Hollins hopes to return to Celtics

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Hollins hopes to return to Celtics

Ryan Hollins played less than three months with the Boston Celtics this season. It was more than enough time for him to know he wants to return to the team again.

Of course, he told CSNNE.com. I would love to be here next season.

The Celtics signed Hollins, 27, as a free agent in late March after he was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He arrived in Boston with recommendations from his new teammates.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had got to know Hollins from offseason workouts and pickup games in California. They spoke of his intensity and passion. Even though the seven-foot center had struggled during his career on the boards, they believed his drive would be a good fit for the Celtics as they neared the playoffs.

I had a chance to spend some time with him this summer, Garnett said shortly after Hollins joined the team. Summertime is the time when youre working on things, but for me, I dont make a lot of friends and I can say that I made one in him now. I like the way the kid approaches the game he wants to be more than good. You see it in his face, you see it in his work ethic. Im a big fan of his. So Im glad hes here and whatever, like any other of the young guys that are here, whatever he wants to know, Im here for him.

The feeling was mutual.

I know the type of players that Paul and Kevin and Ray (Allen) and (Rajon) Rondo are and how they want to win, said Hollins. Going against those guys on the other side, Id always felt like I was a fit for this team and the way that Doc (Rivers) coaches and the way that players play over here. I always felt that way. It made an easy transition for myself.

Hollins gave the Celtics another big body in a front court that had been depleted by injuries throughout season. The former track star provided an athletic presence with his ability to run the floor and get out in transition. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game for the Celtics during the playoffs.

Often critiqued for his rebounding skills, Hollins studied Garnetts approach to attacking the boards during his short time with the Celtics and plans to incorporate it into his offseason workouts. He will carry his veteran teammates intense work ethic with him as well.

They pushed me incredibly hard, he said. Its not just being hard and yelling -- its by example. The small things, talking here and there, its rubbed off.

He added, Im dedicated. Ive always taken my job seriously and loved the game, but the dedication (on the Celtics), eat sleep drink basketball, every day, every day, every day.

The Celtics will have to fill gaps down low as they build their roster for next season. All three of their centers from the 2012 playoffs -- Garnett, Hollins, and Greg Stiemsma -- are free agents.

Hollins hopes the three months he spent with the team was only the beginning of a longer stay in Boston.

I just learned so much, said Hollins. I learn every day. I learned more in the past three or four months here than, I want to say, my whole NBA career. I dont want to say Im taking anything my coaches have ever given me for granted, but even at this stage in my career, Ive learned so much.

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.