Isaiah Thomas speaks at the Roxbury YMCA on Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Isaiah Thomas speaks at the Roxbury YMCA on Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

ROXBURY – Whether it’s Kevin Durant, Al Horford or Dwight Howard, Isaiah Thomas is just hoping Danny Ainge can work his magic to improve his team’s chances of getting past the first round and contend for a title. 

“I just hope we get a few more pieces. I think that’s what we need,” Thomas said Thursday while speaking to kids on a Celtics CommUNITY stop at the Roxbury YMCA.

“I think that would be the next steps for us, and then we go from there. I’ve got a lot of trust in Danny and those guys in the front office because that’s their job, that’s what they do. And they know what they’re getting themselves into. So I’m just trying to do my part with telling people how special Boston is. And then hopefully they listen.”

Despite a report from Marc Spears that a source indicates Durant has nearly made up his mind to return to Oklahoma City, the Celtics will meet with Durant’s representatives on Saturday.

“I don’t know if you can say anything to convince him. He’s his own man,” said Thomas. “I don’t know if he even has his own decision already and he just wants to hear people out. But we just have to be as real as possible. He’s a fan of the game. He knows the game of basketball. He’s talked to me about how exciting it is to watch us on NBA LeaguePass and things like that. So he knows. And we’re just going to do what we can to try to seal the deal. And hopefully we can get in his ear. And maybe he’s a Celtic. Maybe he’s not. But we’re going to try. And I’m going to try.”

Thomas left the YMCA to head back to Waltham to meet with Danny Ainge and the Celtics to see if he could be of any further assistance in a last-ditch effort. 

“It’s a crazy feeling just because years ago that didn’t even come close,” Thomas said. “I was worried about making the team the next year. So it’s a good feeling knowing that they I guess trust my word or anything, and they come to me for things that they need or they want me to do. Knowing that you have trust in the organization, that’s a great feeling.”

Does Thomas have a gauge on what Durant might be looking for?

“No. I read comments he said he just wants to have fun playing basketball,” Thomas said. “I think it’s fun playing over here. For the most part when I do communicate with him I try not to talk about it. He actually brought it up to me one time just saying how much he loves the city and it seems like a really nice sports town.”

Then there’s Al Horford. 

“I just reached out to him. I got his number and reached out to him saying, ‘I’m interested in playing with you. I just want to put that in your ear. I know the Celtics would love if you came and are a part of the organization. Good luck with the process.’ And things like that,” Thomas said. “And then he texted me back, he said, ‘I’m a fan of how you guys play. I’m a fan of your game and would love the opportunity, but we’ll see what happens.’ The time is crazy for those type of guys right now so you never know what would happen but guys know about Boston. Guys are definitely talking Boston. And that’s a good thing.”

There is one player already on the roster that has impressed Thomas. Jaylen Brown played one year at Cal, a Pac-12 rival of Thomas’ alma mater Washington, before being drafted third overall by the Celtics. 

“A really good player. I think he’s slept on a lot by a lot of people,” Thomas said. “I watched California play due to them being in the Pac-12, and I’ve seen his highlights. He’s very athletic. He can play multiple positions. And hopefully he’s just ready to work. Get to work and put your hard hat on, and go from there. I’m excited to be able to get to meet him and get to know him.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas joined Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni Thursday afternoon to discuss Kevin Durant and being a part of the Celtics organization. For the full interview, visit the OMF audio on demand page.

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas joined Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni Thursday afternoon to discuss Kevin Durant and being a part of the Celtics organization. For the full interview, visit the OMF audio on demand page.

With the Celtics reportedly meeting with Kevin Durant Saturday, Thomas was unsure if he was going to be a part of it, but is ready if called upon.

“I’m going to call Danny today and see what he needs me to do, but if that’s what he wants me to do I’ll be there,” said Thomas.

Despite 48 wins and a first-round playoff exit, when asked how he would pitch the Celtics to Durant, Thomas had very much thought through what he would say.

