Sixers show interest in Celtics assistant GM Zarren

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Sixers show interest in Celtics assistant GM Zarren

When you've had the kind of run the past five years that the Celtics have had, sooner or later other teams will come trying to court your best front-office talent.

Celtics assistant General Manager Ryan McDonough was in the running for the Orlando Magic GM job that ultimately went to Worcester native Rob Hennigan.

Now comes Philadelphia. The 76ers have interest in Mike Zarren, a Celtics assistant GM who also doubles as Team Counsel.

Ainge confirmed to CSNNE.com that the Sixers did ask for permission to speak with Zarren about the Sixers GM job.

While Ainge wasn't sure where things stood with Zarren and the Philadelphia GM job currently held by Rod Thorn, he's not surprised that his top assistants are garnering interest from other franchises.

"Ryan McDonough and Mike Zarren are both good candidates," Ainge said. "I knew both of those guys would get an opportunity someday, for sure."

While both have been important cogs in the Celtics maintaining a spot among the Eastern Conference's top teams, a potential loss of Zarren would be significant on several levels.

An attorney who graduated from the Harvard Law School, Zarren is the Celtics' resident salary cap whiz whose use of analytics has in many ways revolutionized the way the C's -- and a number of other teams for that matter -- go about scouting players and deciding on which free agents to pursue.

He is a regular speaker at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in Boston during the spring.

David Falk is one of the most respected agents in the NBA, with a past clients list that's filled with some of the greatest players to ever set foot in the NBA.

Among his current clients is Jeff Green, whose four-year, 36 million contract with the Celtics became official on Wednesday.

Falk said he doesn't usually work with the assistant GMs for teams, but because of the complicated nature of Green's contract along with all the difference nuances of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, he spent a good bit of time working out details for Green's new deal with Zarren.

"Mike has an interesting combination of skills," Falk told CSNNE.com. "Moneyball skills, with his use of data and analytics."

Those qualities have been instrumental in the Celtics putting together a team for this upcoming season that has to be on the short list of contenders in the East, along with NBA champion Miami Heat.

Falk has no doubts that Zarren would be "an excellent GM one day."

However, his success would depend heavily on the role that he would be allowed to play.

"In Boston, he has a lot of influence on what the Celtics do," Falk said. "I have dealt with GMs who are basically GMs in title only. This isn't just Mike, but for any assistant GM with an opportunity to make such a move who has considerable influence in their role as an assistant GM, will they have similar or more influence at another place as a GM?"

Falk added, "As I said, Mike is an excellent candidate for any GM job. He has the smarts; he's an attorney which certainly helps. And he has good people skills."

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”