OFFSEASON

Garnett: 'If it's up to me, I'll live and die green.'

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Garnett: 'If it's up to me, I'll live and die green.'

HOUSTON Kevin Garnett said he has no plans of waiving his no-trade clause, a position that - if he sticks to it - would prevent the Boston Celtics from moving him as part of a package with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Garnett responded with a "No" on Saturday when asked if he would waive his no-trade clause.

He later added, "If it's up to me, I'll live and die green."

Uh, it kind of is your call KG.

That's the beauty of being one of the few NBA players with the ability to veto any trade that they're involved in.

When reminded of this, Garnett said, "OK then. What we talking about?"

Still, there's no guarantee that Garnett will feel the same way if Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, approaches him with a possible trade scenario that could only happen if Garnett agrees to be traded.

Of the teams out there, the Clippers are one of the few that might tempt Garnett to have a change of heart and leave Boston.

And Chris Paul, who has been consulted on most if not all moves made by the Clippers, is very much a fan of Garnett and has made no secret this weekend about wanting to play with him.

"He's one of the guys I genuinely appreciate and I've always said this, I'd love to have KG on my team," Paul said on Friday. "Because he's focused; he's focused and I love that about him."

A trade to the Clippers would move Garnett close to his offseason home in Malibu, Calif., and the Clippers are one of the top teams in the Western Conference now.

Already considered a threat out West, the addition of Garnett would cement their status as an NBA title contender this season.

But such a deal would also signal that the C's no longer see themselves among the top teams in the East, and that dreaded 'R' word - rebuild - will surely be in effect.

The reported deal would send DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe to Boston.

Bledsoe is a more than capable backup who has shown signs of having starter-like potential. In Boston's 106-104 win over the Clippers on Feb. 3, Bledsoe had 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds filling in for an injured Paul.

While Jordan has been among the factors elevating the Clippers into the upper echelon of Western Conference teams, Boston would be taking a major downgrade in terms of the defensive presence lost by Garnett relative to Jordan's game defensively.

The 6-foot-11 big man has a defensive rating of 102.9.

Among the current Celtics, the only Boston player with a worst defensive rating is Fab Melo who has played in just two games this season.

And for a franchise that prides itself on strong defensively, the addition of Jordan would indeed be a move looking ahead to the future as opposed to the present.

It's a risky proposition no matter how you look at it.

But in the end, the only person that matters in all this is Garnett who because of his no-trade clause, may very well hold the fate of not one but two franchises, in his hands.

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.