Apparently Red Auerbach paid very close attention to the “Big Bad Bruins.”

When the Celtics chose Oklahoma State fireplug point guard Marcus Smart with the sixth pick overall Thursday night, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck thought back to something Auerbach told him when he bought the team.

Apparently Red Auerbach paid very close attention to the “Big Bad Bruins.”

When the Celtics chose Oklahoma State fireplug point guard Marcus Smart with the sixth pick overall Thursday night, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck thought back to something Auerbach told him when he bought the team.

“We like the fact that he’s an instigator,” Grousbeck said. “Back to Red, as Red told me personally right when I came in, ‘You need instigators, not retaliators.’ This kid is energetic. He’s a bull. He is a force and when I met him, he filled the doorway. He’s just got that physique and that drive and that attitude that we really like around the Celtics.”

Grousbeck said he’s been on the radar of the Celtics for some time, including three sessions in front of team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

“Our war room is very happy with the pick,” Grousbeck said. “My job is to be part of that and be supportive. Our basketball guys are very excited and have been focusing on Marcus for several weeks. [They] really like the top six or seven kids in the draft quite a bit but really thought he’s pretty exceptional in a couple of ways and really looking forward to having him in green.

“He’s been on our list for a month as we started setting up the draft workouts. He came back here twice and Danny saw him again in a third workout elsewhere. He’s seen him personally three times in the last two or three weeks. We really thinks there’s a lot of quality in the top of the draft here and think that it’s not always clear how to differentiate among the quality. I’m repeating things as opposed to giving you my own personal evaluation. That’s not my role with this team. But we think this kid really has some special attributes.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

After all the pre-draft debate over whether or not the Celtics should trade up, trade down or trade out of the No. 6 pick, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge held firm and selected Marcus Smart.

After all the pre-draft discussions about whether or not the Celtics would trade up, trade down or trade out of the No. 6 pick, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge held firm and selected Marcus Smart.

As Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck noted, the Oklahoma State point guard came to Waltham for three workouts prior to the draft. The C’s liked Smart from the start, and he told reporters in New York on Wednesday he had an inkling he might end up in Boston. Despite all the smokescreens, all signs have pointed to Smart for weeks.

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Smart has been described as a bulldog, a fierce competitor and defensive-minded. The 20-year-old averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game as a sophomore for the Cowboys. Many believe he would have been drafted No. 1 overall had he come out as a freshman in 2013.

As was the case with both of his new backcourt mates, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, the knock on Smart is outside shooting ability. He shot just 29.9 percent from beyond the arc this past season. Still, both Rondo and Bradley have demonstrated the ability to improve their jump shots at the NBA level.

More to come. For a complete scouting report, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

For all the speculation on possible trades up and down in the first round, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he’ll like stay put with his two first-round picks. Of course, he made that prediction 90 minutes before the first pick of the 2014 NBA draft.

For all the speculation on possible trades up and down in the first round, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he’ll like stay put with his two first-round picks. Of course, he made that prediction 90 minutes before the first pick of the 2014 NBA draft.

Who knows what will happen after that? The Celtics stayed put in 2007 and drafted Jeff Green at No. 5, only to package a deal to Seattle for Ray Allen.

“There’s been a lot of conversation over the last month,” Ainge said of the interest from other teams looking to move up to take Boston’s first pick at No. 6 overall. “A lot of discussions regarding trading of the picks. Trading up, trading back, trading for players. Big deals, little deals. We’re ready for some different scenarios but just like all trade deadlines, the draft really isnt a deadline, but it is a time where you’ve got to make a decision to take the pick or trade it. Probably it looks like most likely that we’ll keep it.”

Ainge, who said he has “processed” all of the medical information on Joel Embiid, said there’s been “a lot more” dialogue on picks this year compared to last year.

“Quite a few real conversations, but a lot that end in a phone call,” Ainge said. “A yes or a no. Some go a little bit deeper. Two or three phone calls. Some even deeper.”

If Embiid is available, will Ainge be tempted?

“We have processed the information. And I believe in my medical staff. And that’s all,” Ainge said.

