OFFSEASON

Ainge: Perkins trade wasn't why we lost

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Ainge: Perkins trade wasn't why we lost

Don't tell Danny Ainge the Celtics are out of the NBA playoffs because they traded Kendrick Perkins.

"I don't think that the presence of one player standing in the middle of the paint was going to help our offense score more, wasn't going to prevent LeBron James from shooting step-back 3-point jump shots with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green draped all over him," Ainge told Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson in a one-on-one interview.

"I mean, we scored zero points with four or five minutes to go in two games. That was not because of who we had playing center. That had a lot more to do with our best players not being able to score."

And please don't tell him the Celtics lost their toughness when they lost Perkins.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. We lose our toughness because we trade one player?" he said. "What do you think Kevin Garnett feels about that? What do you think Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo feel about that? Like, we only have one guy that's a tough player, that brings an element of toughness?"

In other words, the team's president of basketball operations -- unlike many in Celtics Nation -- isn't blaming the Celts' second-half slide, and their second-round ouster, on the controversial trade of Perkins to the still-alive Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Without Perk, we were counting on . . . not all of our centers, but Nenad Krstic, who was playing well; Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who was playing well; Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq Shaquille O'Neal, who were hurt that we thought would come back," said Ainge.

"Jermaine came back and did his part, played great defense for us, held down the fort, but was clearly playing with injuries; he hurt his wrist in the first game of the playoffs, wasn't quite the same. Shaq really never returned. Baby, all of a sudden, just wasn't playing well. And . . . Krstic had the two bone bruises.

"So the trade didn't work. That's just part of the game and part of life, a frustrating part."

But he still thinks the reasoning behind the move was sound.

"If I had to do the trade today, I would have done it."

Dickerson's 30-minute interview with Ainge will air Monday night on Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m.

OFFSEASON

Celtics picks Brown, Yabusele, Bentil on Summer League roster

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Celtics picks Brown, Yabusele, Bentil on Summer League roster

Celtics 2016 draft picks Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Ben Bentil, Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader will join last year’s rookies R.J. Hunter, Terry Rozier, and Jordan Mickey on the Celtics Summer League roster, which the team announced Friday. 

Danny Ainge had mentioned after the draft he wasn’t sure about No. 16 overall pick Yabusele, from France, or No. 23 pick Ante Zizic’s availability for the Summer League. Zizic, from Croatia, is not on the roster. 

2014 draft pick James Young is also among those on the roster. 

The Utah Summer League begins on Monday, with a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. (on CSN) and the Las Vegas Summer League runs from July 9-18.


 

OFFSEASON

Celtics interested in bringing back big man Kris Humphries

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Celtics interested in bringing back big man Kris Humphries

BOSTON – CSNNE.com has learned that the Celtics have had discussions about bringing Kris Humphries back to Boston for a second tour of duty.

No deal is imminent because the Celtics’ focus remains on trying to land at least one of their top three free agent targets – Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Atlanta’s Al Horford and Houston’s Dwight Howard.

Durant has a list of six teams that he will consider signing with, although all indications at this point see the perennial All-Star returning to Oklahoma City with a “1+1” deal which would give him the flexibility to opt-out of the second year and do this free agency process all over again.

Horford and Howard seem more realistic options for the Celtics, although Boston will face steep competition when it comes to signing either one of them.

With Humphries, the Celtics would add a familiar face to the roster who when he did play for Boston, was productive.

In his lone season with the Celtics (2013-2014), Humphries averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game while shooting a career-high 50.1 percent from the field.

His play was strong enough to earn him a three-year, $13 million deal from the Washington Wizards.

During his time with the Celtics, Humphries was more than just a solid performer.

He was a veteran who was in and out of the lineup, but never grumbled about his inconsistent minutes.

But when the opportunity arose to play, Humphries was consistently ready to perform.

In practices, he would often stay after and run end-to-end sprints with the younger players.

It was the kind of stealth leadership that Brad Stevens needed from inside the locker room in what was Stevens’ first season as an NBA coach.

But the interest in Humphries now is two-fold.

First and foremost, he would provide some much-needed depth along the frontline. And with him being more of a stretch big now (108 of his 134 career 3s taken came last season), he fits the versatility mold that Stevens and the Celtics want from all their players.

And maybe just as significant, Humphries could provide talent while not necessarily needing a long-term deal to join the Celtics. Humphries was thought to have been a player who could command a deal starting at around $10 million.

But with some of the deals reportedly agreed upon just hours into the free agency period (Timofey Mozgov to the Lakers for four years, $64 million; Joakim Noah to New York for four years, $70 million), Humphries’ starting salary now will likely fall somewhere between $10-$15 million.And lastly, Humphries knows first-hand what it's like to play for the Celtics and the connection that players have with the team's fanbase.

And lastly, Humphries knows first-hand what it's like to play for the Celtics and the connection that players have with the team's fanbase.

"This is one of the best home crowds in sports, I would say," Humphries told CSNNE.com. 

OFFSEASON

Report: Knicks, Lakers among six teams interested in Evan Turner

Report: Knicks, Lakers among six teams interested in Evan Turner

Evan Turner revived his career with the Celtics the past two years and is now drawing plenty of interest around the league as free agency opens.

The unrestricted free agent averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4  assists as a sixth man last season with Boston. The Sporting News reports that the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, Pelicans, Mavericks and Grizzlies are looking to bid for Turner.  

Turner earlier expressed an interest in returning to the Celtics, who have their immediate focus on meetings with Kevin Durant and Al Horford this weekend and dealing with their other free agents Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko and restricted free agents Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, as well. 

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reports the interest between the Lakers and Turner is mutual.