wallace was absent, excused from the press conference to attend the start of his youth basketball camp in his native Alabama.

Seventy-three days later, with training camp less than a week away, the former All-Star still hasn’t made an appearance at his new basketball home. So when a reporter noted to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Tuesday that Wallace remains an intriguing figure because he hasn’t spoken to the media, Ainge smiled and offered, “I’m right there with you. I’m anxious to meet Gerald.”

The two crossed paths briefly a lifetime ago, when Wallace was a fresh-faced rookie in Sacramento and Ainge was doing TV work. Now, Ainge is presiding over his second Boston rebuild and 31-year-old Wallace is the heftiest contract on his books (three years, $30.3 million).

Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Prosecutors pursue assault case against Jared Sullinger

Prosecutors say they intend to pursue domestic assault charges against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger even though his accuser wants to drop the case.

The 21-year-old Sullinger appeared in Waltham District Court on Monday to face charges of assault and battery, destruction of property and witness intimidation in connection with the Aug. 31 confrontation with his girlfriend. She accused Sullinger of pinning her to a bed and the floor at his Waltham home.

His lawyer, Charles Rankin, says the girlfriend does not want to continue the case and is not afraid of Sullinger.

Reported by the Associated Press

Celtics

On Thursday afternoon the Boston Celtics rookie continued to immerse himself in all that is New England with a trip on the T train that not surprisingly, was running on the Green Line.

Olynyk rode the MBTA Green Line from Kenmore Station to the North Station which is just a few steps away from the home of the Boston Celtics, the TD Garden.

“Time flies when you’re on the T,” Olynyk said.

While the ride by Olynyk was done in part to encourage the use of public transportation in general as well as for attending Celtics games, it also served as yet another opportunity for the 7-footer to connect with the people.

As passengers boarded the T train, Olynyk didn’t hesitate to sign t-shirts or pose for pictures when asked.

Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

Boston Celtics waive Donte Greene

Boston Celtics waive Donte Greene

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have waived forward Donte Greene.

Greene, a 6’11” forward, was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on August 15 in exchange for Fab Melo and cash considerations. Greene posted career averages of 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 253 games with Sacramento.

According to ESPN Boston, “Greene came to Boston in a swap with the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Fab Melo and cash considerations. The Grizzlies already waived Melo, which means the Celtics sent approximately $1.7 million to Memphis in order to clear a roster spot and dip below the luxury tax line. Boston now has 14 guaranteed contracts totaling approximately $71.2 million. The luxury tax line is set to be $71.7 million for the 2013-14 season.”

Celtics need a fine season from Avery Bradley

The data, and the eye test, suggest Bradley took a step back in 2012-13. As much as the Celtics’ announcers raved over his improved jump shot, Bradley’s overall field goal percentage fell to 40.2 percent from 49.8 percent the previous year, while he went from hitting one out of every two shots from 10-15 feet to hitting only one out of every three from that range, according to HoopData. His 3-point shooting accuracy fell to 31.7 percent from 40.7 percent. Most worrisome, his accuracy on corner threes dropped to 34.7 percent last season from 55.6 percent (in an extremely small sample) in 2011-12.

These numbers aside, anyone could see Bradley’s difficulties at the other end of the court in the playoffs, when his most obvious skill, his on-ball defense, virtually disappeared. Raymond Felton made a mockery of the Celtics’ boast that Bradley was “the best ball-stopper in the league” by having his way with No. 0 in the pick-and-roll. With Jeff Green and Brandon Bass stepping up defensively on Carmelo Anthony, a fair argument could be made that the Celtics would have won their series against the Knicks if somebody, anybody, had been able to slow down Felton.

Reported by Ben Watanabe of NESN

Boston Celtics

When Brad Stevens was introduced as head coach of the Boston Celtics in early July, he pledged to use the remaining offseason months to learn the intricacies of the NBA game, study the strengths and weaknesses of his in-flux roster, and hit the ground running when training camp opened on Oct. 1.

