If nothing else, the Celtics appear to have the league’s most likable rookie in Marcus Smart. (Unless, of course, you’re a Texas Tech fan.) He conducted a scavenger hunt for SportsNation during the NBA’s Rookie Photo Shoot, and the results are fairly hilarious. Let’s take a moment to appreciate a few of the highlights.

  • The pantsing of Oklahoma State teammate Markel Brown wasn’t bad, although that’s old hat to Celtics fans, since Ron Artest once pantsed Paul Pierce during a game.
  • I just like the idea of eating snacks with Shabazz Napier. That should be its own show.
  • Smart held his own in that arm wrestling contest with Mitch McGary for a bit.
  • The forehead alley-oop to James Young proves Smart is already learning from Rajon Rondo.
  • If I’m breaking down the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles powwow, Smart is Leonardo, since he’s leading this entire operation, Adreian Payne is Donatello (does machines), Gary Harris is Raphael (cool but crude) and Cleanthony Early is Michaelangelo (party dude). This isn’t up for debate.
Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

According to multiple reports out of Valencia, Spain, Celtics center Vitor F

Celtics center Vitor Faverani has reportedly been arrested for DUI. (AP)

Celtics center Vitor Faverani has reportedly been arrested for DUI in Valencia, Spain. (AP)

According to multiple reports out of Valencia, Spain, Celtics center Vitor Faverani has been arrested for driving under the influence (h/t CelticsBlog).

Faverani allegedly ran a red light and crashed his BMW hatchback into a bus. Nobody was injured.

According to police reports obtained by the media,  breathalyzer tests revealed as much as 0.86 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood in Faverani’s system. That translates into a blood alcohol content of 0.18 — or three times Spain’s legal limit of 0.06.

Under Spanish law, Faverani faces a fine, community service and/or 3-6 months of imprisonment in addition to losing his license for 1-4 years.

The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Brazilian played in Valencia from 2011-13 before signing a three-year, $6.2 million contract with the Celtics last summer. His $2.2 million salary in 2015-16 is not guaranteed. Faverani averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13.2 minutes over 37 games before undergoing surgery on a torn left meniscus in March. He’s been in Valencia rehabbing his knee this summer.

The Celtics did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Updates to follow.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach
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New Celtics Marcus Smart and James Young participated in the NBA’s rookie photo shoot over the weekend and neither of them collapsed into a folding chair a la Fab Melo, so there’s hope for them yet.

Once you’ve digested the photos above courtesy of the league’s various social media channels, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from Smart and Young’s contributions to the rookie class AMA on Reddit.

  • When asked who they believe will be Rookie of the Year , Smart said, “Me,” and Young added, “It’s hard to say since we haven’t played any games. But I would like to say myself.” Unfortunately, both can’t be right.
  • What will Young have to give up to succeed in the NBA? “Eating cheeseburgers daily.” His favorite food, of course, is a “bacon cheeseburger.” Somewhere, a single tear falls on Mike Sweetney’s empty burger wrapper.
  • “Mahcus Smaht” is pretty much the first thing Marcus Smart heard upon arriving in Boston.
  • Smart and Young believe their NBA 2K ratings will be 78 and 73, respectively. For the record, Goran Dragic and Klay Thompson were respectively rated 78 and 73 in NBA 2K14. Says Smart, “If I’m a 60 or below I’m going to be upset. Adds Young, “I’d be in a down mood if I were something like a 69. Ha.”
  • Smart’s favorite class: “Sociology.” In related news, his favorite part of Boston: “the fans.” Smart, indeed.
  • Young previously said he models his game after James Harden. Apparently, the Rockets guard is also who he’s most looking forward to facing. The non-Celtics player Young would most like to see on his team, though: “Kevin Durant. I play with him all the time in 2K.” Make it happen, Danny Ainge.
  • Smart says five teams will regret passing on him because of his “defense and playmaking ability.”
  • How will Rajon Rondo‘s presence affect Smart’s development? “It’s going to help me tremendously. He’s been playing in the NBA for a long time and knows what it takes to win a championship. I respect his strong defense and leadership. He has a commanding presence that you have to respect.” Young and smart is right.

In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Smart reiterated his excitement about developing under Rondo, calling him “a premier point guard.” Smart also said he didn’t get comfortable in summer league until the penultimate game. In his final two summer league games, he shot 34.4 percent from the field. Don’t get too comfortable, apparently.

