OFFSEASON

C's must walk fine line with aggressive play

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C's must walk fine line with aggressive play

MIAMI The Boston Celtics have every intention of being more aggressive in tonight's Game Two matchup with the Miami Heat.

But if you're looking for a Dexter Pittman 2.0 moment, or a Udonis Haslem retaliation, WWE-style takedown, you will be disappointed.

"We're not trying to do that," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "We don't want to, hopefully, foul."

Following the C's Game One loss, point guard Rajon Rondo talked about the need for the Celtics to be more physical tonight and at times make Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade "hit the deck."

Not surprisingly, Rondo's comments took on a life of their own.

Both Rondo and the C's were in clarification mode afterward.

"You guys take the words and you run with it," Rondo said. "But this is basketball. Nothing dirty about I hit the deck every day. You go to the hole, you're going to get fouled, you're going to hit the deck. I didn't say flagrant. I didn't say take them out, play dirty. It's basketball."

Specifically, the Celtics want to take away, by Rivers' count, the 19 uncontested or lightly contested lay-ups by the Heat.

"We're not saying we want to foul them 19 times," Rivers said. "We don't want them to get to the basket. When we say we have to take away lay-ups, we're not saying we need to take away them, r take out them. We're saying we need to slide our feet, move them off, keep them out of the paint."

But there is a balance that has to be struck between playing with the kind of force needed to compete, but not getting into a foul-inducing, hacking brand of basketball that at times was prevalent in Miami's previous playoff series against Indiana.

"It's not about getting technicals or things of that nature," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "It's about being a little bit more scrappy to loose balls; not allowing layups, that kind of physicality, boxing out, no second shots. Getting your hands dirty in the paint, getting tough baskets. That type of stuff. It's not about going chest-to-chest or getting technical fouls. That's not toughness to me at all."

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics secure meeting with Dwight Howard

Report: Celtics secure meeting with Dwight Howard

In February, the Boston Celtics were involved in trade deadline talks with the Houston Rockets involving center Dwight Howard.

It appears the team still has interest in the free-agent big man. 

According to ESPN, the Celtics have secured a meeting with Howard after July 1.

Howard, 30, became a free agent after declining a player option that would have paid him more the $23 million in 2016-17 

OFFSEASON

Future uncertain for Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko as Celtics pursue Kevin Durant

Future uncertain for Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko as Celtics pursue Kevin Durant

BOSTON -- When you’re the Boston Celtics and you have your sights set on a star like Kevin Durant, the potential impact on your roster is undeniable.

That’s a good thing, right?

Well . . . not exactly.

One of the options that the Celtics are considering during the free agency period is whether to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before July 3 which would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.

But here’s the problem.

Boston could potentially waive Johnson and Jerebko, fail to get Durant or another elite free agent and see the duo gone for nothing in return while they play their way into a big contract toiling in the NBA’s basement with one of the league’s worst teams.

How you ask?

Multiple league sources contacted by CSNNE.com Tuesday night indicated that if the Celtics waive both players, it’s “very likely” that both will be claimed off waivers.

According to a league office official, waiver priority goes to the team with the worst record attempting to claim a player.

And what team had the worst record in the NBA last season?

Yup. The 10-win Philadelphia 76ers.

And what team was right behind them, or ahead depending on how you look at things?

The lowly, 17-win Los Angeles Lakers.

Johnson is due $12 million next season while Jerebko is due to earn $5 million, chump change in this new age of the NBA with the 2016-2017 salary cap expected to be around $94 million.

In addition, both players would join clubs in contract years. Couple that with each being relatively productive and there’s the potential for each player to have a really big season.

Johnson was the Celtics’ top rim-protector last season, in addition to being a solid pick-and-roll defender. He also averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds with 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game. 

And Jerebko shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and finished up the playoffs in the starting lineup.

The Celtics are well aware of how valuable both players were to Boston’s success last season, and how their production relative to their contracts makes them extremely important to whatever team they play for.

To lose them for what would essentially be a lottery ticket in the Durant sweepstakes, is certainly a gamble that it remains to be seen if the Celtics are willing to take.

Best-case scenario for Boston is to know where they stand with Durant within the first 24 hours of free agency which would then allow them time to make a more informed decision about Johnson and Jerebko’s futures.

As you can imagine, the Celtics are as eager as any team to know what Durant plans to do this summer.

Because the way things are starting to take shape with Boston’s pursuit of the former league MVP, he’s going to have an impact on the Celtics’ roster one way or another.