Tag Archives: danny ainge

With the 2015-16 Celtics, Comes Roster Competition

Celtics Huddle 2

It has been an interesting but successful training camp and preseason for the Celtics, given their roster. On paper it seems each position is even deeper than that of last year’s team, which was already deep to begin with. Starters could very well be bench players on this team and vice versa. Guys who sit could very well be bench players. Across the board, there is a lot of depth and not much separation in terms of player skill level. So I ask plainly and directly to Celtics fans, is the competition on the roster for playing time and starting roles a good thing for this team? Do you think it will it be moving forward?


The Upside

It seems to be working so far, as the team finished with a 6-1 preseason record. Players are responding in the fight for playing time, positions and roles. Particularly guys like Jared Sullinger, who suddenly is fighting for playing time and roles with Amir Johnson, Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, and David Lee, and Marcus Smart, trying to earn the starting point guard position on the team. Having guys compete with other talented and players on this team ensures that they aren’t just handed a role or position, and so far in the preseason, both guys have played well enough to earn better roles in the regular season. Must be the mohawk haircuts.

Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger are two players who are seeing increased pressure to earn team roles.

Can Brad Stevens juggle the minutes and matchups? More players that have different skill sets gives Steven more lineups to play with, like going bug or small, 3 point shooting, late-game free-throw situations etc. Stevens is also known for giving minutes to guys who play best together, so he tends to favor the best combination of players out on the court over the talent of individual players. If Stevens can work lineups to his advantage (and from handling last year’s lineups, I think he can) the large roster could work out for the Celtics.


The Downside

At the same time there are only so many minutes to go around, and players could get unsatisfied with their roles. The player talent level is so even on the team that a few guys are going to be cut out of the rotation completely that probably don’t deserve it. In that case, we can hope that Ainge could wheel n’ deal some players in order to clear out the log jams. It’s important to note that Zeller, Lee, and Turner and Amir Johnson can all hit free agency next year. 


After cutting Perry Jones III, players next in line to see includes rookies Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey – all of which seem like players who are ready to contribute in the rotation. However due to the roster, they may see a lot of time in the D-League, along with James Young, who spent a significant amount of the time the D-League last year for his rookie year. This doesn’t do young players much good in terms of development or confidence if they prove they can play in the NBA.



James Young should see more playing time this year at the NBA level, but will he find his NBA game?


The Season Moving Forward

It is well documented how Danny Ainge operates. He is an opportunist who thinks of players as trade chips when it comes to transactions. I don’t expect him to stop trading until he gets a marquee star player on his roster, something Ainge has been working toward since the Pierce & Garnett trade. There are a lot of intriguing chips this year he can use to flip, in order to do so.


Until trades happen, it’s up to Stevens to utilize this deep roster to his advantage. With of active roster management from both Stevens and Danny Ainge, I don’t see why the Celtics can’t compete again this year in the eastern conference. Stevens will tailor lineups based on match-ups, team chemistry and game situations. Don’t get too comfortable seeing the same starting lineup either, Celtics fans – it may take a while to find the right one. But if all goes well, things will fall into place and player roles will become more clear. The Celtics have the pieces to make some noise this year, but I the level success will ultimately come from the execution from Stevens and Ainge.

Celtics Circuit: Celts Acquire Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas can create shots for himself and his teammates.

Isaiah Thomas can create shots for himself and his teammates.

The Boston Celtics were very quiet until the closing minutes of the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday. The Celtics traded Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for guard Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas is a 5-foot-9-inch guard who is currently in his fourth season. He was drafted with the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, where he spent his first three seasons. The 26-year-old provides instant scoring as he is averaging 15.2 points per game this season. He is shooting 39.1 percent on three-pointers and he is a great at the pick-and-roll. Thomas is in the first year of a four-year, $27 million contract he signed last summer.

When the Celtics played the Suns at the TD Garden on November 17th, Thomas told reporters that Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called him during the summer. Ainge expressed interest in Thomas and he was the first person to call Thomas. The Celtics had a crowded backcourt at the time with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley was in the process of resigning with the Celtics. Since the Celtics unloaded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December, they had a need for a guard.

Thornton’s contract was expiring after this season. The first-round pick came from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the three-team deal between the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets last summer. The Celtics essentially turned the trade exception from the Nets into Tyler Zeller and Thomas.