“48 wins without a so-called superstar I guess they say, in the best city in the NBA, the best fans in the NBA, the history of Boston is self-explanatory,” Thomas said. “… If I am in that meeting on Saturday or whatever day it is, or I’m able to talk to Kevin Durant face-to-face I’ll just be as real as I possibly can and tell him how I feel about Boston. How I felt Boston before I got before I got here and how I feel about it now and that’s all I can really do. In this predicament in this situation everybody is going to try to sell him the world, or sell any free agent the world, and my job is just as a player to keep it as real as possible and try to get him to a great city and get situation and try to get him to Boston to where with him or with any other superstar we can give us that muscle to raise the 18th banner.”

A week removed from the NBA draft, Thomas expressed the utmost faith in the organization’s decision making.

“[Jaylen Brown is] a talented basketball player, somebody that I think will help us,” Thomas said. “I know Danny and the guys in the front office have done their background checks on all the guys that they worked out. So I guess they thought that was the best fit for us as a team. I’ve got all faith in the front office in the Celtics organization and Danny Ainge and what they’re doing because they’ve been through it, that’s their job. And they know the in’s and out’s of the draft and free agency and all those types of things. My job is just to go out there and play. But I’m excited, hopefully Jaylen Brown is ready to contribute and ready to get to work. I’m excited about the future and hopefully we can get a few free agents this summer and build on what we have.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics

On if he believes the Celtics are close to being legitimate contenders: “We definitely have to take steps forward. You’re right, we’re not as close as maybe people thought, but we’re there. We only need another piece or two then you can put us as a contender for a championship, and I mean that.”

On being undervalued: “Nobody ever gives me my credit. There’s always some excuse or some reason why I succeed why I do,” said Thomas. Numbers don’t lie. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. It just ticks me off for people to continue to say stuff when all I’ve done is produce. And not to make this an individual thing because I’m definitely a team guy and I’m all about team. But when I’ve done my job, you should give me my credit.”

On if the history of the Celtics organization means anything to free agents: “I think that the big basketball heads like the basketball junkies care about that. I think the biggest thing might be the weather. That’s the only thing I can say that people aren’t attracted to Boston for. Until you’re here and until you’re in it every day you don’t see how great this organization is, you don’t see how great this organization is. You don’t see how great this city is you don’t see how great the people around this city are.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy

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Las Vegas recently labeled the Celtics the favorites to land former All-Star center Dwight Howard, but reporters covering the team are hearing a different story.

Las Vegas recently labeled the Celtics the favorites to land former All-Star center Dwight Howard, but reporters covering the team are hearing a different story.

Himmelsbach covers the Celtics for the Globe, and frankly, his version of events makes more sense than a rabid pursuit of Howard, who has aged very quickly, even though he’s only 30. The eight-time All-Star averaged just 13.7 points last season for the Rockets, the lowest total since he put up 12 a game as a 19-year-old rookie in 2004-05.

Also, after missing just three games in his first six seasons, Howard has broken down in recent years, missing 63 games over the last three seasons.

For his career, he averages 17.8 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks a game. There’s a question of how he’d fit in the system of Celtics coach Brad Stevens, since Howard is a back-to-the-basket post player who doesn’t stretch defenses.

Howard recently declined his $23.2 million player option with the Rockets to become a free agent.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Kevin Durant may be the prize, and Dwight Howard an intriguing possibility, but the Celtics aren’t taking any piece of their roster for granted.

To that end, they plan to offer qualifying offers to big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. Per Steve Bulpett of the Herald:

Kevin Durant may be the prize, and Dwight Howard an intriguing possibility, but the Celtics aren’t taking any piece of their roster for granted.

To that end, they plan to offer qualifying offers to big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. Per Steve Bulpett of the Herald:

Qualifying offers must be made by Thursday, and extending them allows the Celtics to match any offer sheet Zeller and/or Sullinger sign in restricted free agency. Otherwise, they would’ve become unrestricted free agents.

Sullinger’s offer will be for $4,433,683, while Zeller’s one-year offer is for $3,695,169, according to the Herald.

