OFFSEASON

The Dino Radja Experience: Episode 6, with Mike Gorman

The Dino Radja Experience: Episode 6, with Mike Gorman

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

On this week's Dino Radja Experience, Mike Gorman stops by the podcast to discuss his 30 years with the team, the days of Larry, the health of KG and why he think the Celtics are better off than the Heat

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

OFFSEASON

Report: Durant decision ’90 percent made’ to return to Thunder

Report: Durant decision ’90 percent made’ to return to Thunder

Kevin Durant’s decision to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder is “90 percent made” and “it would take an amazing sales pitch to change it,” a friend of the NBA’s top free agent told ESPN.

Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated reports that “barring an incredible sales job, several friends and business colleagues close to the 2014 NBA MVP expect him to return to Oklahoma City for at least another year.”

“His decision is 90 percent made. It would take an amazing sales pitch to change it,” one of Durant’s longtime friends told Spears and another said, “It’s going to take some sweet-talking to get him to pass up all the money he can get by staying in OKC.”

So, that “incredible sales pitch” will come Saturday from the Danny Ainge and the Celtics, who are scheduled to meet with Durant in the Hamptons on Long Island then. 

The Celtics are one of six teams that Durant will meet with. He talked to the Thunder Thursday.  Also making pitches this weekend will be the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat.  

Staying in OKC would be more lucrative for Durant.

Spears reports that Durant could get $30.6 million a year in an immediate multiyear deal with the Thunder as opposed to $28.4 million from the other teams and, if he opts for a shorter deal now and a longer one later, he could make as much as $40.7 million a year in Oklahoma City versus $32.6 million a year elsewhere. 
 

OFFSEASON

Time has arrived for Celtics to make their case to free agents

Time has arrived for Celtics to make their case to free agents

BOSTON – The bewitching hour is nearly upon us when the Celtics can get down to the business of bolstering a roster that has shown tangible growth (read: more wins, baby!) every year under Brad Stevens.
 
The free agency period begins at the stroke of midnight tonight - the first shot Danny Ainge and company will get to make a case to free agents Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Dwight Howard.
 
Boston is one of six teams that Durant will meet with, so a decision by Durant isn’t expected immediately.
 
That may not be the case for Horford and Howard, who are among the most coveted free agents available and will likely get multi-year, near-max offers quickly.
 
In the past, Boston has added players that were targeted via free agency because they fit a very clear and well-defined role.
 
Boston wanted to add a rim-protector last summer, so they went out and signed Amir Johnson.
 
It certainly didn’t bring about the kind of “fireworks” Celtics fans were hoping for, but Johnson did prove to be a solid addition in helping Boston win 48 regular season games – the most under third-year coach Brad Stevens.
 
This summer is different.
 
The Celtics have to do more than just add a nice rotation player to the mix.
 
They need a stud; pure and simple.
 
They need to add a player who immediately comes in as a starter who can help jump-start Boston’s quest to become one of the game’s elite teams again.
 
Adding such a player is easier said than done, obviously.
 
And making it even more difficult now is, unlike past off-seasons when only a handful of teams came into free agency with fat pockets like Boston (they can potentially add two max-salary players), the league’s new TV deal kicks in this summer and has created a much larger field of financial fat cats.
 
With money not being as big a difference-maker now, decisions by players will likely come down to opportunity to play and comfort level with an organization.
 
And that is a good thing for the Celtics.
 
Getting  coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Ainge signed to long-term extensions was about more than just continuity within the organization.
 
It also sent a strong message to potential free agents that the guys you are negotiating with now, aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
 
And with Stevens at the helm, a number of players have come through Boston and left better for the experience, basketball-wise and financially.
 
Evan Turner came to Boston two years ago as a player many dubbed as a bust. He leaves as one of the game’s most versatile perimeter players who will land a salary that will more than triple the $3.4 million he made last season.
 
It is that quality that may convince Dwight Howard to sign with Boston. You will be hard-pressed to find a player as heavily criticized as Howard (much of which he has brought upon himself) who can still play at a fairly high level.
 
Last season was one of his worst in the NBA and he still averaged a double-double of 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game along with 1.6 blocked shots.
 
Getting him back to being one of the league’s elite centers would be the greatest reclamation success story ever for Stevens and would provide Boston with an impact free agent, a sight seldom (if ever) seen donning a Celtics jersey.