Jamal Crawford intriguing option for Celtics


Jamal Crawford intriguing option for Celtics

BOSTON The Boston Celtics will indeed be in the market this summer for a veteran shooting guard, and Jamal Crawford just might fit the bill.

The 32-year-old combo guard told a Seattle television station on Thursday that he would not opt-in to the final year of his contract with Portland, which means he'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"I'm a free agent, so I'm excited about what's there moving forward," Crawford told Seattle television station KING. "There will be a lot of teams out there with a lot of interest. I'll sit back after July 1 (the day free agency begins) and see what happens."

In his lone season with Portland, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 14 points while shooting just 38-percent from the field and a career-low 30.8 percent on three-pointers.

His availability gives the Celtics yet another option as they enter the summer with significant cap space and significant questions as to how the team will be built moving forward.

The Celtics would love to have Ray Allen come back and resume the role he had in the second half of the season as a backup to Avery Bradley.

While Allen accepted the role, it wasn't one he totally embraced. It is unclear if he would be willing to return under those same conditions, and with what would likely be a one-year contract.

Having had his name involved in trade rumors the past couple of years, the soon-to-be-37-year-old Allen (his birthday is July 20) appears to be seeking a two-year deal.

"There's still a lot of basketball left in my legs," said Allen, who underwent right ankle surgery on Wednesday. "I know that for sure."

In addition to Allen, the Celtics are also unsure about another one of the team's free-agents-to-be, Mickael Pietrus who like Allen, had surgery earlier this week.

Although Pietrus has maintained all season that he wants to be in Boston long-term, his future will depend heavily on how strong other teams come at the Frenchman or whether the C's feel they can add a better player.

Which brings us back to Crawford, a player who would fit in well with Boston.

Having played both guard positions, he gives the C's the kind of flexibility they were hoping to have this season with Keyon Dooling.

And while Dooling is the superior defender, Crawford's ability to create his own shot and score is a skill that few current Celtics (Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, truthfully) have.

Looking back at the past couple of seasons that ended at the hands of the Miami Heat, among the reasons for the Celtics' exit was their lack of players with the ability to generate their own individual offense.

Throw in the fact that Crawford is well-respected veteran who is close to one of the C's building blocks of the future, Avery Bradley who has often said that Crawford was a player he looked up to while growing up in the Seattle-Tacoma area, it makes a lot of sense for Crawford to be a player of interest for the Celtics.

Because the C's were so far over the salary cap last season, Crawford never gave Boston serious consideration before signing the two-year, 10.225 million with Portland.

Having played for 5 million last season, Crawford would most likely be seeking a similar deal this summer.

However, coming off a sub-par season coupled with an opportunity to play for a team that's focused solely on winning a championship every year, that just might be enough to entice him to take less money than he might get from another less-established team.

It would be the kind of deal that C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge needs to pull off as he goes about assembling a Celtics team whose goal next season will be no different than it was this past season - bring home Banner 18.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.