Little more than two months later, and with just two weeks until camp opens, Stevens is confident he’s ready for what serves as the grand opening of his NBA tenure.

“I’m in pretty good shape,” Stevens said Friday in Dorchester, where he joined a handful of players and staff in running a youth basketball clinic. “I’ve got a great staff and they’ve been great about answering any questions that I would have had.

“I think now it’s like anything else, you have to come up with a progression for getting as much in as you possibly can in a very short amount of time. Also, a philosophy on how you’re going to treat the exhibition games and the exhibition season with the practice opportunities during that month.”

Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Rajon Rondo return date for Celtics remains unknown

From the moment his torn ACL was confirmed, Rajon Rondo seemed to believe that he would be back on the court for the Celtics’ season opener. Speculation was even tossed around that the All-Star point guard could be ready to go for training camp.

Rondo’s swift return does not look so likely anymore. Although Rondo was working out Tuesday, his readiness is up in the air, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told Bill Simmons in the B.S. Report podcast.

“I’m not sure [when Rondo will be back],” Ainge told Simmons, via ESPN.

Reported by NESN staff

An apologetic Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is free on $5,000 bail after he was arrested yesterday on charges of assaulting his longtime girlfriend last weekend after she “found evidence on his cellphone that he was cheating on her,” Waltham cops said.

Sullinger pleaded not guilty in Waltham District Court yesterday to assault and battery, destruction of property of more than $250 and witness intimidation.

“The experience was humbling and embarrassing for me,” Sullinger said in a statement. “Yet I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates and my fans. To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Reported by Antonio Planas of the Boston Herald

The Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger stood stone-faced and wearing handcuffs in the dock of Waltham District Court on Tuesday as prosecutors said the 6-foot-9-inch, 260-pound power forward pinned his girlfriend to a bed and to the floor of their townhouse last weekend and then snatched and smashed her cellphone when she tried to call police.

“During this heated argument in the bedroom, Jared pushed her down onto the bed and got on top of her,” Waltham police wrote in their report of the confrontation. Sullinger’s girlfriend said “she tried several times to get up, but he kept pinning her down and would not let her up.’’

Reported by David Abel and John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe

Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to domestic violence-related charges after allegedly repeatedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed and the floor.

Bail for Sullinger, 21, was set at $5,000 after his plea on charges including assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.

Later Tuesday, Sullinger released a statement through the Celtics in which he apologized and called the experience “humbling and embarrassing.”

“I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates, and my fans,” he said. “To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Police say officers were called to Sullinger’s residence Saturday evening by his girlfriend, Deann Smith. She told them that earlier that day he’d assaulted her after she accused him of cheating on her and began packing.

Reported by the Associated Press

Memphis Grizzlies waive Fab Melo

Memphis Grizzlies waive Fab Melo
Memphis Grizzlies waive Fab Melo

The Memphis Grizzlies have waived center Fab Melo, the team announced today. Melo was originally acquired on August 14, 2013 in exchange for forward Donté Greene.

Entering his second NBA season, Melo (7-0, 255) saw action in six games last season with the Celtics averaging 1.2 points in six minutes per contest. He appeared in 33 games for the NBA Development League’s Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-high 3.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game after being assigned to the Celtics affiliate on Nov. 14.

Drafted by Boston with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Melo decided to forgo his final two years at Syracuse University after being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season. In two seasons at Syracuse, he averaged 4.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on .576 shooting in 17.3 minutes in 63 games (54 starts).

Chris Wilcox said he played hurt last season

The Celtics dealt with a plethora of injuries last season, including a nagging thumb injury sustained by backup center Chris Wilcox last December in Chicago that cost him 19 games.

The injury was diagnosed as a strained ulnar collateral ligament and Wilcox wore a wrap around the thumb for the remainder of the season. Wilcox told the Globe on Wednesday that he discovered after the season that the ligament was actually torn and required surgery.