Speaking of comfort, the photo shoot marked the first time Smart donned an official Celtics jersey. It felt good.

“You’re not used to hearing Boston Celtics in the lottery, but it worked out perfect for me,” Smart told SiriusXM NBA Radio. “I’m able to go to a franchise that is at the top when you speak about basketball — 17 banners , the most retired jerseys — and it’s an honor to put on this Boston Celtics uniform.”

Enough about cheeseburgers. Let’s watch Smart and Young dunk and dance.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach
How closely is Rajon Rondo watching Tony Parker's contract negotiating skills? (AP)

How closely is Rajon Rondo watching Tony Parker‘s contract negotiating skills? (AP)

Tony Parker inked a three-year contract extension with the Spurs for an estimated $43.3 million, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but does it have any bearing on Rajon Rondo‘s current status with the Celtics?

In roughly the same salary situation — Parker will make $12.5 million to Rondo’s $12.9 million this season — the former chose the max extension available to him right now, a presumed 7.5 percent annual increase averaging $14.3 million from 2016-18.

Rondo can accept a similar deal now or wait until next summer, when he could max out at an estimated $20.9 million annually from 2015-20. It’s easy to see why Rondo has stated his intention to fulfill the final year of his deal and become a free agent in 2015.

Parker, 32, is four years older than Rondo and will have already made $107.5 million when his extension kicks in next year. He’s also quite comfortable in San Antonio, where he has won four NBA titles and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has created an atmosphere that keeps stars coming back for below market value.

Of course, Rondo also inked a team-friendly deal when the Celtics were winning, signing a five-year extension worth $55 million in 2009, but he doesn’t quite have that same motivation to stay in Boston now.

Even if he won’t consider an extension now, one reason Rondo should at least think about it is his ability to play his way into another big payday at age 32 — as the Spurs point guard just did. In 2018, Rondo would be eligible to receive as much as a third of the salary cap two years after the new TV deal sends the league’s figure soaring. If he signs a four- or five-year deal next summer, he’ll be pushing 34 after the deal and more likely facing a pay cut.

There’s also an argument that Rondo won’t fetch a max contract next summer. Only Chris Paul ($20.1 million), Deron Williams ($19.8M) and Derrick Rose ($18.9M) will make more this season than the $18.2 million Rondo is expected to seek in 2015-16. If his agent believes he won’t fetch more than $15 million annually on the open market, Rondo might be wise to accept a Parker-esque extension now. Unless, of course, he plans to obliterate the league in his first full season since ACL surgery and vault himself back into conversations that include Paul and Rose.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach
Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless, who spend the second half of last season with the Celtics, signed as a free agent with the Bucks, the team announced Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 72 games with the Grizzlies and Celtics. He had some memorable games in Boston, recording a season-high 29 points in a game against the Hawks on Feb. 26 and dishing out a season-high nine assists vs. the Spurs on Feb. 12.

In Milwaukee, Bayless will play for Jason Kidd, who left the Nets after one season to become coach of the Bucks.

“The thing that was most intriguing was Kidd,” Bayless told reporters Thursday at the Bucks’ training facility. “He can help me in a variety of different ways. There aren’t a lot of guys like him that come around.”

Bayless, 25, was the 11th pick in the 2008 draft by the Pacers, who traded him to the Trail Blazers before he played a game. He has played with Portland, New Orleans, Toronto, Memphis in Boston in his six-year career, averaging 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and trade target Kevin Love arguably comprise the two top free agents on the NBA market next summer. While the possibility of Love coming to Boston has faded, the C’s front office continues to pursue a second star to pair with Rondo.

A look at the remaining talent in the 2015 free agent class may offer a clue about who Celtics president Danny Ainge & Co. consider a potential Garfunkel to Rondo’s Simon. The C’s have the salary cap space to target anyone on the list, and stars signed beyond the coming year are rarely traded during the season.

Let’s start by crossing off the list LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng — all of whom have player options for 2015-16 and never looked Boston’s way this summer. Now, let’s sort the cream of the crop into four tiers.

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge


LaMarcus Aldridge: Possibly the best player available in 2015, the 29-year-old big already vowed to sign a five-year, $108 million max extension with the Trail Blazers next summer. Given the team’s improvement this past season, there’s no reason for him to leave Portland.