Then Ainge was asked to characterize this group of NBA talent.

“I think early in the year, I said it’s a little bit over-hyped,” Ainge said. “I think midway through the year i thought it was still over-hyped. Part of that is maybe the player in me. Like, ‘C’mon let these kids be kids.’ None of these guys are franchise-turners and I still believe that. Everything I said I still believe.

“I’ve always believed, just like in every draft, there are going to be players that are good, guys that can start, guys that can play in rotations on championship teams. There will be a couple of them. Two or three or four maybe that can become NBA All-Stars. I wish I knew which one of those that would be. I think that when you start making comp to Lebron James and Kevin Durant to kids before they’d even played a game in college, that’s sort of unfair. And that’s sort of what they hype was that I was referring to as over-hyped.

“Let’s let them prove it before we start making comparisons. I do feel like we’re going to get a good player at six. A player that I think can be a starter in the NBA. How good they become, time will tell. Players that we’ll be excited about adding to our roster, but players I’m not expected to turn us into an immediate winner by themselves.”

Uncertainty at top?
I think last year’s draft there was some uncertaintly as to what was happening there at the top. There are other drafts, the Rondo draft with Lamarcus Aldridge, Tyrus Thomas, and Bagnarni were the top picks, there was some uncertainty there. It’s not that uncommon that there’s no certainty with who’s going one or two or three.

If you pick at No. 6 and 17, mean you’re in for a longer rebuild?
I think our initial goal when the season ended was to try to expedite a rebuilding process. I don’t think by taking No. 6 and 17 that that has ended. We’ve always been comfortable with No. 6 and 17 and knew that was the most likely scenario. But you can’t rush something that’s not there. We’ll take that first step tonight and continue to throughout the summer and see what opportunities are there. We’ll try to remain opportunistic.

Chance you end up with another pick? higher or lower?
Sure. Probably not higher. I think those have pretty much been exhausted at this point. I wouldn’t say definitely not.

Consensus around what’s there at 6?
I think we have a consensus. Over the last couple weeks, I make it my job to know everybody’s perspective on players, what they think, how they rank players. I meet with them individually, we go through film, we talk through their opinions, we meet collectively. I do believe at this point today for sure with our first pick that we have a consensus order. There’s really close calls. There’s been differences of opinions that we’ve come together on. At 17, there’s not as much of a consensus but there’s just so much uncertainty.

One guy who stands out at 6?
I think we’ve gone through every scenario. Whatever scenario comes before, we’re prepared with a consensus.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Foot and back injuries have caused Kansas center Joel Embiid — once expected to be the first overall selection in Thursday’€™s NBA draft — to slide down the boards.

Embiid’€™s fall has opened up the possibility of the Celtics getting the opportunity to draft the promising big man, something that Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted could be a possibility.

Embiid, a 7-foot center from Cameroon, averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his only season with the Jayhawks, despite only playing organized basketball since 2011.

– It appears that the rumored deal between the Celtics and Kings, which would include point guard Rajon Rondo and Sacramento’€™s eighth overall pick as the two main components, may not come to fruition.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears tweeted that the Kings seem to be content to keep their pick.

The Kings have been at the forefront of trade rumors recently, including a deal to acquire Pistons forward Josh Smith, adding him to a frontcourt that already includes DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.

– With the draft fast approaching, it seems that the 76ers are going all in in an effort to acquire the first overall pick from the Cavaliers and draft Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins.

Tom Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News tweeted that the 76ers are doing everything they can to pry the top pick from Cleveland.

Philadelphia certainly has many trading chips at its disposal, including the third and 10th overall picks and a host of promising players such as Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.

– The Celtics aren’t the only Atlantic Division team reportedly looking to make a few draft-day deals. The Raptors are trying to acquire the Grizzlies‘€™ 22nd overall pick, according to ESPN.

The framework of the deal would be Toronto sending veteran swingman John Salmons and the 37th overall pick to Memphis in exchange for Tayshaun Prince and the 22nd pick.

