Celtics trade Dalano Banton to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Dalano Banton and cash considerations in a trade with the Boston Celtics for a protected second-round draft pick.

Banton has recorded 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 7.1 minutes per game in 24 games (one start) with Boston this season. He has also appeared in two NBA G League games (two starts) with the Maine Celtics this year, posting 29.5 points (43.5% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 64.3% FT), 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks in 34.8 minutes per game. In 119 career games (four starts) in one season with Boston and two seasons with Toronto, he has accrued career averages of 3.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 9.6 minutes per game.

76ers trade Jaden Springer to Celtics

The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired a 2024 second-round draft pick (more favorable of Chicago and New Orleans) in a trade with the Boston Celtics for Jaden Springer.

Springer (6-4, 204) has appeared in 50 career NBA games since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The 6-4 guard owns career averages of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field, and has seen action in nine playoff games, tallying 15 points in 30 minutes. The Charlotte, North Carolina native is averaging career-highs across the board with 4.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 32 games this season.

Over two seasons with the 76ers G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coasts, Springer averaged 17.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.0 steals in 43 games from 2021-2023. Springer was named the NBA G League Finals MVP in 2023 after helping Delaware capture its first-ever G League Championship.

The 2021 SEC All-Freshman Team honoree led Tennessee in scoring with 12.5 points per game in his lone collegiate season, and averaged 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 25 games (15 starts). Springer led the Volunteers in three-point percentage (20-46, .435) and total free throws made (81), while his 81.0 free-throw percentage ranked ninth among SEC players, and stands as the highest percentage by a freshman in program history (min.100 attempts).

Grizzlies, Celtics trade Xavier Tillman, Lamar Stevens

The Boston Celtics have acquired forward/center Xavier Tillman in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Lamar Stevens and two future second-round draft picks.

Tillman (6-8, 245) has appeared in 34 games (13 starts) with the Grizzlies this season and is averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and a career-high 1.7 assists while shooting 40.8 percent from the field. The four-year big is also averaging career highs of 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks, standing as one of just 14 players in the league with at least one block and one steal per game this year and the only player to do so in less than 25 minutes per game.

Tillman has registered two of his six career double-doubles this season, including in the Grizzlies’ regular season opener, when he scored 17 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds. This season, Tillman posted a career-high five blocks on December 26 at New Orleans, and a career-best six steals on January 13 versus New York. In 184 career games with Memphis, he owns career averages of 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan native was selected with 35th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft after playing three seasons at Michigan State. During his collegiate career, Tillman was honored as the 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and received the 2019 Big Ten Conference Sixth Man of the Year award.

Stevens appeared in 19 games for the Celtics this season and averaged 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor.

Celtics enter 2024 with NBA-best 26-6 record

Per the Boston Herald:

Jaylen Brown stole a pass in the backcourt, took a dribble toward the rim and had the presence of mind to lay it off to Derrick White in the lane. The Celtics guard isn’t typically known for his athleticism, but took the pass, took a step and hammered it home for a one-handed tomahawk dunk.

White stopped upon landing and took a brief moment to look at his Celtics teammates on the bench. Luke Kornet lost his mind again. White, back in his first NBA home facing the team that drafted him, was showing off a bit. And the Celtics were laughing their way into a big new year by leaving 2023 with a bang.

The Celtics won but struggled against a pair of lower-tier teams to end last week at TD Garden. Not so much on Sunday night. Victor Wembanyama looked the part of a future star, but he and his five-win Spurs were no match for the best team in the NBA. The Celtics celebrated the new year with a dominant 134-101 victory in San Antonio.

The Celtics’ New Year’s resolution for 2024? Keep playing like this, and they could be on a parade around Boston in June.

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Celtics survive overtime battle with Pistons

Per Boston.com:

The Celtics narrowly avoided a deeply embarrassing loss on Thursday with a 128-122 victory over the Pistons in overtime…

At some point, the Pistons will win a game. When they do, the team they beat will have the ignominy of being the team that broke the longest losing streak in NBA history.

Last year’s perpetually frustrating Celtics would have been a prime candidate to be that team, and for 24 minutes to start the game, this year’s Celtics looked a little like last year’s group that routinely found the most infuriating ways imaginable to lose. They turned the ball over constantly, they let Cade Cunningham get into a nice groove, and after putting up impressive scoring totals throughout their West Coast road trip, they managed just 20 points in the second quarter and 47 by halftime. The Pistons took a 19-point lead into the break.

