Green settling in with Celtics

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Green settling in with Celtics

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Jeff Green was surprised to see the locker next to Kevin Garnett was vacant.

It had belonged to Luke Harangody, who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and had not been occupied since the move.

Green had been assigned a locker on the other side of the room between Avery Bradley and Nenad Krstic, his teammate from the Oklahoma City Thunder. But when Krstics longtime friend Sasha Pavlovic joined the team yesterday, Green gave up his spot so the two could sit together.

That left only the empty space next to Garnett.

And Green was more than happy to take it.

"Kevin, his energy falls on others and I want it to fall on me, he told CSNNE.com.

If Green is getting energy from Garnett, it didnt just fall on him - it poured.

In just this fourth game with the Celtics, Green scored 21 points in 28 minutes during the Cs 107-103 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

It was just the spark the Celtics needed with a depleted second unit. They were already shorthanded without their sixth man, Glen Davis, who missed his first game of the season with a strained left patella tendon. Then Von Wafer strained his right calf, forcing him to leave the game and cutting the Celtics' options off the bench.

Enter Green, who has been excelling in the transition from starting lineup on the Thunder to second unit on the Celtics.

They share the ball, he said. They make it easy for myself to get easy shots. Its a team effort, and I think we do a great job to make sure everyone gets the touch and making the extra pass.

Even though Green is no longer a starter on this team, he played significant minutes down the stretch with the starting five. Green clocked nearly 10 minutes of crunch time in the fourth quarter before fouling out with seconds left.

Its important to get to groove with those guys, he said of the starters. I had to play with the second unit, but its important that when I do get in a groove (with the starters) that I use my abilities to help them out - me getting on a break, Paul (Pierce) rebounding, KG rebounding, using my speed, and youve got a great guard like (Rajon) Rondo who can see the floor, which makes it a lot easier for myself.

The Celtics benefit from having an athletic player like Green on the court. Not only does he spread the floor when they are running offensive schemes, he also gives Rondo another option when they are on a fast break.

Hes a gazelle, said Doc Rivers. The guy can absolutely fly. Our guys know that now and you can see them - theyre giving it to him. And he knows that theyll get it to him, so hes running. Theres a couple of times that Kevin actually slowed down so he could run by him because he saw that he had his man beat. And thats just great awareness.

Said Rondo, Obviously hes going to be playing some minutes with us, so I think it was good for him. Thats something thats going to help our chemistry, is on-the-court action, down the stretch in the fourth quarter and also in the first half.

After only four games, and one night at his new locker next to Garnett, Green is fitting right in.

Im glad they accepted me to sit next to him, Green laughed.

Looks like the Celtics are glad to have him around, too.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Report: Kings have 'assured' Cousins that he won't be traded

Report: Kings have 'assured' Cousins that he won't be traded

With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching rumors will be swirling in every direction. 

One name that everyone is keeping an eye on is Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. But will he be on the move?

According to Cousins' agent, the Kings have assured the All-Star that he is not being traded.

The statement from Cousins' agent came less than an hour after Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Kings have recently had trade discussions involving the 26-year-old

In January CSN California reported that, barring a late change in direction by either side, DeMarcus Cousins intends to sign a $207 million extension this offseason that will keep the big man in a Kings uniform long-term.

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”