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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[0:20:56] ... ethic it's something you see. Throughout the Celtics roster not even an Isiah Thomas or player like Jae Crowder is kind of that that drive to get better and it's not really something we've seen come. ...






Celtics summer league action ended Friday night, as the C’s finished out their Vegas season losing to Portland 80-75. Boston ended up with a 1-4 record in Vegas after sweeping the four-team Utah Summer League. However, this is Summer League, where players are competing for roster spots, and the wins don’t really matter.

With that said, here are the C’s players who made the best and worst cases for playing at the Garden.

 1. Terry Rozier stands out

If only to resurface the backcourt talent log jam issue, which seemed to clear after Evan Turner signed with Portland, Terry Rozier is showing a lot of promise on the dawn of his sophomore season.

Averaging 20 points per game along with 5.3 rebound and 3.5 assists, Rozier could be the Turner replacement the Celtics are looking for. He was the facilitator of Boston’s offense throughout the Summer League, showing efficiency and a solid stroke throughout July. And of course, he made a last-second shot to win the C’s the Utah Summer League title, just to add to an already impressive Summer League resume.

With Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart making the thought of cracking the point guard rotation difficult, Rozier will most likely be better suited to backing up Avery Bradley at the two. Granted, Rozier’s level of play could also mean that he would be a strong trade asset, or a solid replacement for another Celtics guard, should Boston want to sweeten their side of a major deal, such as the rumored three-team Blake Griffin trade.

2. Jaylen Brown silences draft day boos

Celtics fans were ready to welcome a superstar to Boston in exchange for the No. 3 pick in the draft on June 23, or at least bring home Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield or Marquese Chriss. Instead, they ended up with Jaylen Brown, who had much to prove in the Summer League after his selection was greeted with some boos at TD Garden and defended by Danny Ainge afterwards.

Needless to say, he passed his summer exam and was the Celtics’ strongest draft pick in the Summer League.

Earmarked by a 21-point game in the Celtics’ final Summer League contest, Brown was a consistent threat in the frontcourt and displayed his worth as a two-way wing. Second only to Rozier in points and first on the team in rebounds, Brown showed an all-around skill set mixed with pure athletic talent, and has already disproved some draft day critics with his performance.

Brown should serve as a formidable backup to Jae Crowder, should Crowder stay in Boston, and could develop his raw ability up to par this season with his starting five potential.

3. Abdel Nader and Guerschon Yabusele aren’t draft day stashes

When the Celtics made zero draft day moves, not only were fans critical of the Boston front office picking up Brown, but they were skeptical of the C’s keeping the rest of their seven picks, especially with a deep 2017 draft on the horizon. Two of them, Abdel Nader and Guerschon Yabusele, may have proven that keeping those picks gave the Celtics some ridiculous roster depth.

The French power forward from Rouen Métropole Basket was not someone who many put much faith in more than a typical Euro stash. Or as one of WEEI’s biggest fans put it…

Yabusele was anything but some French guy in the Summer League, though, as he was second on the team in rebounds and showed raw athletic potential. He may be undersized and have some work to do on defense, but he may be a great safety net next year given the uncertainty of the C’s backcourt after this season.

Nader meanwhile was an absolute surprise for the Celtics. The Iowa State guard was expected to spend a year in Maine to develop his skills, but with a solid Summer League showing, and with his skill set being versatile enough to fit well into a Brad Stevens team, he may be suiting up in green sometime this year.

Nader is a solid slasher toward the basket, and even though he will most likely end up in Maine this fall, he could be the first name called up to the Celtics if he continues to carry his play over into the D-League.

Also, fun fact: Nader would be the second Egyptian born NBA player ever if he makes the Celtics roster. He’d be the first since Alaa Abdelnaby, who played 76 games for Boston over two seasons in the early ’90s.

4. Sophomores R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey perform despite injuries in Utah

While Hunter and Mickey did not see much time in Salt Lake City and were overshadowed by other prospects, both of them showed solid scoring ability in the limited minutes they got.