The Celtics couldn’t play much worse, and they are a much better basketball team than the Pistons, so a rally was somewhat inevitable. They needed just six minutes to get themselves back into the game, and they traded leads with the Pistons into the fourth quarter. Things appeared decided when they went up by six with just under two minutes remaining, but Jaden Ivey dragged the Pistons back equal again, and the game went to overtime.

In overtime, however, the talent gap finally swallowed the Pistons, and the Celtics pulled away.

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Celtics sign Drew Peterson to two-way contract

The Boston Celtics have signed forward Drew Peterson to a two-way contract.

Peterson (6-9, 205) appeared in 13 games (eight starts) this season for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the G League affiliate of the Miami Heat, and averaged 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.0 steals in 33.8 minutes per game. The rookie ranked second on the team in made three-pointers (24-59 3FG) and total assists (54), while his 4.2 assists per game ranks 10th in the G League.

The Libertyville, Ill., native played two seasons at Rice before transferring to USC where he averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in his three seasons with the Trojans. During the 2022-23 season, Peterson was second on the team with a 13.9 scoring average, while leading the team in rebounds per game (6.2) and total assists (143).

Peterson was named All-Pac-12 first team for the second consecutive season and was one of three NCAA Power 6 conference players to average at least 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists during the 2022-23 season. He served as one of USC’s team captains and was named USC’s co-MVP after helping the Trojans advance to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. The fifth-year senior finished his collegiate career with 1,721 points, 897 rebounds, and 505 assists in 164 games.

Pacers beat Celtics in NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals

Per the Boston Herald:

Aaron Nesmith took a transition pass from Tyrese Haliburton and dunked over Al Horford. The former Celtic galloped around the court and chest-pumped Myles Turner as the rest of his Pacers teammates flooded the court to celebrate an imminent victory.

The Celtics proved they cared about the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament with how they handled their final group stage game last week. They showed that mentality during stretches of Monday’s first ever quarterfinal game of the tournament. But ultimately, the moment meant more for the upstart Pacers.

In a playoff-like atmosphere, the C’s couldn’t get the job done on Monday night in Indiana. Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and Jaylen Brown added 30, but their worst habits haunted them again. They laid another dud in the third quarter. Too many turnovers piled up. And then the Pacers – led by rising superstar Tyrese Haliburton – raised their game to another level in the second half, as they handed the Celtics a 122-112 loss and sent them home from the In-Season Tournament.

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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis to miss In-Season Tournament quarterfinals game

Per the Boston Herald:

Kristaps Porzingis will miss the Celtics’ In-Season Tournament quarterfinal game against the Pacers in Indiana as he continues to nurse his left calf injury, the team announced.

Porzingis initially suffered the ankle injury on Nov. 24 in the Celtics’ loss to the Magic, when he left the game in the third quarter and didn’t return. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said last Monday that he would be re-evaluated in a week.

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Celtics squeeze out close win vs. Grizzlies

Per the Boston Herald:

As chaos hit its climax in the final seconds, Kristaps Porzingis kept his cool. With the Celtics leading the Grizzlies by two during a wild sequence, the ball found Ziaire Williams, whose desperation game-tying shot found Porzingis’ hand.

Porzingis stood in satisfaction of the moment and seemed to send some trash talk in Williams’ direction as he lay on the court. His Celtics teammates swarmed him. And they all stood there for a moment to ensure the victory was secured.

Somehow, the Celtics survived.

For a second consecutive game, the Celtics were not at their best. Against an inferior Grizzlies team missing eight players, they were caught in another rockfight. It was emotional, physical, frustrating and sloppy, a game deserving of Marcus Smart, who was sitting on the Memphis bench all night due to an injury. But once again, the C’s found a way. Porzingis’ sixth block of the game clinched a gutsy 102-100 victory in Memphis.

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Celtics sign Nathan Knight, waive Jay Scrubb

The Boston Celtics have signed forward/center Nathan Knight to a two-way contract.

In a corresponding roster move the Celtics have waived guard Jay Scrubb.

Knight (6-10, 253) has appeared in 108 career games (two starts) with the Atlanta Hawks (2020-21) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2022-23). He owns career averages of 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the field.

The Syracuse, NY native was a three-time Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American (2018, 2019, 2020) during his four-year colligate career at William & Mary, where he averaged 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 125 games. During his senior year, Knight was named the Lou Henson National Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com, which is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I mid-major player. He was also selected as the Basketball Times National Mid-Major Player of the Year and 2020 CAA Player of the Year.

Knight attended Nottingham High School in Syracuse, New York and finished his high school career at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire.