OFFSEASON

Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

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Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Shaquille ONeal has seen hundreds of players come and go through the NBA during his career. And then there are those to stand out to him.

Kevin Love can add his name to that list.

In only his third season in the league, Love has made a strong impression.

"Hes a great rebounder," said ONeal. "Thats what I expected -- hes been doing that all year. He did it in college. Hes a great rebounder. Guys like him only come around once every 10 years."

ONeal wasnt the only player praising Love following the Boston Celtics 96-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

Love posted 24 rebounds and 12 points in 44 minutes, recording his league-leading 30th double-double of the season.

He easily surpassed the most rebounds grabbed against the Celtics this season - 16 by Reggie Evans of the Toronto Raptors on November 21, 2010.

During the second half, Loves 19 rebounds tied the entire Celtics team combined. The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Cs, 45-30.

It was a Love fest, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. No, no, no, I mean, Loves terrific. Hes tenacious. It hurt having Baby (Glen Davis) in foul trouble (five personal fouls) obviously because we wanted his big body on Loves big body. But, hell, I think he had 10 in the first quarter, if Im not mistaken. He gets a ton of them.

The five offensive rebounds are the ones to me that stood out more. The defensive rebounds, someones going to get the defensive rebounds. Those arent a big deal to me. But the offensive rebounds are the ones that he hurts you on.

Like Rivers and ONeal, veteran Ray Allen was also impressed by the abilities of the 22 year old. Allen could only name a handful of players who positioned themselves for rebounds as well as Love does.

I believe he has a knack for keeping his body in motion around he basket, Allen said. Hes got long arms and hes strong. Hes built like refrigerator so you cant really move him from one side to the next. Hes getting his hands on balls. And I think other guys have tendencies, you kind of look up and watch and see what the balls doing. Hes getting right to that spot and hes moving you out.

So positioning you can see with him is real key, and the last few guys that Ive seen like that - Jayson Williams, when he was with New Jersey, you just knew he was getting that rebound. And we havent had a guy like that in the NBA in a long time. Ben Wallace, you could throw his name in the pot and obviously Dennis Rodman, the best Ive ever seen do it just in the eras Ive played.

Allen believes that Love has developed such a rhythm at the basket that the ball is just kind of finding him.

Thats talent, he said. Thats I dont know what you want to call it, but he has it.

On Monday night, it was simply called dominating the boards.
Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

OFFSEASON

Yabusele, Zizic may not be able to play in Summer League for C's

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Yabusele, Zizic may not be able to play in Summer League for C's

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics turned quite a few heads when they used two of their three first-round picks on international players.

They were part of a record-setting night for international players, with 15 being selected in the first round – the most ever in NBA history.

But like many international draft picks, it is far from a given that you’ll see either Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic, who were selected with the 16th and 23rd picks, respectively, next season.

While it’s not uncommon for teams to draft international players in the first round and do so with the plan being to keep them overseas for another year or two, the potential hold-up for Boston’s two international picks has more to do with coming to terms on a buyout amount with their current teams.

“We’ve had initial discussions with their representatives,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, when I asked him about it during the team’s press conference to introduce the newest Celtics on Friday. “We have not concluded anything yet. We’re still in that discussion. And I’m not sure about summer (league).”

While it remains an option, a league source told CSNNE.com that it’s unlikely that either player will participate in either of Boston’s summer league squads which will play in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ainge agrees that there are a number of positives one can take from drafting an overseas player in the first round.

But the decision by Boston to draft Yabusele and Zizic in the first round had a lot to do with one thing – talent.

“The reason that these two guys are here . . . is because they’re good players,” Ainge said. “The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the international top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They’ve earned that reputation. They’re both very productive. Guerson very productive and Ante very good rebounding  . . . now we’re trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. We’re working with their representatives on that plan.”

Yabusele, a 6-foot-8, 275-pound power forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. While appearing in 34 games last season, he grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Zizic, a 6-11, 250-pound center, distinguished himself as one of the better players in the Adriatic League this past season. He was voted by fans, media and coaches as the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect after averaging 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field.

OFFSEASON

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

BOSTON – The Celtics are considered long shots at landing Kevin Durant during free agency, which begins next week.

Still, if they come up short this summer, league sources tell CSNNE.com that the Celtics will be on a “watch list” of sorts by Durant’s camp when the former league MVP is expected to hit the free agent market once again in the summer of 2017.
 
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will have teams meet with him in New York beginning next week. In addition to the Celtics, his current team Oklahoma City will sit down with him, as well as Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
 
Durant can re-sign with the Thunder for as many as five years with the total value of his contract worth slightly more than $150 million.
 
However, by signing a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option for the second season, Durant would make a projected $25.9 million for the 2016-2017 season and can then hit the free agent market again in 2017 when the salary cap is expected to cross the nine-figure threshold.
 
And at that time, if he decides to stay with the Thunder, he can ink a five-year deal that, when combined with his salary in 2016-2017, would be more than $230 million over six years – that’s about $80 million more than he would get by re-signing a long-term deal with the Thunder now, and would more than double what he would make by signing a maximum-salaried four-year deal with another team.
 
That’s why it makes a lot of sense for him to sign a short-term deal now and better position himself for a bigger payday the following summer when his starting salary will likely be on the north side of $35 million.
 
For the Celtics, Durant going through free agency back-to-back years affords coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics one more opportunity to continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference standings while still being a team that’s clearly in need of adding at least one additional All-Star talent to play with Isaiah Thomas.

In his three seasons as the Celtics coach, Stevens has improved the team’s win total each season.
 
However, they have failed to win a playoff series after having been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.
 
While Durant is the team’s No. 1 priority on the free agent market, the Celtics will quickly pivot their attentions to other highly-regarded players as well with Atlanta’s Al Horford being among their targets.

Depending on how quickly Durant’s free agency gets taken care of, the Celtics might be able to turn their attention towards potentially re-signing Evan Turner, who was sixth in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.

OFFSEASON

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

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Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

With the Celtics reportedly in the running in the Kevin Durant Derby, C's guard Isaiah Thomas is continuing his recruiting pitch with this playful tweet.

Thomas said in a radio interview earlier this week that the Celtics "definitely have a shot" at landing Durant and a few months ago, Thomas' essay in the Players Tribune is perhaps his best sales job of all.