Hunter was 4-of-6 on 3s against Phoenix while guarding up against Devin Booker, who clearly did not belong in the Summer League in terms of his pure talent level. That 17-point outing, along with another one on July 4 against the 76ers, showed fans signs of Hunter’s pure 3-point shot and ability to run the game if necessary.

Meanwhile, Mickey also showed his worth in the Phoenix game, scoring 18 through 7-of-13 shooting. He had another solid outing in the final game against Portland, posting a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Hunter and Mickey will most likely stick to their roles as deep rotation players, however they at least did not allow their roster stock to drop over the summer.

 5. James Young gets lost in Summer League Shuffle, while Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson fail to impress

Bottoming out the Summer League roster were returning shooting guard James Young and two second-round draft picks in Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson, all of whom underperformed.

Young showed signs of improvement from last season during Boston’s stint in Utah against the Jazz, scoring 17 in what seemed to be the start of an argument for the C’s backup shooting guard role.

However, it seemed like Young’s shooting was left in Salt Lake City, as he failed to make considerable use of his time in Las Vegas and sat out against Portland with a sore knee. With Rozier making a strong Summer League statement and Hunter making use of his limited time, Young’s roster spot could be in question if he doesn’t start the regular season strong.

Meanwhile, Bentil and Jackson were both expected to be valuable second-round picks, but wound up falling short in comparison to fellow second-rounder Nader.

Bentil dropped 11 off the bench in the Celtics’ first game against the 76ers, but from there saw a steady decrease in minutes.

Jackson also had a strong performance in Utah, with his highlight being an 11-point outing against the San Antonio Spurs, but like Bentil, wound up lost in the guard rotation. He, as well as Bentil, will have to make strong cases as Red Claws in the D-League if they want to make their way to Boston.

Blog Author: 
James Mattone

Will Russell Westbrook (0) scores a three point basket against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Will Russell Westbrook (0) land in Boston this summer? (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Is the time finally right for Danny Ainge to cash in? 

The Celtics president of basketball operations has been stacking his place at the NBA poker table with lots of blue chips. The question is whether now is the time to head to the to the casino office and get the final pieces that will help Brad Stevens and the team get back to the NBA finals. 

There have been reports this week that the Celtics are lead contenders for either Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin in a potential trade. 

But either one of those deals would almost certainly require the Celtics giving up their ownership of Brooklyn’s unprotected pick next year, which could very easily be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Not only that, a team like Oklahoma City, with the always forward-thinking general manager Sam Presti is going to likely want another top pick, either in 2017 or from the multitude of picks listed below. The Celtics also own Brooklyn’s first-rounder in 2018. The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Jason Terry trade of July 12, 2013 keeps on giving. 

If there’s any general manager with the wherewithal to pull off a major deal involving future picks and not entirely forfeit the future, it’s Ainge. Here, in full detail, is the remarkable portfolio Ainge has to work with: 

2017 first round draft pick from Brooklyn
Boston has the right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick; if Boston exercises this swap right, then Boston will convey its 2017 2nd round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished) [7/12/2013].

2017 second round draft pick from Cleveland
Cleveland’s 2017 2nd round pick to Boston [from Cleveland, 9/25/2014]

2017 second round draft pick from L.A. Clippers
L.A. Clippers’ 2017 2nd round pick to Boston [from L.A. Clippers via Phoenix, 1/15/2015]

2017 second round draft pick from Minnesota
Minnesota’s 2017 2nd round pick to Boston (via Phoenix) [Minnesota-New Orleans-Phoenix, 7/27/2012; Boston-Phoenix, 1/9/2015]

2018 first round draft pick from Brooklyn
Brooklyn’s 2018 1st round pick to Boston [from Brooklyn, 7/12/2013]

