The Celtics inked a pair of their second-round picks, signing 45th overall pick Demetrius Jackson to a four-year, $5.5 million deal while signing 51st overall pick Ben Bentil to a three-year deal, according to the Boston Globe.

Mar 16, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Providence Friars forward Ben Bentil (0) shoots the ball during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at PNC Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics reportedly have signed Ben Bentil. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics inked a pair of their second-round picks, signing 45th overall pick Demetrius Jackson to a four-year, $5.5 million deal while signing 51st overall pick Ben Bentil to a three-year deal, according to the Boston Globe.

A 6-foot-1 guard out of Notre Dame, Jackson did not turn many heads in the summer league, averaging 5.3 points, 1.3 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 16.6 minutes per game over eight appearances.

The deal seems nothing more than a rational protection of assets, with a number of Celtics draftees from recent years playing overseas — including Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele, both of whom were taken in the first round of the 2016 draft.

Jackson averaged 36 minutes per game in 2015-16 with the Fighting Irish, scoring 15.8 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. He also averaged 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.5 boards per game. 

He was projected by DraftExpress to go 24th overall, but ultimately fell much later in the draft.

Don’t be surprised if Jackson ends up in Maine to start the season in the D-League with the Celtics already carrying quite a bit of young depth at the guard position with John Holland, James Young and R.J. Hunter, all of whom are still working to earn their spot on the roster.

The 6-foot-9 power forward Bentil is also a likely candidate to start the season in the D-League seeing as the C’s now have 18 players on the roster with a maximum allowance of 15 on an active roster.

Bentil was taken following a standout sophomore year at Providence College, where he averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. While with the Celtics during the summer league, he averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 boards per game. Though the financial figures of the deal are unknown currently, the first year of his deal is reportedly guaranteed.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Apr 8, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Zeller will be rising to the occasion again for the Celtics after signing a two-year deal. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

These are very fluid times at the bottom of the Celtics roster. 

The news Saturday that the Celtics have reached agreement in principle on free agent deals with Tyler Zeller (their own through restricted free agency) and Gerald Green (1 year, $1.5 million) brings the Celtics roster to 17 players for the upcoming season. 

In the NFL, when a significant free agent is signed in the offseason, it is presumed that free agent will be with the team come training camp. With the Celtics, that is not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination, especially when that imagination belongs to Danny Ainge. 

Several sources around the league have indicated that Ainge is far from done with his offseason maneuverings and would like to reshape the roster once more before the team heads to camp in late September.

The Celtics were able to get a max deal done (4 years, $113 million) with Al Horford , who comes to Boston in the prime of his career at the age of 27.  

Even with Tom Brady on their side, they just missed out on Kevin Durant. 

They drafted a confident swingman in Jaylen Brown, who blossomed late in Summer League and started to show the glimpses of brilliance that gave Ainge and his staff reason to take him third overall. 

Horford and Brown are definitely new pieces that will give Brad Stevens more to work with in 2016-17. Zeller and Green may or may not play a big role. 

If you include the guaranteed contract of Brown and pending deals with Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson, the Celtics will actually be at 18 players. 

Here’s how the roster and cap breaks down as of now: 