“It was tough, it never got better,” he said. “I just thought I would give it some rest after the season and I would barely put my hand in a fist. It didn’t get any better.”

Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Blog)

Celtics

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have added Ron Adams, Micah Shrewsberry, and Walter McCarty to the team as assistant coaches.

Adams, Shrewsberry and McCarty join Jamie Young and Jay Larranaga on Head Coach Brad Stevens’ coaching staff.

“I am really excited about our assistant coaching staff that we have here in Boston,” said Stevens. “In this group, we have successfully assembled a passionate, intelligent, hard-working, and humble staff with a diverse set of experiences in coaching. We are all eager to get to work with this year’s team, and take great pride in being a part of the Boston Celtics organization.”

Adams joins the Celtics after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls. He has also had assistant coaching stints with Oklahoma City (2008-10), Chicago (2003-08), Milwaukee (1998-2003), Philadelphia (1996-98) and San Antonio (1992-94). Adams also has served as the player personnel scout for the Portland Trail Blazers from 1996-98. Prior to the NBA, Adams has coached at the collegiate level with his alma mater Fresno Pacific University as well as Cal-Santa Barbara, Fresno State University and Nevada-Las Vegas. He has also coached professional basketball in Belgium, consulted and coached with the Canadian National basketball program and two Japanese professional basketball clubs.

Shrewsberry joins the Celtics after spending three seasons with Purdue University as an assistant coach. He previously has experience with Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens at Butler University where he served as Butler’s Coordinator of Basketball Operations during the 2007-08 season and was an assistant coach on Stevens’ staff from 2008-11.

McCarty joins Stevens’ staff after re-joining the Celtics prior to the 2012-13 season as a Community Relations Consultant. McCarty was a member of Jim O’Brien’s coaching staff with the Indiana Pacers during the 2010-11 season. He also spent three seasons with the University of Louisville as an assistant coach. McCarty played 10 seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers before he retired after the 2005-06 season.

Celtics games will no longer air on WEEI

With less than two months until the NBA preseason tips off, the Boston Celtics have become radio nomads.

Entercom Communications announced Tuesday that Celtics games will no longer be carried on their WEEI and WRKO stations after an agreement could not be reached on a new contract. The stations had been the radio home of the Celtics since 2005.

“WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th championship banner to the end of the Big 3 era,” Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Jeff Brown said in a statement.

Reported by Zack Cox of NESN

Celtics trade Fab Melo to Grizzlies for Donte Greene

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired center Fab Melo and cash considerations from the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Donté Greene, the team announced today.

According to the Boston Globe, “Though Melo was a low-risk gamble at the No. 22 overall pick, he made little progress in his rookie season. The Brazilian played sparingly in six games, scoring 7 total points and proving to be little more than a long-term project at best.”

Entering his second NBA season, Melo (7-0, 255) saw action in six games last season with the Celtics averaging 1.2 points in six minutes per contest. He appeared in 33 games for the NBA Development League’s Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-high 3.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game after being assigned to the Celtics affiliate on Nov. 14. While with the Red Claws, he recorded a triple-double on Dec. 22 against Erie with 15 points, 16 rebounds and a D-League record 14 blocks. In Maine’s next game, he recorded 32 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks. Melo, a native of Juiz de Fora, Brazil, was named to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Rookie First Team and All-Defensive First Team.

Drafted by Boston with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Melo decided to forgo his final two years at Syracuse University after being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season. In two seasons at Syracuse, he averaged 4.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on .576 shooting in 17.3 minutes in 63 games (54 starts).

Greene (6-11, 226) signed with Memphis on April 17, 2013, holding NBA career averages of 6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 16.8 minutes in 253 games (82 starts) over four seasons (2008-12) with the Sacramento Kings, but did not see action in a game with the Grizzlies.

The 25-year-old had missed the majority of the 2012-13 regular season while recovering from a fractured ankle suffered during an offseason workout on Aug. 25, 2012. He played one game in Puerto Rico for Atleticos de San German of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) last year.

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