Sullinger averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds this year, though he was ineffective against the Hawks in the playoffs. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds, falling out of Brad Stevens’ rotation at times.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Mar 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford (15) shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Hawks 104-96. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics reportedly will target Hawks forward Al Horford in free agency. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports)

Assuming the Celtics don’t land Kevin Durant, they’re going to need to shift their focus to signing other key free agents to improve their roster.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Celtics will target Al Horford when free agency officially begins July 1, and will be one of many teams, including the Lakers, Rockets, Magic, Pistons, Nets and Wizards, interested in the nine-year pro. (A Thursday report indicated the Thunder also plan to make a push for him.)

If the Celtics don’t land Durant or Horford, what kind of players do they need?

“We need good players,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said last Friday as the team introduced five of its six draft picks in Waltham.

Brad Stevens was more specific.

“The biggest needs as we look at it are continuing to grow ourselves on the offensive end and what we decide to do with regard to protecting the rim,” the coach said.

There are a handful of players available who could help in scoring and rim protection, which could push the Celtics into contending with the champion Cavaliers.

However, the most talented players come with an expensive price tag. The Celtics will have to weigh their options and target the players who are worth the big bucks, while also looking to at second- and third-tier options who offer plenty of upside.

Here are four free agents the Celtics could sign this summer.

AL HORFORD
2015-16: 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks

Horford sits atop the list — his ability to stretch the floor on offense and defend opposing big men makes him a great fit in Boston. His leadership qualities will be beneficial for this young Celtics team — along with his experience. Horford, who turned 30 earlier this month, is also consistent — while his 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds last season aren’t numbers that are going to amaze you, his dependability will make a big impact. He would give the Celtics their first consistent scoring big man since Kevin Garnett. And much like Garnett was for the Celtics, Horford is a great pick-and-roll guy who can knock down shots and score in the post. He is a max guy, but is one of the exceptional players of this free agency class who deserves a contract worth over $20 million annually. Placing an All-Star like Horford alongside Isaiah Thomas would bring this Celtics team to the second round of the playoffs, with potential to go beyond.  It would be a huge step toward contenting with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

NICOLAS BATUM
2015-16: 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists

Prying Batum out of Charlotte won’t be easy — the Hornets reportedly have made re-signing Batum their top priority this summer — however, the Celtics should target the veteran shooter because he would flourish in a Celtics uniform. At 6-foot-8, he’s a versatile scorer who can knock down 3-pointers, score off the dribble and defend the perimeter. Along with Avery Bradley’s shooting, Batum’s ability would create space for players like Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, who have no problem scoring when they drive to the hoop. He’s also a good passer — making him a great piece to add to Stevens’ up-tempo offense — and an all-around great offensive weapon who would fit in nicely.

EVAN TURNER
2015-16: 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists 

If the Celtics strike out in trying to sign Durant and/or Batum, would it be a terrible idea if they focused their attention on bringing back Evan Turner? It’s no secret that Stevens values what Turner brings to his team — hustle on both ends of the court, coupled with a great locker room presence. In two seasons, his effort, mid-range scoring and underrated defense has turned him into a fan favorite in Boston, where he transformed into one of the league’s best sixth men last season. Sure, he’s not an excellent 3-point shooter, but Turner proved to be a secondary playmaker, and after July 1 he will be pursued as a Plan B option for a few NBA teams looking for help at the wing position or in the backcourt. Turner already has expressed how much he adores the Celtics, but with this new NBA salary cap, it may take at least $10 million to keep him around. In this new era, that’s money well spent.

IAN MAHINMI
2015-16: 9.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

He’s the least-flashiest name on this list, but Mahinmi provides plenty of upside for a 29-year-old defensive big man who is coming off the best season of his career. In his first starting role, he averaged 9.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and a block a night for the Pacers — so he’s not a double-double guy, per say, but his contribution up front helped the Pacers lead the league in fewest points allowed last season. He’s one of the best affordable big men available, and with centers like Hassan Whiteside and Bismack Biyombo on the verge of signing max deals — Mahinmi is the Celtics’ biggest bang-for-your-buck center available.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

If you’re a Celtics fan, your attention should be on what unfolds in the Hamptons Saturday.

It is in this Long Island vacation spot that, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Celts will be meeting with free agent Kevin Durant in attempt to convince the forward that Boston is the place to be for the 2016-17 season.