In a separate deal, the Celtics shipped forward Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons for Jonas Jerekbo and Luigi Datome. Jerekbo’s contract expires this summer and its unclear of the Celtics’ plan with Jerekbo past this season. Prince was headed into a buyout so the Celtics acquired a couple of potential assets for him.

Breaking Down The Celtics Draft Picks

boston celtics

He is a hard nut to crack. He’ll say one thing with conviction, and then do the exact opposite, because Danny Ainge. He is the most interesting GM in the world. He’s built up draft picks and assets, capped off with the recent trades of Rajon Rondo & Jeff Green. The man will never tip his hand, but we can speculate his long-term plan. First, let’s review all of the celtics draft picks:

  • Celtics first-round pick, 2015
  • Celtics second-round pick 2015
  • 76ers first-round pick (2015 or ‘16) Top-14 protected pick. If the first-round pick isn’t conveyed then it turns into second-round picks in 2015 and 2016.
  • Clippers first-round pick, 2015 Unprotected
  • Mavericks first-round pick (2015, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19 or ‘20) Protected for picks 1-3, 15-30 in 2015. Protection changes to picks 1-7 in 2016-2020.
  • Timberwolves first-round pick (2015, ‘16 or ‘17 & ’18) Top-12 protected pick in both 2015 and 2016, and if it isn’t conveyed by then it becomes second-round picks in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Celtics first-round pick (2016)
  • Celtics second-round pick (2016)
  • Nets first-round pick, unprotected (2016)
  • Cavaliers first-round pick, protected (2016) This pick is top-10 protected
  • Celtics first-round pick, 2017
  • Celtics second-round pick 2017
  • Nets first-round pick (2017) Celtics can swap picks with the Nets, if the Nets’ pick ends up being higher in the draft than Boston’s. The Celtics would give up an additional second-round pick if they choose to make this swap.
  • Celtics first-round pick, 2018
  • Celtics second-round pick 2018
  • Nets first-round pick, Unprotected (2018)

Hard to be mad when you have those assets. The question remains, what will Danny do with these picks?


When asked about why he acquired so many draft picks, he replied, “picks are always tradable, players are not”, which gives us a feel for what he may do. I have to say, I like where his head is at. It’s fastest way to the top. If Ainge made a trade at the right time to bring in an all-star or two, with Sullinger, Bradley and/or Smart, we are back in business. However, I don’t always trust Danny’s judgement when it comes to player evaluations, which leaves me with an unsettling feeling. If he screws this up, then all we have done here is just waste precious time. So, in summation – big risk, big reward with this rebuild.

Let’s pray it pays big.


Side note: Great win tonight. Hard to believe we’re still in Playoff Contention. Lol @ the Eastern Conference..


Celtics Trade Brandan Wright; Jeff Green Likely On Way Out

Jeff Green appears like he will be soaring into Memphis to play for the Grizzlies.

Jeff Green appears like he will be soaring into Memphis to play for the Grizzlies.

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge continues to live up to his nickname, “Trader Danny.”

The Celtics shipped forward/center Brandan Wright to the Phoenix Suns on Friday evening for a conditional first-round pick. The selection initially came from the Minnesota Timberwolves so the choice is lottery-protected in 2015 and 2016. If the Celtics don’t receiver the pick, then the Celtics will second rounders in 2016 and 2017.  Also, the Celtics picked up a $5 million trade exception. Since the Suns are already under the salary cap, they were able to trade for Wright without having to send any players in return.

In another potential deal, the Celtics have agreed in principle to send forward Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. This could turn into a three-team trade along with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Celtics will acquire Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, and a first-round selection. Prince, a 13-year forward, has a $7.7 million expiring salary. Green has a $9.2 million player option for next season, but the Celtics were in danger of losing Green through restricted free agency in the summer so they wanted to obtain assets for their leading scorer. If the Celtics cannot move Green via a three team trade, the Celtics and Grizzlies will consummate the deal by themselves with Prince and a first-round picking coming to Boston.

Green was averaging 17.6 points per game this season in 33.1 minutes per game. The knock on Green was his inconsistency and his lack of taking over games. Like former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, Green showed his capability such as his 43-point outburst against LeBron James and the Miami Heat on March 18, 2013 when the Heat could not prevent Green from going to his right on dribble penetration to the basket. There have been too many times where Green has disappeared in his three-plus seasons with the Celtics.