Brook Lopez (player option): After playing all 82 games in each of his first three NBA seasons, Lopez missed a combined 134 over the last three years, twice breaking the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. If he returns to form as the 19-7-4 center who made his first All-Star appearance in 2013, the 26-year-old may also command max dollars on the open market. Still, the Nets have deep pockets and would be first in line to retain his services.

Marc Gasol: Once the other brother in the 2008 trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers, Marc submitted his first All-Star season in 2012 and a Defensive Player of the Year campaign a year later before a knee injury kept him from 23 games this past season. If the Grizzlies take another step back this year, he could be ripe for the picking.

Roy Hibbert (player option): Slated to make $14.3 million this season, the 7-foot-2 center regressed over the past year, submitting the worst player efficiency rating of his career and a second straight sub-50.0 true shooting percentage in 2013-14. Still, his relationship with fellow Georgetown product Jeff Green could be a recruiting tool.

Paul Millsap: The Celtics aren’t necessarily in the market for another undersized big, but they sure could use Millsap’s effort on the block. Since 2010, the 6-foot-8 power forward has produced averages of 16.6 points, 8.0 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.5 assists and one block, missing only a handful of games each season.

Tony Parker: We can argue Parker vs. Rondo all day long, but a player of Parker’€™s caliber rarely escapes Gregg Popovich‘€™s Jedi mind trickery. Besides, Rondo is four years younger and more easily retained in Boston.

David West (player option): Still a productive player, West snubbed the Celtics in 2011, when they still had championship aspirations, so it’€™s hard to imagine him joining the rebuilding project at 33 years old.


(Note: Every player on this tier is a restricted free agent in 2015 and therefore as difficult to pry from their teams as Gordon Hayward was from Utah. But, hey, there could always be a Chandler Parsons offer out there.)

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried: Another undersized banger on the block, Faried has steadily progressed in Denver, compiling an impressive 19.7 PER and 58.1 true shooting percentage over his first three seasons. While he too has been the subject of trade rumors this summer, the Nuggets won’t part with the 24-year-old easily.

Enes Kanter: As his playing time has increased, Kanter continues averaging a double-double per 36 minutes –€”  a positive sign, particularly for a 22-year-old center. Should he enjoy a breakout year and warrant big money, Kanter may be available, especially with Utah already committing max money to Hayward.

Brandon Knight: Twice named the national prep player of the year and an NCAA Tournament star at Kentucky, Knight hasn’t enjoyed the same success in the NBA yet, but the excitement surrounding Jabari Parker‘s arrival in Milwaukee could rekindle the fire. The Bucks will face a difficult decision if another team offers Knight a hefty raise.

Kawhi Leonard: The heir apparent to San Antonio’s ageless Big 3, Leonard submitted career highs for PER (19.4) and true shooting (60.2%) this past season. Like Parker, though, he’s a student of Pop culture and won’t soon be willing to leave the organization that developed him into an NBA Finals MVP at the ripe old age of 22.

Klay Thompson: Even if the praise for Thompson has gone overboard on occasion , he’s still an impressive 24-year-old shooting guard shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range for his career. But if the Warriors aren’t willing to part with him in a deal for Love, as has been suggested, surely they won’t be letting him walk next summer.

Tristan Thompson: Playing all 82 games each of the past two seasons, Thompson has averaged 13.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, and his production should only improve with the arrival of LeBron James in Cleveland. However, if the Cavs land another power forward whose name rhymes with Dove, he could be available.

Nikola Vucevic: A 23-year-old center, Vucevic has produced 13.6 points and 11.5 boards per game the past two years despite ankle and Achilles injuries that hobbled him during his third season in Orlando. The Magic have a boatload of cap space next summer, so don’t expect the 7-foot Montenegrin to change uniforms anytime soon.


Arron Afflalo

Arron Afflalo

Arron Afflalo (player option): An argument could be made Afflalo deserved an All-Star bid last season, when he averaged 18.2 points (57.4 TS%), 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in Orlando, but the Magic seemed oddly willing to deal him to Denver for Evan Fournier and Roy Devyn Marble on draft day. Should Afflalo submit another All-Star worthy campaign out West, he could be looking for a big payday come 2015.

Monta Ellis (player option): Still only 28 years old, Ellis would certainly give the Celtics some much needed scoring punch, even if he hasn’t always be efficient. Over the past eight seasons, the lightning quick shooting guard has averaged 20.5 points on 52.8 true shooting with a 17.0 PER ‘€” all respectable numbers, particularly at his current salary of $8 million. Should he opt out next summer, he’d obviously be looking for a raise.

Goran Dragic (player option): The league’s Most Improved Player and a Third Team All-NBA selection this past season, Dragic’s 21.4 PER and 60.4 true shooting far exceed his $7.5 million salary for the Suns. Another season at that level would make Dragic one of the most sought after free agents in next year’s class.

Rudy Gay: The 27-year-old UConn product is still a 20-point scorer; he’s just an overpaid one ($17.9 million in 2014-15), given his porous defense. Twice traded since January 2013, Gay could be had in a deal again. As a free agent next summer, he’ll take a pay cut, and his friendship with Rondo could lure him to Boston.

Al Jefferson (player option): Big Al has always had an affection for Boston, even after he was dealt to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. Now in Charlotte via Utah, the 29-year-old Jefferson is underpaid at $13.5 million based upon his production this past season (21.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 bpg, 53.2 TS%, 22.7 PER). Jefferson’s improved defense anchored a surprising run to the playoffs by one of the league’s best units on that side of the ball, and believe it or not Charlotte might be a better situation for him than Boston moving forward.

DeAndre Jordan: While the declaration that Jordan could win Defensive Player of the Year seemed like just another absurd preseason promise from Doc Rivers, the 26-year-old center finished third in the voting while leading the league in both rebounding (13.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (67.6). Ainge could exact some payback by swiping Jordan next summer, but Donald Sterling‘s replacement will have pockets deep enough to keep him in L.A.

Ricky Rubio (restricted): If the C’s can’t land Love and lose Rondo, then perhaps they can still score a talented Timberwolf. Coming off an ACL injury, Rubio played all 82 games and averaged a career-high 8.6 assists while submitting staunch defense. While his sub-50 true shooting remains a concern, he’s still only 23 years old.


Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler (restricted): Another promising prospect linked to Love in trade talks, the 24-year-old needs polish offensively, but he’s already a Second Team All-Defensive wing. The Bulls are looking to bolster their roster, perhaps making Butler expendable, and Boston could benefit from the pursuit in a three-team deal or in free agency.

Tobias Harris (restricted): Albeit on another terrible team, Harris has proven rather productive, averaging 15 and seven as Orlando’s 22-year-old starting stretch 4. With Vucevic also a restricted free agent next summer, another step forward from Harris could put the small market Magic in a bind.

Wesley Matthews: A solid defender who shot nearly 40 percent on 6.2 3-point attempts per game, Matthews started for a team that won 54 games in the Western Conference last season. His 6-foot-5 frame makes him a more natural fit at shooting guard than Avery Bradley, but he may not be enough of an upgrade.

Iman Shumpert (retricted): The Knicks have seemingly shopped Shumpert to anyone willing to listen, which should tell us all we need to know about his plummeting value. His defensive reputation has declined since his ACL surgery, and his shooting has similarly fallen back to earth after shooting 40 percent from 3 in 2012-13.

Kemba Walker (restricted): Another poor shooting point guard, Walker still averaged 18 points, six assists and four rebounds for a playoff team, even if his PER (16.8) and true shooting (49.9%) suffered since 2012-13. Like Jefferson, his defense improved under coach Steve Clifford and he may be better suited staying in Charlotte.

Thaddeus Young (early termination option): Signed for $8.6 million this season, Young submitted another impressive season in Philadelphia (17.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.1 spg, 51.2 TS%, 16.6 PER). Yet, the 26-year-old found himself the subject of trade rumors once again, a sign he may be seeking a hefty raise come free agency.

Even if the Celtics had the pick of this litter, it’s hard to imagine them contending for a title in 2014-15. As much fun as it might be to imagine Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol all surrounding Rondo in the future, the likelihood of any of the above mentioned players landing in Boston in 2015 is roughly the same as the C’s signing LeBron and Carmelo Anthony this summer. Maybe the odds are a little better, considering their salary cap structure, but their history of attracting star players on the open market is not kind.

Still, don’t rule out the arrival of players on this list altogether. Perhaps Memphis falls off the NBA map and the Grizzlies start shopping Gasol or Tristan Thompson becomes available to a third team willing to facilitate a Love deal. These are the conversations Ainge must engage in now that Love isn’t walking through that door.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

It’s been a strange summer for Rajon Rondo.

