When Rajon Rondo was shipped out of town just over three weeks ago, Danny Ainge used a key word to describe why: uncertainty. That seemed to remain the reason that Ainge felt the need to ship Jeff Green to Memphis as well.

‘€œI just felt like [it was] a timeline thing,’€ Ainge said prior to Monday’€™s home win over the Pelicans. ‘€œThe players that we had, the uncertainty of the future and free agency, and [I] felt like we were getting good value in return based on this contract situation.’€

The trade doesn’€™t make this current season any easier on Brad Stevens, but the coach understands it’€™s a process geared towards the future.

‘€œLosing [Green] three weeks after losing your multiple-time All-Star point guard, there’€™s going to be challenges that come with that,’€ Stevens said. ‘€œThat’€™s why you prepare everyone to play and that’€™s why everybody’€™s got this talk about ‘€˜next man up’€™.’€

Last year everything was very new to Stevens, especially the trade deadline. Now in his second season at the NBA level, Stevens in learning to adapt to what to expect during the rebuild.

‘€œThis is about the time last year where we had some ‘€“ at the time for that team we had some pretty significant moves ‘€“ with Jordan [Crawford] being traded and Courtney [Lee] being traded,’€ Stevens reflected. ‘€œSo there’€™s a little bit of being able to look back and learn from that. I think I learned a lot from the Rondo trade, just as far as not only losing a really good player, but also trying to bring new guys in and get them up to speed as quickly as possible, but also recognizing that you don’€™t have to rebuild Rome in a day.’€

Yes Brad, patience is going to be key. Hearing Stevens speak in those terms makes you think that he’€™s both grown as a coach and knows what he’€™s in for in the long haul here in Boston. Those are two things we didn’t see right in his first year coaching (not that it was expected).

‘€œBrad and I talk almost everyday, so he understands it. He understands what’€™s going on’€, Ainge said of his coach ‘€“ maybe the only position that doesn’€™t seem to have any uncertainty at the moment.

Ainge knows that expectations have only been lowered since trading away his two best players, there’€™s a silver lining in it all, though.

‘€œWell, I haven’€™t been too excited about what I’€™ve seen so far this whole year,’€ Ainge offered. ‘€œI haven’€™t been excited about seeing 20-point leads get blown, but I’€™m certainly not blaming it on those two guys ‘€¦ we’€™re just trying to get better. We have a lot of young guys now that have become more of a focal point for us and they have to get better. And now there’€™s a little bit more onus on them to get better and take a little bit more responsibility.’€

Although Ainge might not be giving Stevens much to work with on the court right now, the President of Basketball Operations is confident that he is using the right method to build a winning team yet again. But could there possibly be such a thing as owning too many draft picks?

‘€œNo, because draft picks are always tradable, players are not,’€ Ainge responded. ‘€œDraft picks are always assets until sometimes they’€™re drafted, until they become players, or until they become paid.’€

‘€œI think you have to build through the draft,’€ Ainge continued. “Last time we built through the draft, and we developed players, and we were able to trade to get some veteran guys in that were ready to win, that were more compatible with Paul [Pierce] at the time. But we did it through the draft. That’€™s how I look at it and right now we’€™ll do the same thing: We’€™ll draft players, we’€™ll develop players and we’€™ll look for opportunities to take steps forward.’€

So now that Rondo and Green are both gone (along with recently acquired Brandan Wright) is Ainge done making trades?

‘€œI don’€™t know that, [I] never know that. I’€™m not done talking,’€ he chimed without hesitation. Whether we see the Celtics make another trade or not, it’s safe to say the trade talks are nowhere close to finished.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

The Celtics defeated the Pelicans, 108-100, Monday night at TD Garden (click here for the box score).

Jared Sullinger

Jared Sullinger

The Celtics defeated the Pelicans, 108-100, Monday Night at TD Garden (box score here).

In a back and forth game which featured 14 lead changes, the Celtics were finally able to protect a late lead and seal a victory in the final frame.

