Danny Ainge is still hungry to make a deal. 

According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations wants to add one more big piece. But the price tag has been too rich. 

Feb 28, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) shoots over Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9)  during second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 130-116. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) could still be a big trade target for the Celtics. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Danny Ainge is still hungry to make a deal. 

According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations wants to add one more big piece. But the price tag 

“Another sticking point in that and in other deals Boston is talking about is that pick from the Nets next year (2017 pick swap). Danny will make it available in the right situation, but he’s not going to give it up with core players, too,” a league source told Bulpett. “That’s going to be a good draft, and that’s going to be a high pick.

“Everyone’s been talking about how Danny’s trying to make a killing out here, but when it comes to certain pieces you have, I get that you have to be careful. You can give up equal assets, but you don’t want to take away your best opportunities to keep things going down the line.”

Bulpett also reports there have been no recent discussions on two rumored high-profile players Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin. But an NBA general manager told Bulpett that Philadelphia big man Jahlil Okafor is a different matter. 

“Oh, Danny definitely wants to do something,” the GM told Bulpett. “We’ve got nothing that really works with Boston, but I bet something happens there. I still wouldn’t be surprised if something happened there [with Okafor].”

The Celtics were reportedly close on Jimmy Butler on draft night as they held the No. 3 pick in the draft. The Bulls made no secret about their desire to trade up and grab Providence College point guard Kris Dunn. But, according to Bulpett, the Bulls also wanted two players, while the C’s only were willing to deal one.

Now with the Bulls inking Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Bulls seem committed to keeping Butler and making a run next season. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics concluded their Summer League play on a down note Friday night in Las Vegas, falling to the Trail Blazers, 80-75, at Cox Pavilion. 

Jaylen Brown speaks to reporters in Waltham for the first time. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jaylen Brown finished up his first summer with the Celtics on Friday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Celtics concluded their Summer League play on a down note Friday night in Las Vegas, falling to the Trail Blazers, 80-75, at Cox Pavilion. 

Rookie Jaylen Brown had a team-high 21 points for the Celtics but made just 7-of-21 shots from the field. Brown had a highlight-reel caliber dunk in the first half and again showed the ability to get to the rim with authority, something he’s been flashing this week with the Celtics. 

Brown struggled again from 3-point range, making just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. He was just 5-for-22 from long range in six Summer League games.

Iowa State product Abel Nader continued his impressive week. The Celtics’ final pick (No. 58 overall) added 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. 

With the game knotted at 70-70 with under three minutes left, the Blazers were able to outperform the Celtics down the stretch. The key was a 9-2 Portland run. The Celtics couldn’t execute consistently against Portland’s defense all night, committing 20 turnovers (12 in the first half) and shooting just 22.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Guerschon Yabusele and Jordan Mickey (12 points apiece) were the other two players in double figures for the Celtics, who finished the Vegas portion of their play at 1-4. This was in stark contrast to Utah the week before when the Celtics won all three games. 

Click here for a full box score

Pat Connaughton, the pride of St. John’s Prep (Danvers), led all scorers for the Blazers with 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Baylor product Pierre Jackson added 20 for Portland.  

Friday marked the last action for the Celtics until they gather together for training camp in late September. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Another day, another turn of the NBA rumor mill linking a superstar to the Celtics.

This time it’s not Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, but Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Another day, another turn of the NBA rumor mill linking a superstar to the Celtics.

This time it’s not Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, but Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

According to Sporting News NBA insider Sean Deveney, the Celtics are working with the Clippers and Kings on a three-way deal that would bring Griffin to Boston and send guard Rudy Gay to L.A. The Celtics would also include picks in the deal, but according to Deveney, they’re reluctant to part with either of their upcoming Nets selections, since both could be high in the lottery, and the 2017 draft is considered especially deep.

Griffin, 27, was the first overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Oklahoma. He’s a five-time All-Star coming off a lost season due to suspension, as well as a broken hand after punching an equipment manager. Limited to 35 games, he averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.

Griffin, for what it’s worth, also penned a short goodbye to Tim Duncan, aka “the Big Fundamental,” on the Players’ Tribune.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier both made big statements in Boston’s penultimate Summer League game Thursday in Las Vegas.

