OFFSEASON

Pietrus: 'My heart is still for Boston'

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Pietrus: 'My heart is still for Boston'

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mickael Pietrus is well aware of Ray Allen's decision to sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to the Boston Celtics for what would have been a sixth season.

In choosing the Heat, Allen signed for significantly less money than he would have received if he had returned to Boston.

Ironically, Pietrus may find himself in a similar dilemma if he returns to the team he desperately wants to play for - the Celtics.

Although the 30-year-old wing has yet to receive another offer, there's a good chance that another team will be willing to pony up more than the C's initial offer.

That leaves Pietrus to work towards Plan A an B.

Plan A being to return to Boston, while B would be to prepare as though that might not happen.

"It's up to Danny (Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations)," Pietrus told CSNNE.com in a phone interview on Saturday. "It's not up to me. You know my heart is still for Boston. I still want to be there and bring home Banner 18."

Allen's departure certainly makes that a more realistic possibility.

But the Celtics have their eyes set on a number of possible replacements for Allen, a pool of talent that includes but is not limited to, Pietrus.

"There will be a lot of good players looking for work this summer," Ainge said.

The C's are likely out of the price range for O.J. Mayo and Louis Wiliams who are both free agents and still in search of a team.

Boston does have a shot at landing players such as Courtney Lee, Josh Howard and former Celtic Gerald Green who are all free agents that should come at a more reasonable price than the Mayo's and Williams' of the world.

Meanwhile, Pietrus will be as patient as he can be, hoping that his agent Bill McCandless gets a call from Ainge offering a contract.

McCandless told CSNNE.com that he had a "very cordial" conversation with Ainge on Friday, and had plans to talk with other teams this weekend.

"Mickael wants to come back to Boston," McCandless said. "The Celtics know this; their fans know this. Everyone knows. It's just a matter of whether we can get a deal done to make that happen."

Like Allen, Pietrus underwent offseason surgery to correct an injury (right knee) that had been nagging him all season.

Pietrus had surgery previously on the same knee, but his recovery proved to be problematic which was in part why the Phoenix Suns bought him out and thus allowed him to join with the Celtics. In his lone season in Boston, Pietrus became an instant hit with his teammates and Celtics Nation in part by correctly predicting the C's would eventually make a strong playoff run despite a less-than-stellar start to the season.

They did just that, advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before being eliminated in seven games by the Heat.

Although Pietrus' energy and as Doc Rivers puts it, "great spirit" were positives for the ball club, his struggles physically with the knee limited his impact at both ends of the floor.

"I was never 100 percent all year," Pietrus acknowledged. "Next couple weeks, I'll start running and start basketball and doing what I do in the summertime to get better. And with my knee better, I should be a decent player."

Having had surgery on his right knee on June 13, Pietrus is confident he can regain his pre-injury form and help the Celtics make another deep playoff run which he still believes will end with another title in Boston.

"The team goal - Banner 18 - that's what I'm about," Pietrus said. "That's what I want."

OFFSEASON

Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

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Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

BOSTON – We have all seen what Kevin Durant can do in games. He’s a near 7-footer with lethal shooting range who, on most nights, makes the game look so easy.
 
Still, he is often praised for his work ethic in practice and offseason workouts, something Celtics guard/forward James Young knows from first-hand experience.
 
Last summer, Young spent time working out in the summer with Durant, who, like Young, is represented by Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports.
 
Durant, the top free agent on the market this summer, has narrowed his list of potential teams to play for next season to six.
 
The Celtics made the cut and will get a face-to-face meeting with Durant this weekend.
 
You can add Young to the list of Celtics who would love to call Durant a teammate.
 
“He would mean a lot to the team,” Young said. “He would help the team out.”
 
The in-game production generated by Durant speaks for itself.
 
In nine NBA seasons, he has career averages of 27.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game.
 
But just as impressive is what the 6-foot-11 forward does out of season.
 
“He was focused the whole time; 110 percent,” said Young, referring to working out with Durant last summer. “I try to do that in my workouts and just go from there.”
 
Durant, who is expected to meet with the Celtics on Saturday, will reportedly make a decision on July 4.  

OFFSEASON

Evan Turner agrees to 4-year, $70M deal with Trail Blazers

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Evan Turner agrees to 4-year, $70M deal with Trail Blazers

BOSTON — We have heard how good a coach Brad Stevens has been for the Celtics.

And then Evan Turner goes out and lands a four-year, $70 million deal from the Portland Trail Blazers, which says more about Stevens than the crazy NBA free agency market.

Remember, it was just two years ago that Turner was a player that hardly anyone wanted.

Sure, he put up big numbers in his final season in Philadelphia before they traded him, but the Sixers were still a bad team.

And when he arrived in Indiana, the Pacers seemed to regress which on the eve of free agency, led to Turner’s stock taking an Enron-like plunge.

So, in came the Celtics, offering him two-year, $6.9 million contract and with it a chance to change the narrative of him as being a lottery pick bust.

Instead of being a bust, Turner blossomed into a reliable, jack-of-all-trades who could impact the game positively off the bench or in the starting lineup.

And while Turner certainly deserves a lot of credit for turning his basketball career around, it’s also yet another testament to what Stevens can do for veterans in need of a image makeover (read: Dwight Howard).

Kris Humphries was on the Celtics’ 2013-2014 squad which was Stevens’ first season as an NBA coach.

Humphries was part of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with Brooklyn, a player whose contract was viewed as being as valuable as he was as a player.

There were rumors all the way up to the trade deadline that Boston would move him and his expiring contract.

Instead, they kept him around and gradually Stevens found ways to get him in the game, allow him to do some things on the floor that he had not done before.

So, rather than having to settle for a veteran’s minimum contract which seemed to be in his future, his play under Stevens led to a three-year, $13 million deal with Washington.

Humphries credits Stevens’ system as being one of the keys to his success and ability to land a decent, multi-year contract following a season in which Boston won just 25 games and he shot a career-best 50.1 percent from the field.

“If you look at a lot of guys, they have a lot of versatility in their game,” Humphries told CSNNE.com in April. “They’re able to handle the ball more than they have throughout their careers, show they can do more in terms of being an overall player. That helps guys with the NBA today, 1 [point guard] through 5 [center] has to be able to make plays. Brad’s system lets you do that.”

Especially for players like Humphries and Turner, who parlayed success under Stevens into a huge payday.

 

OFFSEASON

O.J. Mayo hit with two-year ban from NBA for drug violation

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O.J. Mayo hit with two-year ban from NBA for drug violation

NEW YORK  — O.J. Mayo has been dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for violating the terms of the league’s anti-drug program.

The NBA said Friday the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft out of USC is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

Mayo spent the past three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 7.8 points in 41 games last season, including 24 starts.

According to rules of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, information regarding the testing or treatment of a player can’t be disclosed by the league, his team or the union.

© 2016 by Associated Press

Here’s the official release from the NBA: 

NEW YORK, July 1, 2016 – The NBA announced today that free agent O.J. Mayo has been dismissed and disqualified from the league for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Under the Anti-Drug Program, Mayo is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

The NBA, NBA teams, and the Players Association are prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player under the Anti-Drug Program, other than to announce a player's suspension or dismissal from the league.