Pelicans forward. Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points in the loss. Jared Sullinger led the way for the Celtics scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Davis is a superstar

Given the Celtics inability to cover big men, it was expected that  “Le Brow” would dominate the game and light up the stat sheet. For the first three quarters, the Celtics did a great job of containing Davis, limiting to him to only 21 points. But in the fourth quarter, the NBA’€™s second-best player took over, scoring 13 points over the final 12 minutes.

While it might not have shown up in the box score, Davis had a huge impact throughout the game as the Celtics were keenly aware of his mere presence on the court. Celtics’ drivers were extremely hesitant to even attempt shot in the paint due to the big man. In the pick-and-roll, the Celtics seemed to overplay Davis, leading to Eric Gordon scoring a number of points at the rim.

Jared Sullinger is ready to step up

With the recent trades, Jared Sullinger is now the most talented player on the Celtics. Just like Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green before him, Sully was the final Celtic to be announced during the pre-game introductions. Sullinger had a great night, scoring 27 on 9-17 shooting. He was dominant on the offensive glass, accounting for  six of his 10 rebounds. He did an excellent job using his large posterior to keep Davis from getting position deep in the paint.

Stevens’ rotation still confuses

In the first two games after Jeff Green was traded, Brad Stevens stuck with a nine-man rotation. It appears that was the plan going into the night, but early foul trouble from Kelly Olynyk and poor play from Tyler Zeller forced Gerald ‘€œThe Human Digeridoo’€ Wallace into the game.

Surprisingly, the Pelicans were unable to capitalize during the few minutes Wallace played the five. Stevens, who refuses to play the same rotation twice, brought in Marcus Thornton as his first man off the bench. He also finished the first with a bizarre small-ball line-up that featured Bradley, Turner, Smart, Jae Crowder, and Sullinger. Rookie James Young played just under 10 minutes, contributing two points.

Crowder is a potential long-term piece

The more you watch Crowder, the more you like him. Prior to the game, Brad Stevens noted Crowder’s incredible toughness as well as the energy he provides on both ends of the floor. Monday night, Crowder displayed a solid mid-range jumper early in the first quarter. He played tough defense, especially early in transition, which created a number of fast break opportunities. He moved well with out the ball and showed a tremendous ability to explode towards the basket. Crowder had a nice old school give-and-go with Sullinger in the third quarter where he passed up an open jumper before cutting to the hoop for an easy dunk.

Crowder finished with a career-high 22 points. He also had four steals and two blocked shots.

Crowder is set to become a unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but given his performance in his short time with the team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Celtics make a big push to re-sign him.

Marcus Smart is a project

The sixth pick of the draft is still a project.

Defensively, Smart is a physical beast who is more than willing to get into the body of his opponent and move him off his spot. In the second quarter, Eric Gordon made the mistake of trying to get by him with a power move, Smart did not back down and took the charge.

Smart still struggles to run the offense, sometimes making poor decisions while passing. The offense generally slowed down while he was the sole ball-handler. Overall, Smart contributed a very solid 30 minutes. While he continued to shoot the ball poorly, he was able to hit a huge three-pointer in the final minute that sealed the victory for the Celtics.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

As the Celtics rebuild, president Danny  Ainge and coach Brad Stevens come under a microscope. (Getty Images)

Danny Ainge’s other shoe has finally dropped.

The Celtics officially announced the Jeff Green trade for an unidentified future first-round pick, Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract an

The Celtics officially announced the Jeff Green trade for an unidentified future first-round pick, Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and Austin Rivers, son of former C’s coach Doc Rivers.

Green, whose 17.6 points per game currently lead the Celtics, joins a Grizzlies team battling for home-court advantage in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Memphis sends Quincy Pondexter and a second-round pick to a Pelicans squad in search of a playoff spot.

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported the deal, the Celtics will receive a first-round pick from Memphis that won’t come to fruition until 2019 and are expected to send Rivers elsewhere in exchange for a second-round pick and expiring contracts. Surprisingly, the Clippers have been mentioned as a potential trade partner, potentially pairing Rivers with his father in Los Angeles.

