Pressure on GM's mounts as free agency, training camp near

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Pressure on GM's mounts as free agency, training camp near

Every offseason, there's pressure - lots of pressure - on NBA general managers to go out and find enough talent to compete.

Just imagine that pool of talent being smaller with players defecting to Europe and China.

And the time frame to pursue free agents prior to the start of the season? Not only is it cut down, but it actually starts the same day as training camp.

Welcome to NBA free agency 2011, where GMs will be challenged in ways they never have before.

Few teams have as many holes to fill as the Celtics.

They currently have six players under contract, and a seventh, Jeff Green, is a restricted free agent that the C's have repeatedly said they want to re-sign.

Green shares that same sentiment.

"I would love to be back," he told CSNNE.com recently. "But the one thing this lockout has taught all of us players; this is a business first. So we'll see how everything plays out."

Boston also plans to sign its two draft picks from Purdue, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore.

That would give the Celtics nine players, with the need to add at least four more.

Ainge said earlier that because the C's have so many needs, there's not necessarily a pecking order for what positions they will target first.

"I know it's a cliche, but where we are, we really do have to take the best players because when you look at our numbers, there's a need for us at a lot of positions," Ainge said.

And as far as the short period of time to wheel and deal, Ainge isn't overly concerned about that, either.

"We're no different than anybody else," he said.

He's right.

Just like every other team, Ainge's decision-making will be under even greater scrutiny now. Because putting a championship-caliber team together has to be done quicker than ever.

And in doing so, the so-called GM geniuses will have a chance to prove they are indeed as good as advertised.

Avery Bradley (illness) out vs. Suns after being hospitalized Friday

Avery Bradley (illness) out vs. Suns after being hospitalized Friday

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics find themselves once again in cut-and-paste mode with Avery Bradley (sick) out for tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said rookie Jaylen Brown will be in the starting lineup.

"He (Bradley) was in the hospital most of this afternoon," Stevens said. "Hopefully he'll be home soon and get some rest. It was kind of going around. Hopefully it'll stop soon."

Being out tonight brings Bradley's missed game total to a team-high 24 (18 with a sore right Achilles; four with a strained right Achilles; and one due to illness).

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.