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Celtics Rumors: Free Agency, Jerebko, Crowder

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge seeks a talent upgrade this summer and, to no one’s surprise, pledged today to try for a marquee acquisition, MassLive’s Jay King notes (on Twitter). Still, King hears that that the C’s are prepared to chase second-tier free agents if they miss out on stars, and league sources told King that the Celtics are ready to offer a contract that would make it seem like they were overpaying one of those Plan B free agents. The idea is that Boston would do so with someone who it felt would improve enough to justify the hefty salaries and that those paydays wouldn’t seem as large in the context of the surging cap in the next few years, as King explains. There’s more from King amid the latest from Boston:

  • Reggie Jackson and Enes Kanter are second-tier free agents the Celtics are unlikely to pursue, King writes in the same piece. They fear that Kanter believes he’s more valuable than he is and that such thinking would disrupt the team concept, according to King.
  • Soon-to-be free agent Jonas Jerebko drew raves today from Ainge, who jokingly called him “the Swedish Larry Bird,” and Ainge dropped hints that he’d like to re-sign the forward, as King observes (Twitter links). “I think I would sign off on the ‘sign the Swede’ hashtag. … But it all depends,” Ainge said.
  • Ainge confirmed the team will indeed extend the qualifying offer of little more than $1.181MM necessary to match competing offers for Jae Crowder in free agency this summer, notes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Ainge strongly signaled last week that he’d like to re-sign the swingman acquired in the Rajon Rondo trade.
  • Ainge again challenged Jared Sullinger to improve his conditioning, as Globe scribe Adam Himmelsbach relays. Sullinger is up for a rookie scale extension this year. “I think he’s hurting the longevity of his career and his play now by not being in as good shape as he can be in,” Ainge said.

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