Celtics stand pat at trade deadline


Celtics stand pat at trade deadline

SAN FRANCISCO The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the Boston Celtics are just as undersized as they were before.

Even after the 3 p.m. (EST) deadline passed, there was still the possibility that a team like the C's may have had a deal in the works.

However, a league source indicated that was not the case with Boston.

By standing pat, the Celtics are rolling the dice that their "small ball" roster will continue to find ways to win despite being at a size disadvantage most nights.

Since returning from the all-star break, Boston is 8-2 which includes a 105-103 win at Golden State on Wednesday.

However, the desire to add a big seemed as though it would be stronger with the news that Chris Wilcox would need heart surgery and therefore miss the remaining 2011-2012 season.

The biggest hold-up in getting a deal done, according to multiple sources, was Danny Ainge insisting that any deal involving his core players would return some combination of young talent and at least one future draft pick.

As the deadline closed in, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were the two Celtics garnering most of the attention.

A league source said the Portland Trail Blazers were one of the teams that had "strong" interest in both players, but would only seriously consider such a deal if they received a first-round pick in return from Boston.

That wasn't going to happen.

The Blazers ultimately moved on with a flurry of separate deals, which included one in which they reportedly sent Gerald Wallace to New Jersey in exchange for Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a protected first-round pick.

So where does that leave the C's?

With Wilcox out for the season, the Celtics may seek a medicaldisabled player exception which would achieve the two goals the Celtics have in mind now -- free up a roster spot without breaking up the roster.

Boston has yet to speak with absolute certainty as to what the future holds for the team and Jermaine O'Neal (wrist). O'Neal is contemplating season-ending wrist surgery along with cortisone shots that would keep him off the court for a couple weeks afterward.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has said he isn't planning on having O'Neal back, but added it would be a "bonus" if he did return and contribute to the already paper-thin frontcourt.

Boston's best shot at adding an impact big man now lies with New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman.

The Hornets have been trying to trade him for weeks, but could not find a deal that they felt was good enough.

Kaman, who is due more than 14 million this season, is a prime candidate for a buy-out.

That would allow him to choose to play for any team he wants to, a list that will include the Celtics.

Boston will have stiff competition from Miami and San Antonio, two teams that could also benefit from the 29-year-old center who has career averages of 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

But of the three teams, the C's offer him the greatest opportunity to play major minutes. In addition, the Celtics will have significant salary cap space this summer when Kaman becomes an unrestricted free agent.

In addition, it would afford the nine-year veteran a chance at the being in the playoffs for only the second time (2005-2006, Los Angeles Clippers) in his career.


Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft


Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics turned quite a few heads when they used two of their three, first-round picks on International players.

They were part of a record-setting night for international players, with 15 being selected in the first round – the most ever in NBA history.

But like many international draft picks, it is far from a given that you’ll see either of Boston’s international first rounder picks Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic who were selected with the 16th and 23rd picks, respectively.

While it’s not uncommon for teams to draft international players in the first round and do so with the plan being to keep them overseas for another year or two, the potential hold-up for Boston’s two international picks has more to do with coming to terms on a buyout amount with their current teams.

“We’ve had initial discussions with their representatives,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, when I asked him about it during the team’s press conference to introduce the newest Celtics on Friday. “We have not concluded anything yet. We’re still in that discussion. And I’m not sure about summer (league).”

While it remains an option, a league source told CSNNE.com that it’s unlikely that either player will participate in either of Boston’s summer league squads which will play in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ainge agrees that there are a number of positives one can take from drafting an overseas player in the first round.

But the decision by Boston to draft Yabusele and Zizic in the first round had a lot to do with one thing – talent.

“The reason that these two guys are here, … is because they’re good players,” Ainge said. “The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the International top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They’ve earned that reputation. They’re both very productive. Guerson very productive and Ante very good rebounding … now we’re trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. We’re working with their representatives on that plan.”

Yabusele, a 6-8, 275-pound power forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. While appearing in 34 games last season, he grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Zizic, a 6-11, 250-pound center, distinguished himself as one of the better players in the Adriatic League this past season. He was voted by fans, media and coaches as the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect after averaging 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field.

Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"


Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

BUFFALO -- With it appearing that Loui Eriksson is all but gone from the Bruins with the July 1 opening of free agency around the corner, B’s general manager Don Sweeney must find a way to replace the second-leading point man from last year’s hockey club. With or without a suitable Eriksson replacement at right wing via trade or free agency, the Bruins will also need greater production from their returning wingers on the right side.

That means 20-year-old David Pastrnak needs to have a breakthrough season after the Bruins knocked away attempts to extract him in trade discussions for a top-4 defenseman, and Jimmy Hayes needs to rebound from a streaky, disappointing first season in Boston. The 6-foot-6 Hayes slumped to 13 goals and 29 points in 75 games, and was a team-worst minus-12 while going through long stretches where it was hard to even notice him on the ice.

His GM said that needs to change next season with the Bruins counting on him to play more consistently, and be willing to play the big man’s game.

“We have internal candidates that might have to step up, and David is a player like that…Jimmy is a player like that. There’s no question we’re not a complete team right now,” said Sweeney. “So we’ll go to work now, and that could be through free agency, or through potential trade stuff. It could also be about the excitement if somebody pops from the development side of things. I think Jimmy had a pretty start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that. We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player.

“He played a lot with Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

As far as the free agent options mentioned by Sweeney, Kyle Okposo and Troy Brouwer would be names to watch closely as they both fight the Black and Gold mold of winger with size, strength and finishing ability.

Clearly there’s no choice but for the 26-year-old Hayes to have a bounce-back season given that he’s signed for two years in Boston at $2.3 million per season, and that they need him with the right side of their forward group in flux. 

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday


Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available