Green’s disappearing act has shown in the past month when the Celtics traded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. In 10 games since the Rondo trade, Green has averaged just 12.7 points per game.

These moves free up space for the Celtics to play rookie James Young along with other youngsters such as Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley.

The Celtics could have 11 first round picks in the next four years. While the Celtics are struggling right now, they are in the process of building a perennial contender.


Celtics Circuit: Rajon Rondo Traded To Dallas

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics shipped out their final piece of a golden era on Thursday evening as Rajon Rondo seems to be headed to Dallas to join the Mavericks.

The deal is not yet completed, but it appears both sides are close with just the final pieces being discussed. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics will send Rondo and Dwight Powell to the Mavericks for point guard Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, a 2015 first-round pick, and a future second-rounder.

Rondo delighted Celtics fans for the past eight-plus seasons with his precision passes. The mercurial point guard reportedly clashed with former coach Doc Rivers. He is the final member of the 2008 championship team. Rondo said that he was interested in testing free agency next summer.

The ninth-year veteran will join Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons. Rondo can afford to take more chances on defense with Tyson Chandler roaming down low. The Mavericks already have two pick-and-roll guards in Ellis and Jose Juan Barea. Dallas is the best offensive team in the NBA, but they are currently sixth in the loaded Western Conference.

Nelson, who is 32 years old, has struggled in 23 games this season for the Mavericks. The six-foot guard averaged 7.3 points per game with just 4.1 assists. He is shooting just 37% from the field this season. The Celtics could trade Nelson before the deadline since Nelson has just a year and a half on his contract.

Wright is a unique talent with his size and athleticism. The seventh-year veteran had trouble finding a place with the Golden State Warriors early in his career, but he really came into his own for the Mavericks. The 6-foot-9-inch forward is shooting about 75% from the field through 27 games off the bench. Wright’s specialty is scoring off of pick-and-rolls, which would have helped if Rondo was still with the Celtics. Since Wright has an expiring contract at $5 million, the Celtics could flip Wright before the trading deadline in February.

Crowder brings energy on the defensive side of the ball and Brad Stevens could use Crowder to trap opponents. If Crowder can display the talent he showed at Marquette, Celtics fans will be pleased. Despite being undersized, Crowder can ignite the crowd with his athleticism.

The Celtics now have three first-round selections in 2015 and 2016. Although two of those picks in 2015 will come later in the opening round, Danny Ainge has a solid history with those higher picks. Players such as Kendrick Perkins (27th pick, 2003) and Tony Allen (25th, 2004) were part of the rebuilding process and they developed into valuable contributors during the Celtics’ title run in 2008. Also, the Celtics picked up a $12.9 million trade exception, which they have a year to use.

Even though this doesn’t look like a strong move for the Celtics, they added more assets to use in their rebuilding project. The Celtics were able to get something in return for a player who may not be with the team next year.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: C’s Unveil Alternate Jersey

boston-celtics-logo (2)The Boston Celtics have endured a long week. When the Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, the celebratory mood was subdued over the left ankle injury to Marcus Smart. After the game, the team announced that Rajon Rondo would miss Saturday’s game in Chicago against the Bulls because Rondo needs to get a screw removed from his surgically repaired left hand.

Also, the Celtics dropped three straight games during the week. The Celtics went 1-for-25 from beyond the three-point line against the Houston Rockets. On Monday, the Celtics fell behind as many as 30 points in the first half in Dallas. Despite a late comeback, the Celtics lost 118-113, to the Mavericks. Then the Celtics blew a 16-point advantage before falling, 110-107, when they hosted the Toronto Raptors.

Danny Ainge said Smart will be out at least two to three weeks with a left ankle sprain according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. The rookie guard was showing promise as a tenacious defender who could guard multiple positions. He showed an improving shot from the perimeter through the first five games.

Here are the tweets:

Emily Austen of celtics.com sent this tweet on Thursday night when the Celtics displayed their gray-sleeved uniform. I am not a big fan of the sleeve jersey and the color of this shirt. The Celtics should just stick to “Green Runs Deep.” The picture shows guards Avery Bradley (left) and Smart (right) showing off the alternate uniform.

Smart was able to play in front of family and friends in Houston and Dallas this week. The Celtics top draft choice thanked all of his supporters, including posting a picture of this young Celtics fan wearing his jersey. Smart was born in Dallas and there were dozens of family and friends to cheer for the rookie guard.

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