WALTHAM — Marcus Smart is beginning to feel comfortable in Boston. Well, at least in the gym that is.

‘€œDefinitely,’€ Smart responded after being asked if the practice facility was beginning to feel like his own gym. ‘€œI’€™m knocking down shots on those rims now,’€ said Smart, while gesturing over to the nearest hoop, ‘€œso that’€™s good. I’€™m getting a little bit more comfortable day-by-day.’€

Outside of workouts and practices is a whole different story for Smart.

‘€œNah,’€ Smart said, while shaking his head when asked if he had gotten a chance to explore Boston yet. ‘€œEspecially with the two-a-days ‘€“ we finish around seven [o'€™clock] ‘€“ you’€™re pretty much tired. You get your workout and go to bed and start it all over again.’€

Smart was expecting the NBA lifestyle to be this way, though.

‘€œThis is your life. This is your job,’€ Smart proclaimed. ‘€œIf you want to be the best, you have to put in the work.’€

Avery Bradley has put in the work over his young NBA career. The 23-year-old was rewarded Wednesday with a 4-year deal worth $32 million. Bradley, like Rajon Rondo, is a player Smart can relate to.

‘€œHe reminds me a little bit of [me],” Smart said. “You know, physical, athletic, can defend the one, the two, or the three spot. [I can] do whatever coach [Brad Stevens] asks me to do.’€

The Bradley defensive comparisons are not farfetched. Jared Sullinger admitted that he was surprised by Smart’€™s abilities on that side of the ball. That’€™s because defense has always been a part of Smart’€™s game.

‘€œThat was a big pride,’€ Smart said, speaking on his defense in college. ‘€œThat’€™s what we wanted to do. Make our identity as a defensive team, and we tried. We had some things that happened, but we were still one of the best defensive teams in college. It was a big pride of mine and I just wanted to make sure I could carry that over at the next level.’€

Needless to say, Smart is excited to have the chance to team up with Bradley in the backcourt.

‘€œAs a competitor, you want somebody who’€™s going to be out there competing with you that you know will have your back. Not only on the offensive end, but on the defensive end. Avery does that. He holds himself and everybody else accountable.’€

Smart may be starting to feel at home in the practice facilities, but he is still waiting to have that feeling about his new city.

‘€œNo, not at all;’€ Smart revealed when asked if any fans had recognized him yet in public. ‘€œLike I said, I haven’€™t really been out outside of the gym.’€

Knowing Smart’€™s work ethic, it comes as no shock that he’€™s hardly left the gym. But with expectations as high as they are for him, Smart can expect to be recognized soon. Even if he just leaves the gym for a second.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

WALTHAM — Jared Sullinger got the message loud and clear at the end of the season from Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. If the big man from Ohio State was going to take that next step in what many – including Celtics‘ brass – see as a successful NBA future, he needs to be in better shape.

Sullinger was the only player with two years of NBA experience in attendance Wednesday at the Celtics training facility, as the team continued its two-a-day workouts in advance of this Saturday’s summer league opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando.

“I think conditioning was a big factor,” said Sullinger, listed by the Celtics at 260 pounds. “Late in the game, I’d get tired and stop doing the things that I normally do in the first quarter. I think conditioning will kind of help that out.

“[Joining the summer practice is] another opportunity to play against other guys and kind of push myself to another limit, work on things that I don’€™t normally work on by myself and then I’€™ve got bodies out here. Going against bodies, pushing myself through contact. So everything is kind of helping me with conditioning.”

But to the 6-foot-9 Sullinger, being in good basketball condition has not so much to do with his weight as his endurance.

“It’s more shape,” Sullinger said. “How long I can run, how fast I can run. Pretty much how long I can stay on the court without passing out. I’€™m working on that every day.”

Sullinger, still just 22, averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game last season. Coming off season ending back surgery in his rookie season, he played 74 games, starting 44.

Of course, there is the possibility that the Celtics deal him. If they do, they want to get maximum return. Sullinger isn’t worried about what the front office does or doesn’t do. He’s focused on improving a team that suffered through 25 wins, the worst season of his college or pro career.

“I’€™m not a [general manager]; I’€™m a player,” Sullinger said. “But regardless of what [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge], [director of player personnel] Austin [Ainge] or [assistant general manager Mike] Zarren do, I’€™m full support. My job is to play, their job is to manage. As long as I don’€™t try to manage and play, I think the Boston Celtics will be a pretty [good] team in the East.”