PLAYER 
POS.
AGE
EXP.
CONTRACT TERMS
AVG. SALARY
GUARANTEED
EXPIRES
Al Horford C 30 9 4 yr, $113,326,228 $28,331,557 $113,326,228 2020
Jae Crowder SF 26 4 5 yr, $35,000,000 $7,000,000 $35,000,000 2020
Avery Bradley SG 25 6 4 yr, $32,000,000 $8,000,000 $32,000,000 2018
Isaiah Thomas PG 27 5 4 yr, $27,000,002 $6,750,001 $27,000,002 2018
Amir Johnson PF 29 11 2 yr, $24,000,000 $12,000,000 $24,000,000 2017
Tyler Zeller C 26 4 2 yr, $16,000,000 $8,000,000 $8,000,000 2018
Marcus Smart PG 22 2 3 yr, $10,293,240 $3,431,080 $10,293,240 2018
Jonas Jerebko PF 29 6 2 yr, $10,000,000 $5,000,000 $10,000,000 2017
Kelly Olynyk C 25 3 4 yr, $9,321,294 $2,330,324 $9,321,294 2017
James Young SG 20 2 3 yr, $5,249,520 $1,749,840 $5,249,520 2018
Terry Rozier PG 22 1 2 yr, $3,730,800 $1,865,400 $3,730,800 2019
Jordan Mickey PF 22 1 3 yr, $3,670,959 $1,223,653 $2,394,613 2019
R.J. Hunter SG 22 1 2 yr, $2,348,880 $1,174,440 $2,348,880 2019
Gerald Green SG 30 9 1 yr, $1,410,598 $1,410,598 $1,410,598 2017
John Holland SF 27 1 2 yr, $883,902 $441,951 $9,266 2017

Source: Spotrac.com

These do not include the contracts of rookies Jaylen Brown ($4.7 million), Demetrius Jackson ($543K) or Ben Bentil ($543K), putting the Celtics at roughly $93.6 million for next season and right at the salary cap of $94.1 million. 

Then comes the curious case of Abdel Nader. 

He was the 58th overall pick who raised eyebrows at Summer League in Utah and Las Vegas. 

The Celtics are considering several options for the rookie out of Iowa State. Most likely, he will be playing for the D-League’s Maine Red Claws. But he could also continue his impressive play and work ethic in camp and force the Celtics’ hand and make a place for himself on the roster. 

First-round picks Guerschon Yabusele (Shanghai) and Ante Zizic (Croatia) will play overseas next season.

Here is what the Celtics have on the roster as of now: 

Guards (7): Thomas, Bradley, Smart, Hunter, Rozier, Green, Jackson, Young

Forwards (9): Johnson, Crowder, Mickey, Holland, Nader, Brown, Bentil, Jerebko, Olynyk

Centers (2): Horford, Zeller

Those 18 players need to be trimmed to 15 by the start of the season. 

No Garden Party in 2017: According to the Boston Globe, the Celtics will not be hosting the All-Star Game in 2017.

Boston was mentioned as a possibility when the NBA decided Thursday to move the event out of Charlotte, North Carolina. [See statement below]

A spokeswoman for the TD Garden told the Globe Friday that the Garden would be unable to host the game next February because of a scheduling conflict.

The hang-up? “Disney on Ice” is booked for that weekend.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo sent a tweet Thursday urging the NBA to bring the game to Massachusetts, where lawmakers recently approved a transgender rights law.

The league pulled the game out of Charlotte because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

Here was the full text from the NBA: 

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.

 Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change.  We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league.  These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.

Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community – current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans.  While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.

 We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league.  It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons – including members of the LGBT community – feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.

 We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.

 The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics are trying to make the best of what’s left of the free agent market.

May 7, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Gerald Green (14) reacts after scoring against Toronto Raptors during the third quarter in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald Green has agreed on a one-year deal to return to Boston. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics are trying to make the best of what’s left of the free agent market.

League sources confirmed Saturday to WEEI.com that the team will re-sign 26-year-old center Tyler Zeller for two years and $16 million, with the second year consisting of a team option. The news was first reported by the Boston Herald and later by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. 

The Celtics are following through on their intentions after extending a $3.7 million qualifying offer in June to Zeller, who like Jared Sullinger was a restricted free agent. 

Sullinger left for bigger money in Toronto. 

Zeller, the 17th overall pick of the Mavericks (traded to Cleveland) in the 2012 draft, appeared in 60 games for the Celtics this season, just a season after starting 59. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3 rebounds over 11.8 minutes per game last season.

The Celtics are also going back to the future and signing 30-year-old Gerald Green. A league source confirms that Green and the team have agreed on a one-year deal for the league veteran minimum of $1.5 million, as reported by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. 

 

Green was the No. 18 overall pick of the Celtics in the 2005 NBA draft. He played his first two seasons with Boston before being dealt to the Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007.

Green averaged 8.9 points per game in 69 games for the Heat last season, including 14 games as a starter.

Green, entering his 10th season, was a productive sixth man for the Heat in the first half of the season but mysteriously fell off and played little down the stretch and in the playoffs against Charlotte and Toronto. Green indicated publicly he had hoped to return to Miami. Green is a career 36.1 percent shooter from 3-point range. During the 2013-14 season with the Suns, Green shot a remarkable 40 percent on a career-high 510 attempts.

Per a league a source, the signings of Zeller and Green appear to be a “fall-back” position for the Celtics, should they want to enter the season with the roster they have constructed. There is still the possibility that these pieces, along with others could be used in trades down the road, like for Jahlil Okafor of Philadelphia. 

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Jae Crowder isn’t happy with Kevin Durant. And he’s not pulling any punches talking about it.

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder isn’t happy with Kevin Durant. And he’s not pulling any punches talking about it.

Speaking to Tom Westerholm of MassLive prior to his 60 Days of Summer appearance at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts the forward was remarkably candid in discussing how he feels after the Celtics were snubbed.

“We were the only team in the NBA to beat both (Cleveland and Golden State) on their home court — the only team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics,” Crowder said. “We told him that. We played him clips from both games and told him basically the scouting report of how we guarded Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) — our entire game plan, basically. That’s what made me mad. We (expletive) told him everything we do to beat these guys, and we beat them, and he went and joined them. I mean, that’s part of the process, but I did not think he would go to those two teams … I felt like afterward, I was talking to Isaiah, like maybe after you sit back, you shouldn’t have told him everything, but who the (expletive) thought he was going to Golden State, realistically? It was like a slap in the face for us, basically.”

Durant made his dramatic announcement via The Players’ Tribune on July 4, stating he would be joining the squad that had denied him a chance to take the Thunder back to the NBA Finals mere weeks ago.

The Celtics pulled out everything they had to try and swing the most prized free-agent their way. They brought some of their impact players like Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk to their meeting in the Hamptons. They also brought Tom Brady — Durant’s favorite athlete. Just prior to the decision, they inked big man Al Horford, who Durant had long shown interest in playing alongside.

“I came home after the meeting and told them, like, if he leaves, he’s coming to us,” Crowder said. “But I didn’t think he was leaving.”

The thought of Durant staying in Oklahoma City seems to be the popular alternative in the basketball world, given it would provide the opportunity for him to try and win that oft-close, but not close enough title him and Russell Westbrook (who has one year left on his contract) had been longing for. 

Instead, he went to the nemesis, an increasingly prevalent “if you can’t beat them, join them” trend and made the Warriors certainly more talented, but loathed a lot more as well.

“That team is for sure the villain of the league,” Crowder said. “Every other NBA guy, friends of mine, are really disgusted from how the league is turning on that standpoint. Everybody is joining together, everybody wants to go to Golden State or Cleveland.”

The NBA schedule has yet to be released for the 2016-17 season, but Crowder has already made note of a few games that will be circled on the calendar.

“I’m looking for sure to beat Golden State the most, probably, but at the end of the day, our task is the Eastern Conference,” he said. “We have to see Cleveland. That’s where my focus is, that’s what drives me. We have to beat those guys to advance.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Forward Guerschon Yabusele, who was taken by Boston with the 16th overall pick in last month’s NBA draft, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a report from The Boston Globe.

Forward Guerschon Yabusele, who was taken by Boston with the 16th overall pick in last month’s NBA draft, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a report from The Boston Globe.

A 6-foot-8 forward, the 20-year-old Yabusele averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year for Rouen Métropole Basket in the French A division.

For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.

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