Trade rumors have surrounded Rondo for years, but for maybe the first time in his career the Celtics captain has said only the right things. Rondo claims to not only be happy in Boston but also to have complete trust in general manager Danny Ainge to put the Celtics back in contention.

In a day and age when stars seemingly text each other to join the next super team, shouldn’t we embrace a star who wants to remain in Boston?

It would be nice if we could. Unfortunately, the Celtics find themselves in no position to do so. Between today and the 2015 NBA trade deadline, Rondo must go, and here’s why.

It appears we can wave farewell to any hopes of Kevin Love landing in Boston. According to numerous reports, the Cavaliers are not only the frontrunners for Love, but a deal that would send him to Cleveland is all but done. If that isn’t convincing enough for you, our own Ben Rohrbach has thrown in the towel himself, declaring Love will never be traded to the Celtics.

It comes down to the fact that no star player is going to come to Boston. No star wants to sign in Boston and there are none on the trading block to make come to Boston. Valiant effort, Danny, but you’re out of luck.

Ainge is stockpiling assets, and doing a phenomenal job of it. Most have assumed the idea is that these assets will be traded for talent (ideally to pair next to Rondo). They may have to come to the realization that the assets will be used to select and develop talent.

Which leaves them with Rondo, and, frankly, he just doesn’t fit with what they are left with.

Everyone has their own theory as to how to handle Rondo’s situation. There are two questions worth asking yourself to come to an answer. Does Rondo fit with the current core? Are you prepared to let Rondo walk?

The answer to both questions is no.

Rondo is not the ideal player to have on the Celtics during an effort to develop guys like Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart and James Young. That doesn’t mean he has to leave for nothing, though. Ainge might as well collect a return on Rondo, a return that likely would add to the young players and picks already in Boston’s possession. A return that would help build the team in the direction it’s currently trending toward — the future.

The ironic part? If Rondo is so confident that Ainge will do the right thing, then he is counting on Ainge shipping him out of town while he still can.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

In memory of Danny Ainge’s pursuit of Kevin Love, let’s have a moment of silence. The only question now is just how long this mourning period will last in Boston.

Four years after NBA experts argued whether Evan Turner or John Wall deserved the No. 1 overall selection in 2010, some of those same folks are debating Turner’s value in relation to undrafted free agent Chris Johnson.

After all, the former No. 2 pick’s agreement with the C’s likely signals the end for Johnson and fellow non-guaranteed signees Chris Babb and Keith Bogans.

Terms of the deal have not been made public, but the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reports Turner will earn a portion of the team’s mid-level exception. Upon cutting Johnson, Babb and Bogans, the Celtics would fall $5.1 million below the luxury tax, opening the 15th and final roster spot for the 25-year-old. The non-taxpayer mid-level exception for the 2014-15 season is $5.3 million.

Most likely, Turner’s deal will expire in the next two years, allowing him to improve his value before the NBA’s new TV deal sends the salary cap soaring in 2016.

The Ohio State product’s value has never been lower. He only netted Danny Granger‘s expiring contract for the 76ers in February and didn’t warrant an $8.7 million qualifying offer from the Pacers this summer. Acquired to bolster Indiana’s hopes of an NBA Finals run, Turner ultimately lost his bench role to the immortal Rasual Butler in the Eastern Conference finals. No player who earned as many minutes as Turner (2,457) had a worse PER last season (12.4), and his true shooting percentage has never eclipsed 50 percent.

Turner isn’t a complete bust. Compiling respectable career averages of 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists, he started for a Sixers squad that nearly took out the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2012. He’s averaged 14.4 points (50.6 TS%), 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 14 career games against the C’s.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens lists Ohio State coach Thad Matta among his biggest influences, and Matta molded Turner into the unanimous college player of the year. Likewise, Turner calls fellow Buckeye Jared Sullingerlike family,” so perhaps that familiarity combined with Rajon Rondo‘s playmaking could help Turner reach his potential.

If that’s the case, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have added another asset to his closet full of them. If not, the risk in signing Turner at short money for the short term is minimal. However, the signing does create even more of a logjam at the wing, where first-round draft pick James Young may be the odd man out in the D-League. Turner will have to battle both Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace for small forward minutes and both Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton for playing time at shooting guard, so a career revival is no guarantee.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach