Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday


Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday

Today is the first day that NBA teams can talk potential contract terms with player agents.

As you can imagine, the Boston Celtics are eager to get the process started and sign as many talented players as they can. But patience, as well as preparation, will be needed.

Even with a compressed free agency period that doesn't officially begin until Dec. 9, the C's will, to some degree, be in wait-and-see mode.

Armed with a 3 million mid-level exception and the veteran's minimum, the C's aren't in position to be major players on the free agent market.

While the Celtics would love to add a player like Tyson Chandler, Nene or Jamal Crawford, a more realistic pool of players they'll choose from involves players such as Kwame Brown, Josh Howard and Michael Redd.

That's why Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has been so vigorous in exploring potential trades that, in all likelihood, would involve moving at least one of the Big 4.

Point guard Rajon Rondo's name has been the one most talked about, for obvious reasons. He's 25 years old, a two-time all-star, and of the Big 4, the only one with significant room for growth at this stage in his career.

The other three -- Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- are all in the final stages of their illustrious careers.

But moving Rondo is not guaranteed to happen, so Ainge must do what he can on the free agent market as well.

However, his work to some degree depends on what other teams that are under the salary cap, can do.

Take a team like Indiana, for example.

While Boston might be a more attractive free agent destination, the Pacers have more than 20 million of salary cap space to spend and only a handful of available roster spots which gives them the ability to pick and choose who they want, and not be overly concerned about the cost.

However, the one thing the C's do have going for them is opportunity. Boston has six players under contract, and the majority of those players are veterans whose minutes will be reduced this season.

The C's roster will increase to eight when they sign their picks from last June's draft, forward Jajuan Johnson and combo guard E'Twaun Moore who both played at Purdue. Throw in the expected re-signing of Jeff Green, and you're up to nine.

That still leaves 4-6 roster spots to be filled, most likely by at least two big men and one perimeter player.

While this free agency class is void of superstar talent, there are a number of solid role players on the market. The C's recognize this, and are ready to reach out to them in an official capacity as early as today.

No deals can be consummated today, but that has no bearing on the Celtics. Either way, free agency for the C's will involve playing the waiting game.

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.