OFFSEASON

Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

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Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

SALT LAKE CITY The addition of Jeff Green gives the Boston Celtics another versatile player that coach Doc Rivers can use in a lot of ways.

One might be having him on the floor in the fourth quarter, a role that has primarily belonged to Glen Davis.

While Davis saw the bulk of the minutes down the stretch in Boston's 107-102 win over Utah on Monday night, there's no guarantee that Green won't have that job fairly soon.

We saw a glimpse of Green's role expanding when he was the first big man Rivers used off the bench.

Rivers said deciding which of the two will play won't be difficult.

"It depends on who's playing well," Rivers said.

Green comes to a Celtics team where he'll be coming off the bench - something relatively new to him.

In his four seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green started more than 90 percent of the time.

So he's no stranger to being on the floor in the game's closing minutes.

He isn't sure if Rivers will eventually go with him down the stretch of close games, but he's more than up to the challenge.

Green played nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter on Monday.

Although he only had two points, Davis did a solid job defensively, including blocking a Gordon Hayward lay-up attempt to prevent the Jazz from taking a one-point lead early in the fourth.

"Jeff is probably one of the most versatile guys I've been around," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's . . . it just looks like . . . he does a lot of things that, he just makes it look simple. I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad he's an addition to our team."

As far as getting an opportunity to play in the fourth quarter, Green told CSNNE.com that, "It's cool," and added, "that shows that Rivers has a lot of faith in my game, allowing me to be out at the end of games."

For Davis, one of the league's top sixth men this season, he is often on the floor late in the game at the center position.

He was on Monday, and came up with a number of important plays in helping the Celtics squeak out the victory.

Davis finished with nine points, five of which came in the fourth. He made three of four free throws, including one that broke a 94-94 tie with 3:44 to play.

He understands that the Celtics adding Green will result in him having to compete with another versatile forward for playing time.

"It helps a lot," Davis said of the competition. "Just to have a guy of his caliber. He does so many things. It just helps us in so many ways."

But Davis, who played the entire fourth quarter on Monday, understands that Green's emergence may result in his playing time being trimmed some.

No worries, says Davis.

"It is what it is," Davis told CSNNE.com. "You gonna have to fight for minutes. That's just what it is. No matter how much you've proven yourself, there's always something they think you need no matter what you do. So for me, I'm just here to play."

And while the C's aren't necessarily pitting the two against one another, there's no mistaking that they will doing all they can to garner as many minutes as possible - especially those end-of-game minutes.

"They all want to play," Rivers said. "I don't think there's ever a negative effect to competition."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

OFFSEASON

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

  STARTERS BENCH RESERVES ON THE BUBBLE
FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
 
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

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Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

Bulpett reported that Celtics' talks with the Philadelphia 76ers involving a deal for Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor have, according to sources, grown "stale" and that the moves Saturday put 2014 draft pick James Young's roster spot in jeopardy.

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 

 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.