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."

Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

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Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk sits down with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on Media Day to talk about how the recovery from his shoulder injury is progressing and becoming more consistent this season.

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely then discuss whether this is a make or break year for Olynyk, who will be a restricted free-agent at the end of the season.

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”