The move benefits the Rapotors because it would put them in position to select Syracuse guard (and Ontario native) Tyler Ennis.

By making the trade, the Grizzlies would be able to take Prince’€™s $7.7 million salary cap hit off their books for next season.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan
Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge (AP)

Well, it’€™s here. The day that will shape the Celtics‘s future, for better or worse. The 2014 NBA draft, where anything can happen happens.

With a wealth of picks, an All-Star point guard, trade-able contracts and expiring deals, Celtics president Danny Ainge is the annoying guy at a party, inserting himself into every conversation in the room.

With only hours left until Cleveland is on the clock, here are the three best possible phone conversations Ainge could have on Thursday.

1. MORTGAGE THE FARM FOR KEVIN LOVE

Danny Ainge: ‘€œHi, Flip, it’€™s Danny again.’€
Timberwolves president/coach Flip Saunders: ‘€œWhat do you want this time?’€
Danny: ‘€œAre you sure you don’€™t want our two first-round picks this year, next year’€™s Clippers’€™ pick and Kelly Olynyk for Love?’€
Flip: ‘€œI’€™m not sure how many times I can say no, but no.’€
Danny: ‘€œBut …’€
Flip: ‘€œNo.’€
Danny: ‘€œI’€™m not sure you’€™ve consider quite how awesome Kelly’€™s hair really is.’€
Flip: ‘€œNo means no.’€
Wyc Grousbeck enters Danny’€™s office.
Wyc: ‘€œFireworks, Danny, fireworks!’€
Flip: ‘€œI’€™m sorry, did I just hear Wyc say fireworks?’€
Danny: ‘€œOh, yeah, we’€™ve got this Fourth of July party in a few days. It’€™s nothing. Didn’€™t you get the invite? Anywho, what if I throw Jared Sullinger into the deal?’€
Flip: ‘€œLet me think about it for a second. Aaaaaaannnnnnndddddd no.’€
Danny: ‘€œAh, can you hold on for a second?’€
Flip: ‘€œNo …’€
Danny puts the phone down. ‘€œI’€™d Do Anything for Love’€ plays on hold.
Wyc: ‘€œWe can’€™t afford another losing season, Danny. I met with Bob Kraft, John Henry and Jeremy Jacobs for our weekly tea and crumpets yesterday, and they were all making fun of me, telling me we’€™re the fifth wheel behind the Revolution. The Revs, Danny, the Revs! When Wyc promises fireworks, Wyc delivers fireworks.’€
Danny picks up the phone.
Danny: ‘€œYou still there, Flip?’€
Flip: ‘€œSadly.’€
Danny: ‘€œHow about one of Brooklyn’s picks, too?’€
Flip: ‘€œJust so we’€™re straight: You’€™re offering four first-round picks, Sully and Kelly?’€
Danny: ‘€œWell, when you put it that way …’€
Flip: ‘€œYou’€™ve got yourself a deal.’€

2. MOVIN’ ON UP IN THE DRAFT

Danny: ‘€œHey, Griff, how’€™s it hanging?’€
Cavaliers GM David Griffin: ‘€œI’€™m sorry. Who’€™s this?’€
Danny: ‘€œIt’€™s Danny Ainge. I was on the Suns when you were an intern in Phoenix.’€
David: ‘€œOh, yeah. Floppy hair? Short shorts?’€
Danny: ‘€œThe same Danny Ainge.’€
David: ‘€œCome to think of it, are you the last guy ever to play hoops in short shorts?’€
Danny: ‘€œWhat do you mean? I’€™ve got them on right now.’€
David: ‘€œWell, that’€™s weird. Is there anything I can help you with today? I’€™m kind of busy over here, what with the No. 1 pick and LeBron James opting out and all.’€
Danny: ‘€œNow that you mention it. You know how you guys completely botched the first pick last year. I mean, Anthony Bennett? What were you thinking?’€
David: ‘€œYou do realize I’€™m still on the phone, don’€™t you?’€
Danny: ‘€œOh, right. As I was saying, you don’€™t really want to screw up the No. 1 pick two years in a row, do you? You’€™ll probably take a guy like Bogdan Bogdanovic.’€
David looks at his assistant and mouths, ‘€œHow does he know about Bogdanovic?”
David: ‘€œBogdan Bogdanovic. That’€™s a good one.
David crosses Bogdanovic off the top of his draft board.
Danny: ‘€œHow about I give you the No. 6 pick, No. 17, the Clippers’€™ pick in 2015 and take all that pressure of drafting first overall off your hands?’€
David: ‘€œWell, three is two more than one …’€
Danny: ‘€œOh, I didn’€™t know you guys were doing advanced metrics now.’€
David: ‘€œAdvanced what now?’€
Danny: ‘€œSo, do we have a deal or what?’€
David: ‘€œSure. Hey, do you think Nemanja Dangubic will still be available at No. 6?’€
Wyc enters Danny’€™s office, pantomimes fireworks blowing up and yells, ‘€œJabari!’€
David: ‘€œJabari? You guys are taking Jabari Brown at No. 1? He’€™s that junior guard from Missouri, right? I like it. We were thinking about taking him, too.’€