Prince’s expiring deal will give the Celtics as much as $30 million in cap space this summer.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Mere moments after finalizing a deal with his former assistant general manager, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge phoned another erstwhile front office employee to make a separate trade on a wi

Mere moments after finalizing a deal with his former assistant general manager, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge phoned another erstwhile front office employee to make a separate trade on a wild Friday night.

According to multiple reports, Ainge has agreed to trade Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s expiring $7.7 million contract and a protected first-round draft pick. The two teams are reportedly waiting on a third team to facilitate the deal. Green remained active for the C’s game against the Pacers on Friday, but was replaced in the starting lineup by Jae Crowder.

The news comes shortly after the Celtics sent the newly acquired Brandan Wright to the Suns for another protected first-rounder. Suns GM Ryan McDonough was once Ainge’s assistant, and Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace held the same position in Boston from 1997-2007.

The deals give the Celtics as many as 11 first-round picks over the next four seasons, although that number will more likely be eight based on the protection of deals involving Green, Wright, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers and Jordan Crawford. In addition to their own No. 1 picks through 2018, the Celtics also have the rights to the following:

— The Mavericks’ 2015 first-round draft pick (protected 1-3 and 15-30 in 2015 and 1-7 from 2016-20): This one will most likely end up being a late first-rounder in 2016 for Rondo.

— The Clippers’ 2015 first-round raft pick (unprotected): This one’s locked in for Rivers.

— The 76ers’ 2015 first-round draft pick (protected 1-14 before becoming a pair of second-round picks in 2015 and 2016): At least the C’s will likely end up getting two high second-round picks in exchange for Crawford.

— The Timberwolves‘ 2015 first-round draft pick (protected 1-12 from 2015-16 before becoming a pair of second-round picks in 2016 and 2017): In all likelihood, the Celtics will have another pair of high second-round picks for Wright.

The Nets‘ 2016 first-round draft pick (unprotected): This could be a gem for Pierce and Garnett.

— The Cavaliers‘ 2016 first-round draft pick (protected 1-10 from 2016-18): In exchange for helping Cleveland make cap room for LeBron James, the Celtics picked up what will likely be a late first-rounder next season (unless James makes Decision 2.0).

The Nets‘ 2018 first-round draft pick (unprotected): Again, a potential windfall for the Celtics.

In addition to those first-round picks, the Celtics will have what ESPN’s Marc Stein and Adrian Wojnarowski are reporting is a heavily protected pick from the Grizzlies in exchange for Green that likely won’t come to fruition until 2019. On top of that, the C’s have the right to switch first-round picks with the Nets in 2017.

Oh, and they own a 2015 second-round draft pick from the Wizards (protected 31-49) and 2016 second-rounders from the Cavaliers, Heat and whichever is more favorable between the Mavericks and Grizzlies.

Got it? Good. Now go enjoy your Friday night, because the Wolf of Causeway Street certainly is.


Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics traded recently acquired and underused forward Brandan Wright to the Suns for a future draft picks(s), the team announced on Friday night. Yahoo Sports guru Adrian Wojnarowski firs

The Celtics traded recently acquired and underused forward Brandan Wright to the Suns for a future draft picks(s), according to Yahoo Sports guru Adrian Wojnarowski.

In exchange for Wright — seemingly the prized jewel in Celtics president Danny Ainge’s trade of Rajon Rondo — Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is sending a Timberwolves pick to his former employer that is top-12 protected for this season and next before turning into a pair of second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.

The 6-foot-9 Wright came to the Celtics with the league’s highest field goal percentage (74.8 percent), but then played in just eight games for Boston, averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in only 10.8 minutes a night.

In essence, the Celtics have turned Rondo into Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson’s relatively low $2.73 million expiring contract, a late 2016 first-round pick from Dallas and two second-round picks from Minnesota in 2016 and 2017.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are nearing a deal that would send Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince‘s $7.7 million expiring contract and a future first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski, likely giving Ainge nine No. 1 selections over the next four seasons.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach