Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

FOXBORO — By now everyone knows how big of a Celtics fan Patriots defensive lineman Terrance Knighton is as he grew up just outside of Hartford, Connecticut.

He’s also good friends with forward Kevin Durant, so you can imagine how upset he was when he signed with the Warriors and not the Celtics last month.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Knighton said after Wednesday’s practice. “I actually talked to Durant the day before he signed with Golden State. I was like, ‘Man, please come to Boston, don’t go to Golden State.’ He was like, ‘Ah, man.’ I already knew once he hung up the phone and went back to relaxing on the beach.

“I was very upset. I’m still upset at him. At the end of the day he’s a friend, I am happy for him. I’m pretty sure we will give him a warm welcome when Golden State comes to town.”

The NBA schedule will be released in a few weeks.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Celtics will be playing a seven-game preseason schedule to get ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.

IMG_7609

The TD Garden will be the site of the final two preseason games announced by the Celtics. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Celtics will be playing a seven-game preseason schedule to get ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.

The team announced its preseason slate on Thursday, which will include an opener on Tuesday, Oct. 4 against the 76ers at the Mullins Center at UMass-Amherst. They will technically be the visiting team as Spectra/Comcast Spectacor is the parent company of the Mullins Center and the home of the 76ers – the Wells Fargo Center. 

Tickets for the Oct. 4 game are now available for purchase on Ticketmaster.com.

The Celtics will then face the Charlotte Hornets twice, with the first matchup taking place at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on Thursday, Oct. 6 and the second at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on Saturday, Oct. 8. Tickets for the Oct. 8 game are now available for purchase on Ticketmaster.com.

The preseason line-up also includes contests against Atlantic Division rivals the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. The team will start their New York road trip by facing the Nets on Thursday, Oct. 13 and the Knicks on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Celtics will close preseason play at home as they host the Nets and Knicks at the TD Garden on Monday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Tickets for the TD Garden games will go on sale at a later date to be announced.  Fans can visit Celtics.com, “like” the Celtics on Facebook or follow @celtics on Twitter for more ticket sale updates and information.

There will be less travel this fall as the Celtics made a trek through Italy and Spain last year as part of the NBA Global Games Europe 2015. The full preseason schedule is as follows:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME

Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET

Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Brad Stevens will have some decisions to make at the end of the summer. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens will have some decisions to make at the end of the summer. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

If all things stay the same for the Celtics by the time training camp begins in late September, there’s going to be some trimming that will need to take place before the regular season tips off.

Here are a few things about roster sizes:

1. A team can carry 20 players on their training camp roster, and often times will sign players to training camp contracts bringing the size of that roster up to or near that number.

2. A team can carry a maximum of 15 players on their regular season roster.

So that creates something of a problem for the Celtics, who, after making the signings of five more players official Wednesday are carrying a roster of 18 players. 

So barring a trade or another signing, who would be out and in for the Celtics once the season begins?

Here’s a breakdown of the Celtics roster as it stands currently:

Guards: Avery Bradley, John Holland, R.J. Hunter, Demetrius Jackson, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young.

Forwards: Ben Bentil, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey

Centers: Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller

There are plenty of players on this roster would be locks to make the 15-man cut. There are a group of players who could be left in limbo, however, including Bentil, Mickey, Young, Holland, Jackson and Hunter.

There are a few interesting cases here — namely Mickey, Young and Hunter.

Based on the way he tore up the D-League last season, it’s believable to think Mickey should be a lock to make the roster and the back end of Brad Stevens’ rotation, however in 16 appearances in the NBA last season, the 22-year-old was a mixed bag depending on how you look at it.

He shot an underwhelming 36.4 percent from the field and was 5-for-10 from the free throw line. If you look at his per-36 minutes numbers, he would be at 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per 36.

The problem for Mickey is there are players who can do what he does and do it better off the bench, such as Jerebko.

Then there’s the compelling case of Young. The most seasoned NBA vet on the Celtics summer league roster, he has far from turned out to be the player the Celtics took with the 17th pick in 2014. Granted, he will be just 21 come the start of the season, but being streaky and his inability to cash in on opportunities given to him the past few years leaves him in a precarious position.

His 2015-16 campaign was more forgettable than his rookie one, shooting 30.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from beyond the arc. What could keep Young on the roster is the fact the Celtics did not go out and add a totally pure shooter in the offseason with the exception of maybe Green. With optimism that Young knows how to shoot and could come around he could find himself on the roster, especially with a strong camp. 

Hunter’s sophomore campaign is an interesting one, simply because if he improves upon what he did last year, he could be a valuable asset off the bench.

He shot a mere 36.7 percent from the field, but was 30.2 percent from three. If he can find a way to hit with more efficiency, he would not only crack the roster, but see meaningful minutes.

Conversely, he received said meaningful minutes in the Atlanta playoff series and was painful to watch at times.

Holland is another interesting case, playing in just one playoff game, missing a three-point attempt. The 27-year-old Boston University grad has spent time playing in Europe and could bring a quasi-veteran presence, but that’s about it. His numbers have declined steadily since he started playing in Europe, and he does not bring much fresh to the table that would necessarily warrant him a spot in the 15.

Bentil and Jackson are also between a rock and a hard place as late-second round picks, and given their immediate status, will likely start the season in Maine.

On paper, Hunter, Mickey and Young would make the cut with Holland potentially making a case for himself, or potentially starting the season in Maine but being the first man up once injuries start to hit.

This year’s camp will be an interesting one for that exact reason. So many of the players on the bubble are so volatile, that how they play September and October is pivotal for any chance of cracking the 15-man roster.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Wednesday evening the Celtics made five deals official — most notably the signing of No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown. Nearly all of the signings were previously reported, however were not made official by the team until Wednesday.

Though the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Brown is expected to be a big part of the Celtics immediate future, Brown was immediately a scoring threat during the summer league, averaging 16 points per game over 29 minutes. He also added 6.2 rebounds per game as well as 2.3 assists.

In his Pac-12 Freshman of the Year-winning 2015-16 campaign, the 6-foot-7 19-year-old averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 boards over 27.6 minutes per game.

Also signed from the draft were second-round picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil — deals that had been agreed upon earlier on Wednesday.

The two remaining deals included the re-upping of big man Tyler Zeller, as well as the return of Gerald Green, both of whom were rumored to have signed on Saturday.

The signings now set the Celtics roster at 18, leaving an interesting training camp ahead that will see three players not make the NBA roster.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

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