2019 first round draft pick from L.A. Clippers
If at least two years after the L.A. Clippers conveyed a 1st round pick to Toronto, then the L.A. Clippers will convey their 1st round pick to Boston (via Memphis) protected for selections 1-14 in 2019 and 1-14 in 2020; if the L.A. Clippers have not conveyed a 1st round pick to Boston by 2020, then the L.A. Clippers will instead convey their 2022 2nd round pick to Boston [L.A. Clippers-Memphis, 2/18/2016; Boston-Memphis, 6/23/2016]

2019 first round draft pick from Memphis
Memphis’ 1st round pick to Boston protected for selections 1-8 in 2019 (conveyable if Memphis conveys a 1st round pick to Denver in 2017) and 1-6 in 2020 (conveyable if Memphis has conveyed a 1st round pick to Denver by 2018) and unprotected in 2021 [Boston-Memphis-New Orleans, 1/12/2015]

2019 second round draft pick from Detroit
Detroit’s 2019 2nd round pick to Boston (via Oklahoma City) [Detroit-Oklahoma City-Utah, 2/19/2015; Boston-Oklahoma City, 7/14/2015]

2020 second round draft pick from Miami
Miami’s 2020 2nd round pick to Boston [Boston-Miami, 7/27/2015]

Boston’s only future obligations are as follows: 

2017 second round draft pick to Brooklyn
If Boston exercises its right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick, then Boston will convey its 2017 2nd round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished) [7/12/2013].

2018 second round draft pick to Oklahoma City
Boston’s 2018 2nd round pick to Oklahoma City protected for selections 31-55 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Oklahoma City will be extinguished) [Boston-Oklahoma City, 7/14/2015]

2019 second round draft pick to Memphis
Boston’s 2019 2nd round pick to Memphis (via Miami) protected for selections 31-55 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Memphis will be extinguished) [Boston-Miami, 7/27/2015; Charlotte-Memphis-Miami, 2/16/2016]

Why wouldn’t Ainge pull the trigger with this much in the bank? 

Simple. You don’t spend your retirement savings on a leased Lamborghini for one year. As everyone knows by now, Russell Westbrook is due a gigantic payday next summer, which will coincide with the rise of the cap from $94.1 million this season to at least $108 million for 2017-18. 

Westbrook is coming off a brilliant season in which he nearly averaged a triple-double (23.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 7.8 rebounds). Presti is no fool. He is trying to maximize his take now and build on the fly. He did it in 2007 when he traded Ray Allen for Jeff Green and drafted Kevin Durant. He’s also not likely going to deal one of the five most valuable players in the league without getting something big back in return. The Celtics are the team best positioned to sweeten the pot. The wild card is whether Ainge thinks that one year with Westbrook and gambling on signing him long term is worth one or even two No. 1 picks. 

A No. 1 overall pick in a loaded draft like the one projected for ’17 comes along once in a lifetime for a team poised to win a title. Ainge is asking himself and his staff right now whether that No. 1 is worth the gamble that Westbrook will sign a max deal in Boston. Right now, the odds for a trade are no better than 50-50, and much less that Westbrook would concede heading to free agency next summer. That’s the reality of the situation. 

The question is a little clearer with regard to Griffin. 

He has two years left (including an early termination clause for 17-18) on his 5-year, $94.5 million deal. He is still considered one of the three best pure scoring forwards in the league and would be a big upgrade alongside Al Horford, who signed his four-year, $114 million deal on July 8. 

The Griffin trade possibility has been shunned by coach and general manager Doc Rivers each and every time it’s been brought up in the last eight months. The difference between the Clippers and Thunder is that Rivers is more desperate to win now with 31-year-old Chris Paul. With that in mind, he’s likely to demand a veteran player like a Rudy Gay from the Kings. He’d likely also want something from the Celtics in terms of a player who can help him immediately, a player like Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder or Isaiah Thomas.  The Kings are really the ones who would want Boston’s No. 1 next year and perhaps another No. 1 in 2018 to consummate the deal. 

The big issue with Griffin has been his health in the last two seasons, something confirmed by the Herald’s Steve Bulpett in a discussion with a Western Conference executive. 

Bulpett also noted how close the Celtics came to acquiring Jimmy Butler on draft night and why Jahlil Okafor is likely the best hope for Ainge to pull off a significant deal. 

With Griffin and Horford in the front court and some combination of Bradley, Thomas or Smart in the backcourt, the Celtics would be perfectly positioned. And if Ainge is able to acquire Griffin, it would seem to make Crowder the most logical piece that is heading out. 

The speculation on Kevin Love continues but is not nearly as intense after the Cavaliers won the title. 

As one league source indicated this week, some of Celtics biggest deals have always been with “friends of the program” and it should not be a surprise if they pull any big deal off. In the case of Oklahoma City, the Celtics have the history from the 2007 draft. Doc Rivers’ tie to the Celtics goes without saying. 

Summer fun League: There was lots to chew on following the Celtics’ Summer League finale Friday night in Las Vegas. The Celtics won just one of five games in Las Vegas after sweeping all three in Utah. The Celtics finished up Friday with an 80-75 loss to the Trail Blazers in Las Vegas but there was much more to consider than just the final scores. 

Terry Rozier stepped up and made a case to Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens that he’s worthy of consideration in the bench rotation next year. He led all Celtics in scoring in his six games, averaging 20 points in 29 minutes per game. His shooting touch, something Brad Stevens said would eventually shine because of his work ethic in practice, was on full display. 

He was 36-of-68 from the field (52.9 percent). He made 7-of-16 from 3-point range (43.8 percent). 

“He’s been our best player from the first day of training camp this summer,” Ainge told the ESPN broadcast team during Wednesday’s game against Cleveland. “He’s been terrific for us. He was a good player last year in training camp, just didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of our depth at guard. I think he’s winning a spot.”

[Click here for the complete statistical rundown of every Celtics player in the 2016 Summer League.] 

What was significant about Rozier’s continued progress in the Summer League was that it was a continuation of what he showed in the playoffs. In his rookie year, Stevens had no hesitation putting Rozier into big moments, like when Isaiah Thomas was ice cold in the first half against Golden State on April 1. And when Avery Bradley went down with a hamstring injury in Game 1 against the Hawks, it was Rozier who stepped up and played some big minutes. With the stakes much lower in Utah and Vegas, he showed that he’s ready to take that next step. 

Abdel Nader was a pleasant surprise during an impressive week in Vegas. In five games, the 6-foot-6 forward from Iowa State (via Alexandria, Egypt) averaged 12.8 points in 20 minutes, showing an ability to get to the rim and a shooting touch, making 25-of-52 from the floor (48.1 percent). 

He also impressed acting coach Jamie Young so much in the next-to-last game against the Cavs on Wednesday that Young drew up the final play for him. One league source on hand in Vegas closely watching the Celtics said, “Nader is the most consistent hard worker on this roster. Has been able to almost be a glue guy by doing numerous things. Rebounding, hustling and hitting open shots.”

Another Young left Vegas wondering about his future, at least with the Celtics. 

James Young played just six minutes in his Summer League finale Wednesday against the Cavaliers due mostly to a sore knee. Young was the only player on the roster taking part in his third Summer League and he didn’t show much. He averaged just 7.5 points in six games. The best bright spot was his shooting from beyond the arc, as he made 9-of-17 from 3-point range (52.9 percent), including 4-for-5 in a 17-point effort against Utah on July 5. 

The play of Jaylen Brown impressed over the final three games, as the rookie out of Cal found a groove that was missing in his debut in Utah the week before. 

Brown, the team’s No. 1 pick in June, finished strong, averaging 16 points in his five Summer League games. He missed the last two in Utah because of a scary-looking right knee injury (which turned out fortunately just to be a bone bruise). Brown finished 22-of-67 from the field (32.8 percent). 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia