Since Kevin Durant’s Fourth of July fireworks on Monday announcing that he would be joining the Warriors, Danny Ainge has had time to mull over what exactly happened to see Durant slip from the Celtics’ grasp.

Danny Ainge felt the Celtics had a chance at Kevin Durant. (Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports)

Danny Ainge felt the Celtics had a chance at Kevin Durant. (Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports)

Since Kevin Durant’s Fourth of July fireworks on Monday announcing that he would be joining the Warriors, Danny Ainge has had time to mull over what exactly happened to see Durant slip from the Celtics’ grasp.

“You know, in a situation like that, you never really know,” Ainge said to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. “I didn’t really feel like we had a great chance, but I thought we had SOME chance. And then after we met with them, I felt like we had a real chance.

“I felt there for about 48 hours that we had a legitimate chance. It seemed like a really good fit. It seemed like a really good option for him, and it just wasn’t meant to be. He had other good options, too, but I did allow myself to get really excited for that 48-hour period, and it just didn’t happen.”

Ainge admitted he was incredibly disappointed when he got the courtesy call from Durant saying he was going to Golden State shortly before his Player’s Tribune piece came out.

The Celtics certainly pulled out all the stops trying to sway Durant into wearing green next season, bringing a cavalry of team personnel, head coach Brad Stevens, players Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder and even Tom Brady — Durant’s favorite athlete — to meet with the star in the Hamptons on Saturday.

Even David Ortiz tweeted at Durant to apologize for not being able to make the meeting. And upon signing Al Horford — who multiple times indicated him and Durant had discussed playing together — the Celtics seemed like legitimate contenders for the prized free agent.

“I felt like the meeting and presentation couldn’t have gone any better. I think we all felt that,” said Ainge. “I think it went as well as it could have, and we got a really good sense that it was going to be a really hard decision for him, but that we were a strong consideration.

“We felt like that was the most important part of the whole presentation — who he’d play with and how he’d be utilized. He had some good questions about that and about his role – how he would play, how we would use him. I think we did a great job of explaining and making a great presentation, and I think it was tempting for him. I think he is very, very excited about Boston and the history, the Celtics, all of that. I think he loved what Brad had to say. I think he was impressed with Brad’s preparation, and we had a really good feeling about it.”

It’s no secret the Celtics were unable to advertise the established squad that Golden State could with Steph Curry, Clay Thomson and Draymond Green. They had to instead attempt to lure him with the promise of being part of an exciting up-and-coming team. Ainge acknowledged that he still wonders what could have been done differently to seal the deal with Durant. The only conclusion he could seem to come up with was making trades that would ultimately mortgage the Celtics future.

“You know, I thought about that before and I’ve thought about that after, and I really don’t think so — shy of a couple of moves that I couldn’t do,” Ainge said when asked if he wondered if there was something more he could have done. “But in deals that we could have done that we refused to do, I don’t think that would have mattered for this. I think that KD really likes our players.

Added Ainge: “You know, I’m not surprised. … I think everybody in our basketball world knows that Golden State is a very tempting place to play right now. So surprised? No. We just hoped that he would want to be with us, but Golden State is a very good basketball team and it will be very interesting.”

Ainge is certainly optimistic about his team’s future with where they are at with the roster they have assembled as of now.

“I feel like we’re in good position,” he said. “I feel like we still have all of our pieces. We’re excited about Jaylen [Brown]. We’re excited about what’s going on for us in free agency. And we’re continuing to develop guys that I think aren’t even in their prime of their career yet that are continuing to get better.

“And we still have a lot of opportunities. You know, we didn’t probably have as many transactions as we wanted. We had offers for the third pick in the draft and some of our young players in this process, and we just didn’t want to do it. We just thought it was too much. We like those things too much, so we’re going to move forward, and we’re excited about the direction that we’re headed.”

 

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Russell Westbrook is a great player, but the Celtics can do better.</p>
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When the Celtics selected French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the No. 16 pick in last month’s draft, it came as a surprise — and it didn’t sit well with some Celtics fans who were hoping the team would draft a more recognizable name.

Yabusele didn’t help his cause in the Celtics’ summer league opener on Monday, tallying just five points and six rebounds and looking uncomfortable on the court. But on Tuesday he showed why the C’s considered him worthy of a mid-first-round pick.

Starting at center, the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder scored on Boston’s first possession, catching the ball at the 3-point line, driving right and then finishing with a nifty left-handed reverse against second-year Jazz center Tibor Pleis, who at 7-foot-3 stands almost a half-foot taller than Yabusele.

Yabusele finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds in 24 1/2 minutes. He also had an impressive block (one of two) in which he showed his quickness by chasing down a Jazz guard.

He was one of four Celtics in double figures as Boston posted an 89-82 victory.

“Everybody came in and gave us a big lift,” Celtics summer league coach Micah Strawberry said. “Guys made big shots when they were called upon, and it was good to see. It was fun to see the bench cheering each other on, the guys that are out there.”

— Leading Boston offensively was third-year shooting guard James Young, who totaled 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting. All four of his baskets came from behind the 3-point line, and he went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. The Kentucky product also grabbed five rebounds and two steals in almost 28 minutes. The Celtics may have a roster spot available for Young once the regular season starts, and if the 20-year-old can continue knocking down outside shots, he may lock up a spot on the bench once again. 

“It was just a team win,” Young said following the game. “I went out there and played basketball and played aggressive, but overall it was just a great team win. We went out there and played great defense, great offense and moved the ball around, and came out with the win.”

— Terry Rozier had another well-rounded game for Boston. After recording 18 points, six rebounds and five assists in a win over the 76ers on Monday, the second-year point guard finished Tuesday’s victory with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. He also used his aggressiveness to get to the line, taking nine free throws. Rozier saw an increase in minutes near the end of last season, and with versatile small forward Evan Turner signing with the Trail Blazers, C’s coach Brad Stevens may have to rely more on Rozier for playmaking.

— Marcus Thornton was the fourth Celtic to score in double digits, finishing the game with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. The 2015 second-round draft pick averaged 13.6 points and shot 45.7 percent from the field with the Maine Red Claws last season.

— Jaylen Brown, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, sat out Tuesday’s game with an hyperextended knee. The injury isn’t considered to be serious and the small forward is expected to return to the floor on Thursday. R.J. Hunter (sore right wrist) also missed the game as a precaution.

The Celtics next take on the Spurs on Thursday in the final game of the Utah Summer League.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

The Celtics did not pull off the major trade many fans were hoping for prior to last month’s draft, but they still might have a chance to make a splash.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

The Celtics did not pull off the major trade many fans were hoping for prior to last month’s draft, but they still might have a chance to make a splash. According to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the C’s have been continuing their attempts to improve their lineup by landing a big-name player — namely Bulls guard Jimmy Butler or 76ers center Jahlil Okafor.

The report notes that the C’s may have hurt their chances with their surprising selection of Jaylen Brown at No. 3.

Wrote Bulpett: Sources tell us the C’s are still holding the line on their offers from prior to the draft. They will make trades if teams come around to their price.

Jimmy Butler and Jahlil Okafor are said to be still available, but getting them now won’t be as easy as on draft night when Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, both coveted the No. 3 overall pick so they could take Providence’s Kris Dunn.

The Celtics helped their cause with the acquisition of free agent forward/center Al Horford but clearly need to do more to compete with the best in the East.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Ray Allen

Ray Allen

The Warriors are looking to fill out their roster with low-cost options as they have to make changes following their huge financial commitment to free agent Kevin Durant. It remains to be seen if Ray Allen will be one such addition.

According to an ESPN report, Allen is considering making a comeback after sitting out the last two seasons, and his representatives reached out to Golden State to see if there was a possibility he could join the Bay Area powerhouse. However, the Warriors were not sure if they would have interest.

The report also states that Allen would consider joining the Cavaliers, Spurs and Clippers if he decides to go through with a comeback attempt. Although he is known as a player who kept himself in top shape throughout his 18-year playing career, Allen turns 40 on July 20 and has not played in the league since averaging 9.6 points for the Heat in 2013-14.

A 10-time All-Star, Allen won his first title in 2008 with the Celtics. He left as a free agent in 2012 for the Heat and won another ring the ensuing season, hitting a huge, game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs to keep his team alive. Miami went on to win that game in overtime and secure the title in Game 7.

Allen, who also played for the Bucks and SuperSonics, averaged 18.9 points in his career, hitting 40 percent of his 3-pointers.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

According to reporters in Utah for the NBA summer league, Celtics No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown is day-to-day with a knee injury and he will miss Tuesday night’s game.

This is just a precaution as he’s expected to play Thursday, so Celtics fans can breath a sigh of relief.

Jaylen Brown hyperextended his knee and is out tonight.

According to reporters in Utah for the NBA summer league, Celtics No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown is day-to-day with a knee injury and he will miss Tuesday night’s game.

This is just a precaution as he’s expected to play Thursday, so Celtics fans can breath a sigh of relief.

For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Kevin Durant (left) shares a hug with future teammate Steph Curry after the Western Conference finals.</p>
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