Celtics roster: A work in progress

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Celtics roster: A work in progress

WALTHAM As the Boston Celtics went about rebuilding their roster for this upcoming season, Jeff Green purposely stood to the side, soaking it all in.

His contract as well as the contract for another soon-to-be Celtic Jason Terry, remain unsigned.

Why?

Because Danny Ainge and the C's, while confident that they have enough pieces to make a serious run at Banner 18 next year, are continuing to explore ways to add one more impact player on the perimeter during free agency.

And the contracts of Green and Terry may help.

"We are still trying to work out the details, have some things we're working out with Jason and Jeff," said Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "We hope to resolve those sometime in the near future."

Ainge later added, "we're hopeful that it'll get done next week. We think that there's a good chance we get a deal done."

There's no doubt the C's are extremely confident that both players will don Celtics jerseys this year.

If there was any serious doubt, there's no way that Ainge and company would have had them at the practice facility in front of the media on Saturday, the day that the team announced re-signing Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox which was first reported by CSNNE.com.

Boston plans to sign Terry with a starting salary of about 5 million which is equal to the mid-level exception.

However, if Boston can work out a sign-and-trade with Dallas that will get Terry a comparable salary, Boston could then use the mid-level exception it had slotted for Terry, to add another player.

This all became possible because of Allen's decision to not return to Boston, and the opportunity that his exit created.

When Ray Allen decided to play for Miami and not return to Boston, his departure - and the 6 million salary Boston was willing to pay - both went away.

Because Boston had Allen's Bird rights, they could have exceeded the salary cap in order to re-sign him.

With the current commitments Boston has, they could not offer another player anything more than the bi-annual exception (1.95 million) or a minimum-salaried contract.

However, a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks for Terry could very well provide Boston with the kind of flexibility to go out and add another perimeter player. But if the Mavericks decided to renounce their rights to Terry, that would rule out a sign-and-trade scenario and thus force the Celtics to sign Terry via the mid-level exception.

Although both Courtney Lee and O.J. Mayo are players Boston has strong interest in, a league source told CSNNE.com that the C's have a much better shot at Lee who could potentially be signed with all or part of the C's mid-level exception if Boston could manage beforehand acquiring Terry via sign-and-trade.

And as far as this all impacting Jeff Green, his agent David Falk has indicated that his client has agreed to take slightly less than his fair market value in order to help the Celtics build a championship roster - something Green very much wants to be a part of this season.

Depending on what the final dollars look like with Terry and potentially another player acquired with the mid-level exception, that might result in some minor tweaking to Green's contract.

"Jeff had a life-changing situation," said Falk, referring to Green's season-ending heart procedure earlier this year. "For him being here, probably giving up several million dollars a year, to be here. My job is to understand that every client is different. I don't think one is right, one is wrong. I'm proud of him (Green) for having that kind of maturity, for not letting the money cloud your judgement. It's been a mutual love affair. They love having him here. He loves being here. So I'm thrilled; it makes my job easy."

If Boston fails to execute a sign-and-trade, they will look into lower-priced players to add to the roster. Former Celtic Mickael Pietrus is a potential candidate for the team's bi-annual exception or possibly be signed to the veteran's minimum.

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”