Boston Celtics

Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

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Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

With Chicago's Game 4 loss to Miami on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics hold the distinction of being the only team this past season to not suffer three or more consecutive losses. That success means nothing right now, not with the Celtics watching the playoffs unfold.

The C's aren't in a revisionist mood now.

Instead, it's all about rebuilding for the upcoming season.

Among the areas the Celtics will look to shore up this summer will be finding a backup shooting guard for Ray Allen.

Boston could address the position via next month's NBA draft, but a more likely route will be through free agency.

Here are some of the top free agent shootingcombo guards available this summer.

Top available shootingcombo guards (team they played with last season): Jamal Crawford (Atlanta); Von Wafer (Boston); Rasual Butler (Chicago); DeShawn Stevenson (Dallas); Arron Afflalo (Denver); Rodney Stuckey (Detroit); Leandaro Barbosa (Toronto); Delonte West (Boston); Michael Redd (Milwaukee); Marco Belinelli (New Orleans); Roger Mason (New York); Eddie House (Miami); Anthony Parker (Cleveland); Daequan Cook (Oklahoma City); Mo Evans (Washington); Nick Young (Washington)

-restricted free agents

Best of the bunch: Crawford, Barbosa, Young, Stevenson and Afflalo.

Best fits for the C's: Crawford, Barbosa, West.

Why Crawford?
The Celtics are in the market for a player who can carry them through those inevitable scoring droughts. There's no better free agent on the market this summer to do just that, than Crawford. The 31-year-old has spent the past two seasons coming off the bench in Atlanta where he averaged 18 points and 14.2, respectively. To have a player with his knack for delivering instant offense would be a huge plus for the C's moving forward.

Why Barbosa?
He can play some at the point, but his strength whenever he's on the floor is that of a scorer. A career 12.7 points per game scorer, the 28-year-old also has the kind of speed that few players in the NBA possess. For a team looking to run more, Barbosa could be a huge asset coming off the bench. The biggest knock against Barbosa has been staying healthy. Out of a possible 246 games the past three seasons, Barbosa has played in 172, or 69.9 percent, of them.

Why West?
There isn't a single player on the free agent market at this position more familiar with Doc Rivers' system here in Boston. Like most of the C's this past season, West spent a considerable amount of time out with injuries. West probably helped himself more with his playoff performance than any other Celtics players, which means he'll likely have quite a few suitors this summer. But you have to believe that the way the C's stuck by him through his off-the-court issues heading into last season, that loyalty will be rewarded in West re-signing with the club that originally drafted him in 2004.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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