Brown broke out offensively with 25 points but showed he still has a lot to learn about the fine details of crunch time in the NBA while Terry Rozier added 24 in a 98-94 loss to the Cavaliers in a first-round playoff game at Cox Pavilion.

Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier both made big statements in Boston’s penultimate Summer League game Thursday in Las Vegas.

Brown broke out offensively with 25 points but showed he still has a lot to learn about the fine details of crunch time in the NBA while Terry Rozier added 24 in a 98-94 loss to the Cavaliers in a first-round playoff game at Cox Pavilion.

The loss dropped Boston to 1-3 in Vegas after they won all three games in Utah. They will not advance to the elimination round of the Samsung NBA Summer League and conclude their game action Friday with a 6 p.m. ET game against the Trail Blazers.

Wednesday’s game was a back-and-forth affair, with the Celtics taking a one-point lead on a Rozier finger roll with 1:53 left.

The Cavaliers grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds in consecutive possessions to help them take the lead for good, 94-91, with 53.3 seconds remaining.

“We had them stopped the last two minutes there where we had a chance to get the ball, and they got offensive rebounds there,” Jamie Young, Boston’s Vegas head coach, told reporters after the game.

After an empty possession and the Celtics still only down three, Brown made a mental mistake when he intentionally fouled with 24 seconds left. Brown apparently thought the Celtics needed to stop the clock. But there was an eight-second time differential between the shot clock and the game clock in a one-possession game.

Cleveland’s Kay Felder sank two free throws to put Cleveland on top 96-91. Brown did convert a layup through traffic and was fouled, cutting the lead back to two with 20.4 seconds left. Boston was unable to force a turnover as the Cavs advanced the ball, and it was then forced to foul Jordan McCrae with 10.5 seconds left on the clock.

McCrae, with a game-high 32, converted both free throws to put Cleveland on top 98-94. Boston had two opportunities to make 3-pointers during the final 10 seconds, but Abdel Nader missed both attempts as time expired.

Some highlights from Wednesday for the Celtics:

– Brown led the Celtics with 25 points and nine rebounds. He shot 8-for-11 from the line, the third time in his five Summer League games during which he attempted at least 11 free throws.

– Rozier also continued to impress. He finished with 24 points, going 7-for-10 from the field while converting all nine free throw attempts.

– Nader, the Iowa State product, came off of Boston’s bench to score 13 points while adding five rebounds. Coach Young showed so much confidence in Nader that he drew up the last play for him.

“Just get out and play together and play the game the right way,” Brown told Celtics.com of Friday’s upcoming game. “At the end of the day, these are our teammates. We try to get better one step at a time.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

It’s looking more and more like the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to trade point guard Russell Westbrook before they lose him in free agency.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

It’s looking more and more like the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to trade point guard Russell Westbrook before they lose him in free agency. According to Bleacher Report NBA insider Howard Beck, Westbrook’s most likely landing spot is Boston.

“Let’s just say there’s a very strong suspicion, a strong belief among rival GMs, that Russell Westbrook is not intending to stay, that he would leave next summer when he hits free agency,” Beck said in a video on the site. “And because of that, the logical next step is that [Thunder GM] Sam Presti — who is always ahead of the curve on these things — will look to trade him. I don’t know that that’s happening right this moment.”

Beck, who is at the Las Vegas Summer League, keeps hearing from rival GMs that the Celtics represent his most likely landing spot.

“Not only do they think Westbrook will get traded, [but] that it’ll be sooner rather than later, probably before the season starts,” Beck said. “And that the most likely destination right now would be the Boston Celtics.”

Blessed with two potential lottery picks via the Nets in 2017 and 2018, plus a number of promising young players, the Celtics make sense as trade partners with OKC. The only problem is that Westbrook is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and there’s no reason for him to sign an extension now, since he’ll be able to earn a lot more money next summer when the salary cap expands.

The 27-year-old Westbrook is coming off a monster season that saw him nearly average a triple-double, with 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.8 rebounds.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase