What now for Celtics?

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What now for Celtics?

BOSTON -- Because Jeff Green failed his physical, the 9 million contract he signed with the team earlier this month is voided. However, that doesn't mean the Celtics now have 9 million to spend elsewhere.

Because the C's are well over the league salary cap of about 58 million, the only thing they can offer free agents is a veteran minimum contract.

And the market, as one NBA executive told CSNNE.com on Saturday, is "extremely thin."

With only the veteran's minimum to offer, it becomes even less likely that the C's will be able to find a player not currently on the roster, to help replace Green's contributions.

Some of the possibilities for the C's include former Celtic James Posey, Al Thornton and DeShawn Stevenson.

For now, the Celtics will try to make due with the current roster.

Because the 6-foot-8 Green could play both forward positions, a team source said the C's are likely to rely on multiple players to fill the void he leaves behind.

At the small forward position, you can expect to see more of Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic, two players who have played major minutes for quality teams in the NBA.

Daniels seeing more playing time was a given, if he stays healthy.

Pavlovic, however, is a player the C's believe will step up and make the most of this opportunity.

Only 28 years old, Pavlovic was a starter on the Cleveland Cavaliers team that advanced to the NBA Finals.

Throughout that playoff run, then-Cavs coach Mike Brown often assigned him to defend the opposing team's top perimeter scorer.

"He's bigger, stronger, and more athletic than what people think," Brown told CSNNE.com prior to becoming the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach. "You look at Sasha, you don't realize how big and athletic he is until you get up close to him. And then you watch him play. In the right system, you can utilize that length and strength to your advantage. I think he can be a nice piece coming off the bench for the Celtics."

His biggest problem then - and it is now, actually - is being consistent with his play.

A team source said there's also a very good chance that we'll see more of rookie Jajuan Johnson as well.

Like Green, Johnson is a guy who can play power forward with the kind of shooting range that extends beyond the 3-point line.

Indeed, it is that versatility from one player that the Celtics will miss more than anything else.

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

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Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK - Russell Westbrook was voted NBA MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles last season.

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season, and he broke Robertson's single-season record set when he had 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

The point guard beat out Houston's James Harden and San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard to succeed Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards.

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.