3. TOO-DA-LOO RAJON RONDO

Danny: ‘€œHi, Pete, it’€™s Danny.’€
Kings GM Pete D’€™Alessandro: ‘€œI was thinking about you the other day.’€
Danny: ‘€œOh, really, why’€™s that?’€
Pete: ‘€œYou know that Uruguayan soccer player who bit the Italian guy? Didn’€™t you bite somebody?’€
Danny: ‘€œTree Rollins bit me.’€
Pete: ‘€œI think it’€™s the other way around.’€
Danny: ‘€œI was there. I think I’d remember being bitten by a Tree.’€
Pete: ‘€œWell, let’€™s agree to disagree.’€
Danny: ‘€œHe bit me!’€
Pete: ‘€œSure, whatever you say, Danny. What was it you were calling about?’€
Danny: ‘€œWell, remember that Rondo deal we discussed in February?’€
Pete: ‘€œWhat Rondo deal?’€
Danny: ‘€œC’€™mon, don’€™t tell me you can’€™t remember that, either.’€
Pete: ‘€œI’€™m just messing with you. Our first-round pick and Isiaiah Thomas, right?’€
Danny: ‘€œYou’€™re forgetting a guy whose name rhymes with Sven Schmclemore.’€
Pete: ‘€œMacklemore? The singer?’€
Danny: ‘€œBen McLemore, you idiot.’€
Pete: ‘€œI don’€™t remember including him in that offer. You sure you’re OK?’€
Danny: ‘€œGood talk, then, I guess.’€
Pete: ‘€œI’€™m just kidding, Danny. Relax. The No. 8 pick, McLemore and Thomas in a sign-and-trade for Rondo? I like it. Rudy Gay could use a friend around here.’€
Rajon Rondo enters Danny’€™s office and throws a water bottle at his head.
Pete: ‘€œWhat was that?’€
Danny: ‘€œOh, nothing. Hey, I heard Rudy picked up his $19.3 million option. Nice one.’€
Pete: ‘€œThanks …’€
Danny: ‘€œI was joking. That’€™s terrible.’€
Pete: ‘€œWhat’€™s that now?’€
Danny: ‘€œNevermind. Hey, good luck out there. You’€™re doing a bang-up job.’€
Pete: ‘€œThanks?’€

Danny hangs up the phone with Saunders, D’€™Alessandro or Griffin and slides open the bottom drawer of his desk, pulling out two small glasses and a gallon of milk.

Wyc: ‘€œDon’€™t you think this calls for scotch?’€
Danny: ‘€œYou didn’€™t think I was just going to give you milk, did you?’€

Danny pulls out a bottle of Hershey’€™s syrup and fires a squeeze into each glass.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Joel Embiid‘€™s foot and back injuries have created a domino effect leading up to the draft – especially with the holder of the fourth overall pick, the Magic.

The Kansas center’€™s medical issues have caused him to slide on most mock drafts, pushing players such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum higher up in the draft order, and potentially out of Orlando’€™s reach.