He may not be in the front office but there is one role he feels he can serve if he sticks around in Boston, and it provided another reason beyond conditioning for him to be in attendance Wednesday – leadership. One of those looking up to Sullinger while working out with him Wednesday was Kelly Olynyk.

“Honestly, yes, there’s things I can help Kelly out with, if I see something he’s not doing well,” said Sullinger, who will not be making the trip to Orlando for the Summer League. “We kind of police ourselves so he helps me out at the same time I help him out. It’s kind of two-way street. It gives me an opportunity to kind of help out the younger guys and kind of test my IQ and see if I really know basketball the way I say I do.”

As for any trade rumors involving Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Sullinger said it just comes with the territory.

“Danny is just doing his job,” said Sullinger. “You’€™ve got to understand that. Danny is doing his job. We had a down year last year and he’€™s just trying to be as competitive as possible in the east. He’€™s just doing his job.”

Sullinger said he wasn’t aware of teammate Avery Bradley re-signing for four years and $32 million, adding, “if that’s true, I’m happy he’s back.” Neither Danny Ainge or Brad Stevens are permitted to speak about any player transactions during a moratorium that continues through July 10.

Sullinger did get a chance to see first-round draft pick Marcus Smart up close and personal on Wednesday.

“Marcus’€™ last name pretty much says it all about him on the basketball court. He’€™s smart. He plays well,” said Sullinger. “He’€™s a very, very tough defender. That was real shocking to me. I really didn’€™t watch a lot of college basketball, but you see a lot of highlights on SportsCenter. He was always up there, but they never said anything about his defensive ability. That’€™s one thing about him. And James, watching him in the national championship in the tournament, he was one of the key guys for the Kentucky team. He’€™s really long and really athletic. That really helps us out.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.

Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.

WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.

Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.

“James observed practice, did the stationary bike a little bit and just watched and participated from the sidelines,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will be coaching the Celtics‘ summer league team for five games starting this Saturday in Orlando.

As was the case Tuesday, when the rookie missed both workout sessions, Larranaga deferred all questions about his availability to head coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, neither of whom spoke to the media on Wednesday.

The car accident forced Young to miss several pre-draft workouts for teams leading up to the June 26 draft. There is a belief that uncertainty about Young’s medical status and his inability to work out allowed him to fall to No. 17, where the Celtics selected the former Kentucky Wildcats star.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
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Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Avery Bradley‘s dip into the waters of restricted free agency didn’t last long.

Bradley, who was tended a qualifying offer of $3.6 million for next season on Monday, has re-signed with the Celtics on a long-term deal just one day into restricted free agency, according to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett.

Avery Bradley dip into the waters of restricted free agency didn’t last long.

Bradley, who was tended a qualifying offer of $3.6 million for next season on Monday, has re-signed with the Celtics on a long-term deal just one day into restricted free agency, according to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett.

According to the Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes, Bradley was signed to a four-year deal worth $32 million.

Bradley became a restricted free agent on Tuesday when the Celtics made their offer on Monday.

‘€œAvery’€™s a big part of our future,’€ Ainge said on Monday when asked about wanting to re-sign Bradley. ‘€œI think that you, obviously, need three guards who are going to play a significant amount of minutes.

‘€œI think Avery could be a very key player in us winning the championship. He does things that other players can’€™t do. His shooting continues to improve. We have all see in the past his terrific defensive abilities. I think he’€™s a big part of us.’€

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics began their two-a-day workouts Tuesday, leading up to Saturday’s opener of the Orlando Summer League in central Florida.

On Tuesday, the team announced the roster that will take part and released the five-game schedule.

The Celtics began their two-a-day workouts Tuesday, leading up to Saturday’s opener of the Orlando Summer League in central Florida.

On Tuesday, the team announced the roster that will take part and released the five-game schedule.

First round picks Marcus Smart and James Young will join current Celtics Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, Chris Johnson and Chris Babb as members of the Celtics entrant to the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League. They are joined on the roster by 2013 Celtics draft pick Colton Iverson, European veterans O.D. Anosike, Dairis Bertans, Edwin Jackson and rookie free agents Mike Moser, Devin Oliver and Daniel Coursey.

The team will be coached by assistant Jay Larranaga, a routine procedure in Summer League as GM Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens sit back and observe.

