Celtics waive Joseph, Varnado; position selves for multiplayer trade

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Celtics waive Joseph, Varnado; position selves for multiplayer trade

NEW YORK In the first of what will likely be more moves by the Boston Celtics, the C's have waived rookies Jarvis Varnado and second-round pick Kris Joseph.

Varnado's departure was expected with the Jan. 10 deadline for contracts to be guaranteed and the C's not seeing him as a player that fit into their plans.

But Joseph being waived caught many - including his agent Chris Luchey - off guard.

"I wasn't totally shocked, because you know this is part of the business," he told CSNNE.com. "But yeah, it's definitely disappointing."

Although the Celtics have shown improvement of late, it is clear that the front office believes they still need a piece or two to add to the mix in order to play at the level they believe they should be at.

That more than anything is why Joseph's agent believes his client is no longer a Celtic.

"There are certain organizations like the Celtics, like the Los Angeles Lakers, that have a certain expectation every year," Luchey said. "When they aren't there, they look to make changes or position themselves to make changes. You might say Kris is a sacrificial lamb because the team he's with, isn't doing as well as they were expected to."

And the improvements that the Celtics are looking to make won't likely come by picking up players waived by other teams.

Two league sources contacted on Sunday said that the Celtics will look to bolster their roster via a multi-player trade.

And now that the C's are starting to play better, the C's will have more attractive trading pieces to work with.

While it's unlikely the Celtics will look to move any member of their big Three - Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - league sources confirmed that there's "growing" interest in Courtney Lee who might become more expendable with the return of Avery Bradley.

Brandon Bass is another possible Celtic on the move, one league source said.

"But it's not like the Celtics are shopping those guys," the second source said. "They have some good players who haven't played as well I think as those players would want or what the Celtics expected."

As for Joseph, Luchey told him to get away for a couple days and then the two will sit down and figure out what his next step will be.

And while Luchey acknowledges he doesn't know specifically what the C's next move will be, they are positioning themselves to handle any kind of trade whether it be small or a blockbuster one.

"In this business when you're talking trades, sometimes you need a roster spot or two to make it happen," Luchey said. "And clearly the Celtics are able to do that now."

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

BOSTON – When the fourth quarter rolled around on Friday night, the Boston Celtics found themselves in a down-to-the-wire fight with the Sacramento Kings. 

It was the kind of game that in the past has brought out the scrappy, get-it-done-somehow brand of basketball that has in many ways come to define the Celtics under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens. 

And it was on full display Friday night as the Celtics made all the big plays at both ends of the floor down the stretch to beat the Sacramento Kings, 97-92. 

After Sacramento cut Boston’s lead to 90-87, Al Horford drained a 3-pointer to make it a two-possession game again. 

Isaiah Thomas came up with a pair of free throws that turned out to be huge, because shortly after he made them the Kings got a 3-pointer from DeMarcus Cousins that made it a 95-92 game.

The Kings had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth when Horford was credited with his sixth block of the game, this time on DeMarcus Cousins.

Horford was immediately fouled and went to the free throw line where he sealed the victory by making a pair.

Those were the kind of plays we saw often last season being made by the Celtics who finished in a tie for the third-best record in the East. 

This year, not so much. 

“For the most part we got what we wanted (in the fourth quarter) and we got the stops we needed even,” Thomas said. 

Which is the kind of game Jae Crowder and the rest of the guys who have been here awhile, have grown accustomed to.

“We got back to being the aggressive team,” Crowder said. “We came out and imposed our will early; that helped. But if the game comes down to what it was tonight, we have to be the team that comes out on top. It was like a playoff game, real physical. We have to grit it out, grind it out.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

So this is what an ultra-aggressive Al Horford looks like? The four-time All-Star had a season-high 26 points which included knocking down four three-pointers to go with eight rebounds and six blocked shots – yes, six blocked shots.

DeMarcus Cousins

While his fiery temper hasn’t died down completely, his incredible offensive skills and brute strength is what folks are talking more about, finally. He led the Kings with a game-high 28 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and four blocked shots.  

 

STUDS

Isaiah Thomas

His streak of being Boston’s outright scoring leader ended at 14 games, but he’s more than happy to take a back seat for one night if it means getting a victory. Horford led the charge on Friday night, but Thomas still chipped in with 20 points, seven assists and two steals. 

Matt Barnes

Although he missed eight of his 11 shots from the field, the 36-year-old Barnes was rewarded for his hustle and effort as he finished with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

Jae Crowder

Boston needed tough plays to be made on Friday and Crowder was up the challenge all night. He finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Good things happened when he was on the floor, evident by his game-high plus/minus of +15.

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

He finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting but the Kings needed more from their second-leading scorer who finished almost seven points below his 19.6 points per game average. That stands out on a night when the Kings lost by just five points.