As a result, the Magic could use both their fourth and 12th overall picks in an effort to trade into a top-three position in the draft.

“Everything’s really fluid at the moment,” said first-year Magic general manager Rob Hennigan. “I think there’s a possibility we could select at [No.] 4 and [No.] 12, and I think there’s a possibility that one or both of those picks could be in play. So our job … is to prioritize what we feel is the best opportunity for us, and then go ahead and try to capitalize on that.”

While the Magic have tradeable pieces in  Jameer Nelson and Nikola Vucevic, Hennigan would not give any hints on what his team plans to do Thursday night.

“I think the big thing for us is to just stay the course — continue to add to the team, continue to improve the team, and do it in a fashion that allows us to show improvement, [and] allows us to play in more meaningful games next season,” Hennigan said. “But at the same time we don’t want to skip steps. We don’t want to compromise our vision to build a competitive team for a long time.

“If there’s an opportunity out there that will allow us to speed that up – great. If not, I think onus is on us to continue to chip away and stay disciplined.”

– Three years after helping the Mavericks clinch their first championship, Tyson Chandler is heading back to Dallas.

The Knicks center, along with point guard Raymond Felton, was traded to the Mavs in exchange for guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and center Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks also receive both of Dallas’€™ picks in Thursday’€™s draft — the 34th and 51st selections (both in the second round). New York previously did not have a pick in what should be a deep draft on Thursday.

“The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues,” Knicks president Phil Jackson said. “We have added players with this move that will fit right into our system while maintaining future flexibility.”

Chandler is heading into the final year of a four-year deal that will pay the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year $14.5 million in 2014-15.

Chandler was the defensive anchor of a Mavericks team that defeated the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, earning All-Defensive second-team honors in what was his only season in Dallas.

– Houston continued its goal of clearing cap space in an effort to sign a marque free agent such as LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony Wednesday. The Rockets agreed to a deal that would send center Omer Asik and cash considerations to the Pelicans for a protected future first-round pick, according to The Associated Press.

The trade cannot be made official until July due to conditions with the NBA’€™s collective bargaining agreement and salary cap issues.

The move was a virtual no-brainer for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, as the team will save $14.8 million against the salary cap with the departure of Asik, who requested a trade last season after losing his starting spot to Dwight Howard.

The addition of Asik, one of the premier interior defensive defenders in the NBA, should give New Orleans one of the most intimidating frontcourts in the league, as the Turkish center likely will be paired with All-Star power forward Anthony Davis, who led the league with 2.82 blocks per game last season.

– Most mock drafts have tabbed Parker as going second overall to the Bucks — a move that could be a very good fit for the Chicago native.

While playing with a young core that features forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson could be an enticing scenario for Parker, it is his nearby ties to both the area that seems to make the Duke All-American a perfect fit for playing in Milwaukee.

When asked if he could see the Bucks drafting him Thursday, Parker said, “€œYeah, I think so. I think that’€™s pretty accurate.”

Milwaukee is just a 90-minute drive from Parker’€™s hometown of Chicago. His high school teammate Steve Taylor Jr. is playing in Milwaukee at Marquette, which recently hired former Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski as its coach.

“[Parker is] a very down-to-earth, level-headed person. There [are] a lot of similarities between Milwaukee and Chicago,” Wojciechowski said. “I think he would feel very comfortable.”

Another former Duke player, Chris Carrawell, is on Wojciechowski’€™s staff at Marquette, while former Blue Devils guard Tyler Thornton, who played with Parker last year, could be brought onto the Golden Eagles staff as a graduate assistant.

“All the guys that he’s been around a lot over the past year, anything that we can do to ease his transition here, we would be willing to do,” Wojciechowski said.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Does Danny Ainge have another big shot in him on draft night? (AP)Like many other kids who grew up in New England in the '80s, I rooted for Danny Ainge to come up big for the Celtics in many last-minute situations. Now, with Ainge serving as president of basketball ops for the team, I'm rooting for him to do it again at the last minute before Thursday night's NBA draft begins. 



TIM BENZ

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