The Celtics’€™ first game in the Summer League will be Saturday, July 5 at 11:00 a.m. ET when they take on the Miami Heat. The Celtics’€™ five-game schedule in Orlando continues with match-ups against the Indiana Pacers on July 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET, the Detroit Pistons on July 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the Orlando Magic on July 10 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The final game is TBD on Friday July 11 and will be determined by the league standings. Under the format, each team will play five games over the seven-day event, with a championship day being played on the final day of the league.

A point system will establish the standings leading up to the final day, with eight points awarded each game based on: four points for winning the game and one point for winning a quarter (in the event of a tied quarter, each team will receive 0.5 points). In the event of ties in seeding heading into championship day, three tiebreakers will be in place: 1) total point differential; 2) total points allowed; 3) coin flip. For more information throughout the Summer League, log onto Celtics.com.

Celtics Summer League Roster

60 O.D. Anosike F/C 6′€™8 240 Siena/SIG Strasbourg (France)

52 Chris Babb G/F 6′€™5 225 Iowa State/Boston Celtics (NBA)

46 Dairis Bertans G 6′€™4 183 Latvia/Bilbao Basket (Spain)

63 Daniel Coursey F/C 6′€™10 220 Mercer

37 Colton Iverson C 7′€™0 255 Colorado State/Besiktas (Turkey)

47 Edwin Jackson G 6′€™3 201 France/ASVEL (France)

12 Chris Johnson G/F 6′€™6 201 Dayton/Boston Celtics (NBA)

56 Mike Moser F 6′€™8 210 Oregon

57 Devin Oliver F 6′€™7 225 Dayton

41 Kelly Olynyk F 7′€™0 238 Gonzaga/Boston Celtics (NBA)

26 Phil Pressey G 5′€™11 175 Missouri/Boston Celtics (NBA)

36 Marcus Smart G 6′€™4 220 Oklahoma State

13 James Young G/F 6′€™6 215 Kentucky

Summer League Head Coach: Jay Larranaga

Athletic Trainer: Ed Lacerte

Strength and Conditioning Coach: Bryan Doo

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

With NBA free agency opening Tuesday, we continue our annual examination of the options available to the Celtics at each position. Today’s focus: Centers. Unlike recent seasons, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is expected to have more flexibility than any summer since 2007 when the league’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted and the salary cap (an estimated $63.2 million) is officially set on July 10.

The Celtics have eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 for $48.5 million (Rajon Rondo $12.9M; Gerald Wallace $10.1M; Jeff Green $9.2M; Brandon Bass $6.9M; Joel Anthony $3.8M; Vitor Faverani $2.1M; Kelly Olynyk $2.1M; Jared Sullinger $1.4M) as well as $4.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young. Pending decisions on or by Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, the C’s could have as much as $10 million in cap space — or more if they use the stretch provision on Wallace.

Considering Faverani and Anthony are the only true centers on the roster, the Celtics should have every free agent 5 on their radar. Last year’s second-round pick, Colton Iverson, who played in Turkey this past season, is another option, but the C’s need a legitimate rim protector if they have any hope of making the playoffs this winter.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at their options, separating the current free agents into three categories.


Not only are the C’s lacking a starting 5 of any note, we’re now going on Year 4 in the search to replace Kendrick Perkins – and even he was more myth than Celtics legend. The current free agent crop, as usual, offers few realistic solutions in the paint, only stressing the importance of finding a rim protector at all costs.

Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe


Status: Restricted

2013-14: 2,690 min, 15.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 53.1 TS%, 18.1 PER

Why? The 6-foot-11, 253-pound southpaw has been a reliable force in the middle since entering the league in 2010, playing all but three games in his career.

Why not? As sound as he’s been, Monroe’s not an All-Star. Still, in order to pry him from the Pistons, it would take a max deal, and Detroit still might match it.


Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 2,655 min, 13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.5 bpg, 56.8 TS%, 17.6 PER

Why? The C’s interest in Gortat dates back to his days in Phoenix, and the Polish Hammer arguably enjoyed the best season of his career for the Wizards this past winter. The interest also appears to be me mutual.

Why not? The Wiz are intent on keeping Gortat, and he’ll also be linked to every team in need of a center (Miami?). Past his 30th birthday, he made $7.7 million last season and should make even more this winter.


Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 2,470 min, 13.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, 55.4 TS%, 15.7 PER

Why? Hawes shot 41.6 percent on 308 3-point attempts for the 76ers and Cavaliers in 2013-14, bringing a floor spreading element that Celtics coach Brad Stevens covets. The 7-footer also had his best year on the boards.

Why not? If it’s rim protection you seek, Hawes isn’t exactly Shaquille O’Neal in the paint. While he brings an attractive offensive element, he’s a big body who doesn’t exactly play like one opposite physical centers.

HOMELESS MEN: Channing Frye (2,312 min, 11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 55.5 TS%, 13.2 PER); Chris Andersen (1,396 min, 6.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 68.3 TS%, 18.5 PER); Jermaine O’Neal (883 min, 7.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 57.0 TS%, 15.3 PER); Chris Kaman (736 min, 10.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 bpg); Emeka Okafor (2,052 min, 9.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 bpg, 49.6 TS%, 15.8 PER).


If finding a starting center is so difficult, just imagine how hard it is to find a legitimate backup. Hence, Anthony’s $3.8 million salary. The Celtics have spent the past several seasons forcing natural 4′s into the 5 spot, but perhaps they’d be better suited investing in a less expensive 7-footer, whatever the risk.

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum


Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 516 min, 8.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.1 bpg, 45.6 TS%, 15.2 PER

Why? There’s a reason the Cavaliers and Pacers have taken a risk on Bynum despite his apparent apathy: He’s a 26-year-old who once averaged 19 and 12.

Why not? He missed an entire season in Philly (knee), got traded from Cleveland (immaturity) and sat out Indiana’s final 11 games (knee). Need we say more?


Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 1,007 min, 2.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 58.4 TS%, 9.7 PER

Why? After his surprising run with the Celtics in 2011-12, Ainge would have gladly brought the 7-foot shot blocker back for another season had the Timberwolves not offered a contract the C’s couldn’t possibly match.

Why not? Even in Boston, Stiemsma battled nagging injuries, and a strained MCL cost him 27 games for the Pelicans this season. He’s been waived by Minnesota and New Orleans in the span of nine months.


Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 212 min, 2.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 56.7 TS%, 12.4 PER

Why? In much the same way teams still hand over millions to Bynum, it’s hard not to hold out hope the former No. 1 overall pick will reach his potential if he can stay on the floor. And he’s still only 26.

Why not? The 7-footer spent three seasons sitting with a series of knee injuries, and he averaged just 9.2 minutes over 23 appearances for a Heat team that desperately could’ve used a healthy Oden’s services this past season.

HOMELESS MEN: Gustavo Ayon (429 min, 4.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 spg, 50.5 TS%, 12.9 PER); Lavoy Allen (1,072 min, 4.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 47.0 TS%, 12.5 PER).


Either not worth the asking price or not worth any price, these guys are a dime a dozen and wouldn’t be an upgrade over Faverani or any available center at the league minimum. Thanks, but no thanks.

Cole Aldrich: 330 min, 2.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 62.0 TS%, 19.1 PER
Aron Baynes: 491 min, 3.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 46.7 TS%, 9.7 PER
Andris Biedrins: 45 min, 0.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 41.2 TS%, 2.4 PER
Marcus Camby: 250 min, 1.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 34.2 TS%, 8.6 PER
Jason Collins: 172 min, 1.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 48.5 TS%, 4.1 PER
Aaron Gray: 355 min, 1.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 46.6 TS%, 7.8 PER
Ryan Hollins: 482 min, 2.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 73.0 TS%, 11.9 PER
Bernard James: 146 min, 0.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 50.3 TS%, 8.5 PER
Nazr Mohammed: 562 min, 1.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 44.5 TS%, 10.1 PER

The Celtics simply cannot enter this season with Faverani, Anthony and Iverson manning the middle and have any chance of emerging from the lottery. Obviously, Monroe would be the ideal scenario, but Ainge would have to work a bit of salary cap magic in order to free up enough space to offer him a max contract. And even then the Pistons could match their offer. Gortat and Hawes are also intriguing options, although they’ll have plenty of suitors, too.

In short, the available rim protectors are few and far between, illustrating why the Celtics would have assumed the risk in drafting Joel Embiid had he fallen to sixth in the draft order. Are Bynum and Oden worth the risk? Quite possibly. Otherwise, you’re looking at a 31-year-old Okafor or the return of the Stiemboat as potential upgrades.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach