With the Celtics expected to active in free agency this offseason, Danny Ainge has reportedly asked for Isaiah Thomas‘€™ input during the process.

With the Celtics expected to active in free agency this offseason, Danny Ainge has reportedly asked for Isaiah Thomas‘€™ input during the process.

“Danny said if there’€™s any free agent out there I’€™m interested in, to let him know,” Thomas told The Boston Globe. “That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’€™m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball.

“It means a lot, and it’€™s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys.”€

With a void at the center position, this year’€™s Sixth Man of the Year said that he would like to see the Celtics bring in a rim-protector.

“€œA defensive-minded player,”€ Thomas told the Globe. “It’€™d be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something.”

After being traded from the Suns midway through the season, Thomas quickly became an integral part of coach Brad Stevens‘€™ pick-and-roll offense. He led the team in scoring (17.5 points per game) and assists (seven per game).

When asked about his recruiting pitch to potential free agents, Thomas kept it simple.

“€œThe history behind the Boston Celtics is what you want,”€ he told the Globe. “And the city of Boston is definitely a sports city. They love their players and support their players. Really, everything you want in a basketball team and organization is here.

“€œIt might not be Miami or LA with the weather, but what’€™s most important is the culture. And I can only imagine, when we really get good, what the city would be like.”

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

With the Celtics expected to active in free agency this offseason, Danny Ainge has reportedly asked for Isaiah Thomas‘€™ input during the process.

“Danny said if there’€™s any free agent out there I’€™m interested in, to let him know,” Thomas told The Boston Globe. “That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’€™m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball.

“It means a lot, and it’€™s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys.”€

With a void at the center position, this year’€™s Sixth Man of the Year said that he would like to see the Celtics bring in a rim-protector.

“€œA defensive-minded player,”€ Thomas said. “It’€™d be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something.”

After being traded from the Suns midway through the season, Thomas quickly became an integral part of coach Brad Stevens‘€™ pick-and-roll offense. He led the team in scoring (17.5 points per game) and assists (seven per game).

When asked about his recruiting pitch to potential free agents, Thomas kept it simple.

“€œThe history behind the Boston Celtics is what you want,”€ he said. “And the city of Boston is definitely a sports city. They love their players and support their players. Really, everything you want in a basketball team and organization is here.

“€œIt might not be Miami or LA with the weather, but what’€™s most important is the culture. And I can only imagine, when we really get good, what the city would be like.”

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Kosta Koufos is exactly the type of player the Celtics need to target this summer.

Kosta Koufos

Kosta Koufos

Kosta Koufos is exactly the type of player the Celtics need to target this summer.

Given their history of failed free-agent pursuits and the unlikelihood of landing a center of Marc Gasol’s caliber, the C’s are forced to pursue under-appreciated options, so the latest ESPN.com report that team president Danny Ainge already targeted Koufos in trade discussions this season makes complete sense.

After ranking in the middle of the pack this past season with a 102.1 defensive rating — a number that climbed to 110.2 points allowed per 100 possessions in their brief playoff stint — the Celtics are in desperate need of a rim protector, and Koufos was as good as any backup center in that regard. According to NBA.com/stats, the 7-foot, 265-pound former first-round pick held opponents to 46.9 percent shooting at the rim, putting him in good company with Defensive Player of the Year candidates Tim Duncan and Draymond Green at the same percentage.

Offensively, Koufos has proven a capable scorer around the basket, converting 56.2 percent of his shots inside of 8 feet. It might be too much to ask a 26-year-old to suddenly develop a mid-range jumper, but Tyler Zeller made significant strides from outside the paint under Celtics coach Brad Stevens this year.

Regardless, Koufos has averaged 12.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes since being drafted 23rd overall out of Ohio State in 2008, and those numbers have remained fairly consistent for all six years, including when he started 81 games for a Nuggets team that won 57 games in 2012-13.

Koufos earned $3 million as a reserve this past season, and that number could at least double in unrestricted free agency come July, as he left NBA general managers with eight points on five shots and eight rebounds in 14-plus minutes during a season-ending Game 6 loss to the Warriors last week.

It stands to reason the Celtics will be among his suitors this summer, since Ainge has the cap and roster space to offer Koufos the starting role he’s coveted since being faded from Denver in June 2013. The interesting part of that pursuit will be whether the C’s aim to lock him up early in free agency or first take a stab at a big-name option like DeAndre Jordan and risk losing out on Koufos to another suitor.

In the same vein, keep an eye on a group of similarly under-appreciated young bigs entering free agency should the Celtics fail to land their first, second or even third options: Alexis Ajinca (16.7 points, 55.0 field goal percentage, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes); Ed Davis (12.8 points, 60.1 field goal percentage, 11.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes); Kevin Seraphin (15.2 points, 51.3 field goal percentage, 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes); and Kyle O’Quinn (12.8 points, 49.2 field goal percentage, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes). None of those players quite offer the intrigue of Koufos, but Ajinca is a 7-foot, 220-pound center who emerged as a serviceable reserve behind Anthony Davis and Omer Asik in New Orleans.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

In a sit-down interview with Celtics.com, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was encouraged by the development of rookie guard Marcus Smart and his team’s depth during an impressive stretch run, but he also realizes the need for a roster upgrade.

In a sit-down interview with Celtics.com, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was encouraged by the development of rookie guard Marcus Smart and his team’s depth during an impressive stretch run, but he also realizes the need for a roster upgrade.

Whether or not that upgrade will come in the form of a draft-day trade or a free-agent signing this summer remains to be seen, but at the very least the C’s are in position to set off the fireworks they’ve stocked away since trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

“We’ve tried to put ourselves in the game to have those options and to have some opportunities to make big moves, so I guess if there are big moves that we like, we do them; if there are big moves that we’re not in love with, then we hold off and we wait,” Ainge told Celtics.com. “Those are the challenging ones. Some of them are very easy to determine and some are very challenging and take a lot of investigation and thought and debate and discussion on our side, but I think that you can’t just determine that you’re going to wait or you’re going to do it. It all depends on those opportunities.

“An example of that was when KG and Ray [Allen] became available to us,” added Ainge. “We were in the game, and we had an opportunity to do something quick and something special. When James Harden became available, we weren’t. We didn’t have the assets. We didn’t have the opportunity to get in that game, so just because we have assets, just because we have young players, just because we have draft picks and we have cap space, it means that if there’s one of those situations that becomes available we have an opportunity. It doesn’t mean that there’s any guarantee that something like that will happen. So, we want to stay in the game until we can do something significant.”

Indeed, the Celtics have more than $20 million in cap space, as many as 10 first-round draft picks over the next four seasons, Gerald Wallace‘s $10.1 million expiring contract and a number of trade-able rookie contracts to remain “in the game” this summer.

After the promise of a big splash last summer, the Celtics are understandably less vocal about the possibility of making waves come July, but the fact is they’re in better position to do so this year than they were in 2014. But “in the game” and winning are two different things, as the Celtics learned the hard way against the Cavaliers last month.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach
Kelly Olynyk gets entangled with Kevin Love in Game 4 Sunday afternoon. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Kelly Olynyk received a one-game suspension for injuring Kevin Love on this play. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk has made efforts to reach out to Kevin Love in an attempt to personally apologize for the injury that knocked the Cavaliers forward out for the rest of the playoffs.

Olynyk pulled on Love’s arm while the two were chasing a loose ball during Game 4 of the teams’ first-round series, leaving Love with a separated shoulder and an expected six months of recovery time following surgery.

After the game, Love called the play “bush league,” although Olynyk has insisted that he did not mean any harm.

Olynyk later received a one-game suspension from the NBA.

Love, who could elect to become a free agent this offseason, has been missed in Cleveland, although he was criticized during the year for not living up to preseason expectations. Now, with the Cavs splitting the first two games of their conference semifinal series with the Bulls, Love’s absence is being lamented.

“It’s so unfortunate that [the appreciation] has to come when he goes down,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt told Yahoo. “Kevin, in his own way, sacrificed the most this season, but still gave us a high-level performance. And he needs to be appreciated for that. And going forward, hopefully, he’s going to have a long career here.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WALTHAM — Danny Ainge isn’t pulling any punches about his efforts to go after some big-time unrestricted free agents this summer. But he’s also be very, very realistic about his chances.