OFFSEASON

Doc on Sullinger's All-Star snub: 'He'll make it eventually'

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Doc on Sullinger's All-Star snub: 'He'll make it eventually'

BOSTON Kevin Garnett, who was voted in as an All-Star starter, will be the lone representative for the Boston Celtics during All-Star weekend with Jared Sullinger not being named to the 18-player roster (nine rookies, nine second-year player) for the Rising Stars challenge.
"He'll make it eventually," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Maybe not that team, but he'll be in the league a long time and I think he'll be happier with that in the long run."
The rookies chosen to the team were comprised of three big men -- New Orleans' Anthony Davis, Detroit's Andre Drummond and Ceveland's Tyler Zeller.
Sullinger said in an earlier interview that he wasn't giving too much thought to whether he made the team or not.
"That stuff is nice and everything, but I want to just keep getting better and help this team win games," he told CSNNE.com.
Indeed, Sullinger's growth as a player has been a factor in him evolving from a player off the bench into the team's starting power forward.
"He has improved as a player, but I already thought he was good when he came in," Rivers said. "I would love to say it was us, but it was him. He does all the work, all the reps and he had most of that before he got here.
"It took him some time to get comfortable with what we're doing and with himself in the league," Rivers added. "That's the biggest thing. But he's been terrific for us."
Sullinger's knack for offensive rebounding has been one of strengths thus far, along with his scoring touch around the basket.
However, Rivers also likes the fact that Sullinger is a good passer, something he recognized when Sullinger was in high school playing in AAU tournaments against Rivers' son, Austin, who plays for the New Orleans Hornets.
"Probably the college coaches who played against him realized he was a good passer," Rivers said. "But the NBA probably didn't know that. He's been trapped his entire life. He's been bigger than everybody since high school, so I've seen him trapped and figure it out and make passes through it."
But like most rookies -- especially big men -- Sullinger's defense has been a work in progress.
"He does a good job of fouling," quipped Rivers who then added, "He's been terrific. He's very, very smart and I think he learns each guy each night each time he plays someone different. He's been fooled a lot and the next time we play that same team, he's not. That tells you he's learning."

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.