OFFSEASON

The age of Garnett is noteworthy

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The age of Garnett is noteworthy

Shhh. Don't bring it up to Kevin Garnett, but he turns 36 on Saturday.
Why the hush-hushness of his birthday?
Garnett is tired of hearing about his age. He doesnt let his years define him on the court, and he doesnt want others to either.
The big man is averaging 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game this postseason. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Garnett posted 27 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double-double and seventh of the playoffs.
He isnt surprised by his performance, and doesnt really appreciate those who doubted he was capable of it in the first place.
I take this very seriously, Garnett said last week following the Celtics' Game 6 elimination of the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. So you guys calling me old, that number just fuels the fire. You all have no idea what you are doing when you do that. So I appreciate you all. Whoevers writing the old comments and all that, keep doing that. I appreciate that. I dont read your columns, but it gets back to me. All right?
The fact of the matter is, though, playing at such a high level at this point in his career is noteworthy. Not because it was improbable, but because such a small number of players continue to do so when they are turning 36 and in their 17th year in the NBA.
Garnett was one of 12 players born in 1976 to play in the NBA this season. Tony Battie, Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, Brian Skinner, Earl Boykins, Brad Miller, Antawn Jamison, Andre Miller, Eduardo Najera, Raja Bell, and Francisco Elson are the others. Garnett is younger than Battie, Elson, Andre Miller, Brad Miller, and Duncan.
Garnett was the first player born in 1976 to be drafted. He entered the NBA in 1996, the only member of his draft class born that year. As a result, he leads all players born the same year in minutes played. (His 45,779 minutes are over 6,000 more than those of Duncan.) Garnett ranks second among all active players in minutes played behind only Jason Kidd.
There are only three players older than Garnett still playing at this point in the postseason -- Juwan Howard (39), Derek Fisher (37), and teammate Ray Allen (36).
Garnett ranks 9th overall in postseason scoring (20.3ppg). He is the oldest of the top 23 scorers. Duncan, one month is senior, is ranked 24th.
See how Garnetts postseason stat line (17th season, 20.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists) compares to how Hall of Fame big men performed in the playoffs at age 35:
Charles Barkley (15th season): 23.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Karl Malone (14th season): 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists
Kevin McHale (13th season): 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Hakeem Olajuwon (14th season): 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Garnett is 1-0 on his birthday. He played on his 28th birthday (May 19, 2004), Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings. He celebrated the day with a 32-point, 21-rebound double-double en route to the Timberwolves 83-80 elimination victory.
Garnett shares a May 19 birthday with Dolph Schayes, Bill Laimbeer, Mario Chalmers, Richard Dumas, Butch Feher, Hamed Haddadi, Brian Skinner, and Michael Smith.

OFFSEASON

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

  STARTERS BENCH RESERVES ON THE BUBBLE
FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
 
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

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Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

Bulpett reported that Celtics' talks with the Philadelphia 76ers involving a deal for Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor have, according to sources, grown "stale" and that the moves Saturday put 2014 draft pick James Young's roster spot in jeopardy.

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 

 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.