Sullinger out to prove his worth for Celtics

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Sullinger out to prove his worth for Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. It's just a summer league game, the kind that in the grand scheme of things will mean little to the career of Jared Sullinger.

For Sullinger, today's summer league game against Oklahoma City was his first game as a member of the Boston Celtics, an unlikely destination for a player many expected to be long gone by the time Boston was on the clock at No. 21 in last month's NBA draft.

But having something to prove is nothing new to Sullinger, a burly big man who has had his game questioned throughout his career.

"Too slow, too big, too everything. I've heard it all about my game," he said. "All I can do is go out, play my game and help my team win. That's all I really care about."

Part of Sullinger's adjustment to the NBA will be playing the center position, something he says he's looking forward to doing.

"The only thing different is, the guy you're guarding (in the NBA) is a little bit more on the perimeter," Sullinger said. "In college, most of the fives (centers) are post players. Coming here, you got some fives that can shoot from the perimeter and you got some fives who all they do is roll. You just have to know the personnel."

In time, Sullinger said he plans to show that he is a more complete player than many believe.

"I can shoot from the perimeter some, but that wasn't something the teams I played for needed from me," he said. "Here, it's a part of my game that I'll probably use more of."

But his strength has always been his ability to make plays around the basket.

Moments after entering the game on Monday, Sullinger had a put-back basket following a Celtics miss.

And the questions about his ability to defend at this level, didn't materialize against the Thunder.

Of course, Oklahoma City's Ryan Reid is a lot different matching up against then say, Serge Ibaka or former Celtic Kendrick Perkins.

But Reid is a tweener size-wise, which forced Sullinger to rely more on his quickness defensively.

The bigger issue seemed to be Sullinger's ability to rebound the basketball.

He's not one to jump out of the gym and swoop in for rebounds, but he is smart enough to get the necessary position and force opponents to either give up the rebound or foul him.

Sullinger was indeed successful with that in the first quarter, nailing a pair of free throws after an Oklahoma City big man came over his back and fouled him.

He made both free throws to give the C's a 25-8 lead.

Even though Sullinger doesn't have to worry about his spot with the Celtics next season -- unlike many of his summer league teammates -- he understands the value of playing well right now.

"All these guys are fighting for jobs pretty much," Sullinger said. "Like I said earlier, I just want to play my game and compete every chance I get to play. That's all that I'm trying to really do, just play hard and compete."

Tanguay: No pressure, Al, but Celts' postseason success hinges on you

Tanguay: No pressure, Al, but Celts' postseason success hinges on you

Hey, Al Horford. No pressure, but these upcoming playoffs are on you. 

The Celtics are having a great REGULAR season. But for this postseason to be anything but regular, Al needs to come up big.

To his credit, he's done that recently. But he need to play even better in the playoffs. Better isn’t even the right word. Power. That’s it: Power. Horford needs to play with more power. 

The problem is this has never really been his game, and therefore it may prove the Celtics overpaid when they gave him a max contract. 

During his 74 postseason games with the Hawks, Horford averaged 12.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. This season he has averaged 6.9 rebounds for the Celtics. There's no way his rebounding numbers an be that low in the playoffs. 

I want at least 18 points and 8 rebounds per game from him over the course of the Celts post season run. And NO THREEs. I know the guy can shoot, but he needs to keep that 6-foot-10 body of his twelve feet or less from the hoop. 

So if the Celtics let you down or underperform this spring, it won't be on Isaiah. It will be on you, Al. 

Again, no pressure. 

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

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During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.