OFFSEASON

Garnett: 'I'm going to do better'

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Garnett: 'I'm going to do better'

INDIANAPOLIS Kevin Garnett had a noticeable limp following Friday night's loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Adding even more mystery to it was his response to a question regarding which ankle was giving him problems.

"Y'all have a good night," Garnett said in ending his post-game interview.

Whether he plays or not tonight against the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will continue to go with his '5-5-5' plan for using Garnett, a plan Rivers admits he's not "in love" with having to use.

The plan involves keeping Garnett on the floor for five minutes straight during three different stints, in each half.

The problem so far, Rivers said, has been Garnett being ineffective for the bulk of the five-minutes, but seemingly turning it on shortly before he is to be subbed out.

"Three times (against Chicago), giving you nothing for about four minutes," Rivers said. "And then right at the fifth minute when he comes out, he makes a shot. And then your every impulse, keep him in. Then you risk the rest of the game. So it's just a tough call right now. I still like it; I don't love it, but it's what we have to do."

The purpose is to get Garnett to be a more assertive, more aggressive player offensively to start games and quarters with him knowing that he's going to get a break after about five minutes.

Whether you go by his production or the team's (lack of) success, it's clear that the plan isn't working nearly as well as the C's were hoping.

Garnett is averaging 12.7 points per game. If he maintained that average this season, it would be his lowest scoring average since Big Ticket was known as the Kid who dropped 10.4 points per game as a rookie in 1996.

Lack of scoring is a direct byproduct of less-than-average shooting and fewer shot attempts.

Garnett, a career 51.5 percent shooter from the field, is connecting on 49.5 percent of his shots this season - his lowest shooting percentage since coming to Boston. He's also taking 10.3 shots per game, which would be the fewest shot attempts for him since his rookie season.

And while there are plenty of logical explanations for Garnett's reduced production at a time when the Celtics need him to deliver more, he's placing the blame for his slow start squarely on himself.

"It starts with the man in the mirror; I definitely gotta do better," Garnett said. "I'm going to do better, watch tons of film and just continue to try and better myself. That's all I can do, and continue to encourage teammates and continue to be the glue or one of the pieces of the glue, and just stay supportive. You don't win anything the first month. I do know that. It doesn't help when you're losing, but adversity says a lot about who you are. I'd rather go through it now versus later."

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics secure meeting with Dwight Howard

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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 Johnson and Jerebko as Celtics pursue Durant

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Future uncertain for Johnson and Jerebko as Celtics pursue 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.