OFFSEASON

Perkins returns for charity

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Perkins returns for charity

CAMBRIDGE It was a charity basketball game, so the usual rules of engagement - you know, like defense, boxing out, rebounding, that kind of stuff - were tossed out the window.

It didn't matter.

Saturday night was a time to rejoice, because on this night, NBA basketball - or some Harlem Globetrotter-esque simulation of it - was alive in well in New England as the NBA lockout enters Day, too-many-to-count-so-we-won't-anymore.

But lost in the jubilation many felt with what may be the only NBA basketball this season, was the return of Kendrick Perkins.

It was the first time Perkins played on a court in these parts since the Celtics traded him away in February to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The only player that got a louder round of applause when introduced before the game, was current Celtics guard and Perkins BFF Rajon Rondo who arranged for Saturday night's game in which proceeds from ticket sales will go to various Boston-area charities.

"It's good to be here," Perkins told CSNNE.com. "It's always good for me whenever I come back here."

And Perkins certainly had a good time out there, throwing down lob dunks, getting put-back baskets and from time to time, running some at the point.

Only in a charity basketball game - or video game - will you ever see that.

Even Perkins, known for having one of the meanest faces in the NBA, couldn't help but smile at the way fans treated him on Saturday - and the many years before that.

"Boston has some great fans, great fans," said Perkins, as he waved to a woman wearing a Celtics No. 43 jersey, his old jersey. "They're passionate about their team. That's good, real good."

He later added, "I never knew how much I missed being here, until I got back in here. I definitely miss the city of Boston, the whole area of New England. It just felt good to be back playing basketball, in Boston."

Perkins, a first-round pick of the C's in 2003, spent his first seven-plus seasons with the Green team. A knee injury suffered during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, took him out of action for the remainder of the series and into the early part of the 2010-2011 season.

In his absence, the Celtics bolstered their front line with Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal (no relation), along with rookie center Semih Erden.

That kind of depth made Perkins expendable, especially considering the glaring hole in the lineup behind Paul Pierce.

That's why the C's made the trade for Jeff Green, who was also at Saturday's charity game in which proceeds went to SPIN (Serving People in Need), Sojourner House and Crossroads Family Shelter.

While there's no mistaking that the trade worked out well for Perkins on a personal level - he received a four-year extension worth 33.5 million from the Thunder, which is more than he would have received from the C's - he readily admits that he still misses Boston.

"I hated to leave, but God does everything for a reason," Perkins said. "Boston and all the New England is still in my heart. It's just fun to be back."

It certainly looked like he was having fun, throwing down lob dunks, getting put-back baskets and from time to time, running the point guard position.

Perkins continues to show no signs that the surgery to repair his torn MCL and PCL.

"I just been rehabbing a lot, take a lot of pressure off my knees and go from there," Perkins said. "I thought the season would have started, but it hasn't yet. I'm just going to continue to work, and whenever the season start, just try to go from there."

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.