Sullinger reminds Garnett of former C's center Perkins

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Sullinger reminds Garnett of former C's center Perkins

WALTHAM Although Kendrick Perkins didn't put up big numbers while with the Boston Celtics, he brought something to the floor that the C's definitely needed.

Rookie Jared Sullinger isn't the same kind of player, but he too has shown the potential to have a similarly important, but stealth-like impact this season.

"He reminds me of Perk," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's not obviously the defensive player that Perk was, but as far as IQ, moving the ball and being unselfish, he's a great teammate."

Perkins, who was the starting center on Boston's 2008 title squad, was traded to Oklahoma City in 2010.

When told about Garnett's comparing him to Perkins, Sullinger responded, "Kevin doesn't give anybody praise; it means he likes you, I guess."

There's a lot to like about Sullinger, who continues to prove that him slipping to No. 21 in last June's NBA draft will be remembered as a gaffe on the part of several GMs.

Coming off his first start of the season at Washington, Sullinger will likely get the starting nod again when the C's host the Wizards on Wednesday.

On Saturday against Washington, the 6-foot-9 burly forward had four points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot.

But like Perkins, numbers don't do justice to the impact that his mere presence had as a positive for the Celtics.

"Jared understands what we're doing. He's a no-nonsense guy," Garnett said. "The young fella comes in, does his job, does what you tell him."

And the message for Sullinger these days is two-fold: rebound and defend.

Rebounding hasn't been much of an issue, especially on the offensive glass where he has already distinguished himself as the best player the C's have in that category.

Although he's eighth on the team in minutes played this season, Sullinger ranks second (five) in offensive rebounds, and eighth overall among rookies.

But like most first-year players, his defense is very much a work in progress.

And work is what he appears to be all about these days, evident by him being among the last players off the floor after most practices.

Sullinger seems to understand that for him to be the kind of player he envisions himself developing into, he must continue to work on his game.

"I feel really good," Sullinger told CSNNE.com. "Just have to understand my role, and that's rebounding. Scoring is going to be there at times, but right now everything has to go through Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Kevin (Garnett)."

Looking at the talent that's around him, Sullinger has no problem being a role player.

"Every basketball team, you have your superstars and then you have your role players who really came into their own," he said. "You just have to know who you are playing with."

The C's certainly know who they are playing with in Sullinger - a rookie who is wise beyond his years.

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

David Backes on the Felger and Mazz show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and simulcast on CSN, tells fill-in hosts Jim Murray and Greg Dickerson there has also been some discussion with the Bruins of putting him on the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Watch the video above for more. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

BOSTON – We have all seen what Kevin Durant can do in games. He’s a near 7-footer with lethal shooting range who, on most nights, makes the game look so easy.
 
Still, he is often praised for his work ethic in practice and offseason workouts, something Celtics guard/forward James Young knows from first-hand experience.
 
Last summer, Young spent time working out in the summer with Durant, who, like Young, is represented by Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports.
 
Durant, the top free agent on the market this summer, has narrowed his list of potential teams to play for next season to six.
 
The Celtics made the cut and will get a face-to-face meeting with Durant this weekend.
 
You can add Young to the list of Celtics who would love to call Durant a teammate.
 
“He would mean a lot to the team,” Young said. “He would help the team out.”
 
The in-game production generated by Durant speaks for itself.
 
In nine NBA seasons, he has career averages of 27.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game.
 
But just as impressive is what the 6-foot-11 forward does out of season.
 
“He was focused the whole time; 110 percent,” said Young, referring to working out with Durant last summer. “I try to do that in my workouts and just go from there.”
 
Durant, who is expected to meet with the Celtics on Saturday, will reportedly make a decision on July 4.  

Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

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Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

The Bruins lost a number of free agents on after the market opened at noontime. None bigger than Loui Eriksson signing a six-year, $36 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks to play with the Sedin Twins.

It’s the exact level of term and salary that Eriksson said he was looking for from the Bruins in contract negotiations around the trade deadline, but the Bruins never really moved from their offer of a four-year deal at comparable money.

The Bruins will miss the 30-goal production and solid all-around, two-way play from Eriksson as he heads to the West Coast, but they also traded in a passive player in Eriksson for an in-your-face, physical leader in David Backes on a five-year deal. 

Backes is much more of a Bruins-style player than Eriksson could have ever hoped to have been. That part of it is a win for a Bruins fan base that wants intensity and physicality from their players.

The Bruins also watched Jonas Gustavsson sign a one-year, $800,000 contract with Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers, Brett Connolly sign a one-year deal for $850,000 with the Washington Capitals, Zach Trotman signs a one-year deal for $950,000 and Lee Stempniak ink a two-year, $5 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes after being a non-contract training camp invite with New Jersey last season.

Sweeney had maintained as late as Thursday that he was still keeping ties with many of Boston’s free agents prior to the noon opening of the free agent market, but clearly that’s changed.

“We’ll continue to have talks and sort of figure out where things may go. We’ve had talks with a number of players to see what they would like to see as the opportunity here or what we see as a fit,” said Sweeney on the Torey Krug conference call on Thursday night. “I haven’t ruled absolutely any of that out; just haven’t found common ground and obviously it gets harder and harder as we go further along in the process.”