Boston Celtics Rumors

Celtics Likely To Waive Will Bynum?

October 21 at 11:36am CDT By Eddie Scarito

TUESDAY, 11:36am: The Celtics are seeking a trade partner who would take Bynum, but finding one would be a long shot, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. It’s more likely the point guard hits waivers than winds up in a trade, Murphy adds.

SATURDAY, 2:55pm: Mark Bartelstein, Bynum’s agent, says he and Ainge have been in ongoing talks regarding Bynum’s future, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Bartelstein also said that both sides plan to “take a deep breath” before finalizing a decision, Stein adds.

2:08pm: Bynum won’t play in Boston’s final two preseason games, and the Celtics are exploring other possible moves before they would waive Bynum, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reports (Twitter links). This could include trading another player in order to keep Bynum, Bulpett adds.

12:45pm: The Celtics are expected to waive newly acquired guard Will Bynum, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reports. GM Danny Ainge is scheduled to meet with the player today, Washburn notes, and the likely outcome is that Boston places Bynum on waivers. Boston still has 20 players on their preseason roster, with 16 fully guaranteed deals, including Bynum’s $2.9MM pact. Bynum is expected to garner interest on the free agent market once he clears waivers, Washburn adds.

The 6’0″, 31-year-old out of Georgia Tech has been in the league for seven seasons, and has averaged 8.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, and 3.3 APG thus far in his career. Bynum has played in a total of 353 games, including 29 starts, and has logged an average of 18.5 minutes-per-contest.

Bynum wasn’t a good fit for the Celtics’ rebuilding roster, and with the team focusing on developing first-rounder Marcus Smart to take over for Rajon Rondo, Bynum didn’t figure to see major minutes once Rondo returns to action from his hand injury.

C’s To Waive McGruder, Murphy, Frazier, Watford

October 21 at 10:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Celtics will waive Rodney McGruder, Erik Murphy, Tim Frazier and Christian Watford, coach Brad Stevens told reporters, including Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). All are on non-guaranteed contracts, except for Murphy, whose deal is partially guaranteed for $100K. The moves will leave the Celtics with 16 players, all of whom have fully guaranteed pacts, with one more cut to come before opening night.

Murphy is the only one of the trio with NBA regular season experience, having appeared briefly in 24 games last season with the Bulls, who drafted him 49th overall in 2013. He was nonetheless an afterthought in a series of cap-related moves that began when the Jazz claimed him off waivers from the Bulls late last season. Utah sent him to Cleveland in a three-for-one swap in July, and the Cavs shipped him to the Celtics in their Keith Bogans trade. McGruder, who went undrafted in 2013, was in an NBA training camp for the second autumn in a row after spending last October with the Thunder. Watford also went undrafted that year, though he signed a pair of deals with the C’s this year as Boston waived him to accommodate the Bogans trade, then brought him back. Frazier has had a more conventional tenure with Boston after going undrafted this past June.

The moves still leave president of basketball operations Danny Ainge with a decision to make with Monday’s opening-night roster deadline looming. Will Bynum appeared at one point this weekend to be the guaranteed contract set to go, but the Celtics have yet to commit to parting ways with him.

Atlantic Notes: Garnett, Knicks, Sixers, Wallace

October 20 at 9:14pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Kevin Garnett, who’s gearing up for his 20th NBA season, is entering the final year of a deal that will pay him $12MM, and Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders lists the Nets big man as one of ten players he thinks will be retiring sooner rather than later. Taylor thinks that Garnett’s age and expiring contract more than likely mean this is last season The Big Ticket will play in the league. Here’s more from the Atlantic..

  • Knicks second-rounder Thanasis Antetokounmpo turned down lucrative offers from overseas in order to display his skills stateside with New York’s D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. His younger brother, Giannis Antetokounmpo, originally thought heading to Europe might have been the more sensible decision, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details. “I was the first one to tell him: ‘Maybe it’s better for you to go overseas and get some money,’” Giannis said. “He said no. His dream is to play in the NBA, stay here. I’m happy with that.’
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown mentioned the possibility of the D-League when asked about Ronald Roberts Jr., tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Roberts is with Philly on a partially guaranteed pact, so Brown’s comments might indicate the team is interested in waiving the injured 23-year-old before the season begins to preserve his D-League rights.
  • At 32 years old, it’s safe to say Gerald Wallace is past his prime, but he’s interested in playing whatever role the Celtics need him to, observes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “Whatever the team needs me to do,” Wallace said. “Whatever coach (Brad Stevens) needs me to do. We’ve already talked about it. I’m in a position where I’m comfortable with it.” Boston was rumored to have been shopping Wallace last season around the trade deadline, but he’s reportedly happy to be hanging around in green.

Eastern Notes: Bradley, Celtics, Harkless

October 19 at 12:31pm CDT By Chris Crouse

Avery Bradley credits the D-League as a huge factor in his success playing for the Celtics, explains Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. “I was able to learn a lot up [in Maine],” says Bradley. “I didn’t take it as punishment at all. That’s one thing I do remember. At first I was disappointed, and being a young guy, it’s kinda overwhelming at first [in the NBA] seeing all the superstars, all the guys you watch watch on TV, and now you’re practicing and I had the injury. I got down on myself a lot, but the D-League gave me a chance to get that confidence back.” Bradley hopes to take his game to new heights after signing a new four year, $32MM deal this offseason.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While many experts have picked the Celtics to finish near the cellar of the Eastern Conference, Jeremy Gottlieb of Boston.com sheds some optimism on Boston’s upcoming season. While Gottlieb admits that the idea of the Celtics contending for a playoff berth is far-fetched, he cites the presence of coach Brad Stevens, the potential financial motivations of some of the players on the roster, such as Rajon Rondo and Evan Turner, and the weakness of the Eastern Conference as reasons not to underestimate this team.
  • Although the Celtics were never in contention to acquire Kevin Love due to a lack of an ability to create a package that Minnesota coveted, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is confident that GM Danny Ainge will turn the franchise’s assets into a winning team, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.  “I’ve got confidence that with all these picks and these young guys and our willingness to spend money that we can get there,” said Grousbeck. “We’re a patient group. We will take a multiyear plan if that’s what it takes. But I think this June there could be some fireworks. I think this June we’ve got so many pieces to this puzzle that we might be able to shake loose a real piece or two for this team going forward. So, I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later.”
  • Magic forward Maurice Harkless is playing with more confidence this year, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Coach Jacque Vaughn has praised Harkless for his continued development. “There’s some areas that he’s improving, and he still can improve some more. But overall his confidence and feel on the floor has definitely grown,” said Vaughn.

Central Rumors: LeBron, Gasol, Pistons

October 18 at 7:31pm CDT By Cray Allred

Before the Cavs preseason loss last night, LeBron James told reporters including Joe Vardon of the Plain Dealer that his return to Cleveland had little to do with his new teammates. “It was more about these fans and the city and the people here,” James said. “So, the team didn’t mean much. I felt like me coming, we could hopefully add some pieces, [but] obviously it happened quicker than I thought.” Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • Pau Gasol tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post that it was tough to leave the Lakers and Kobe Bryant this summer, when he signed with the Bulls as a free agent.  “[Bryant] wanted to pretty much retire together,” said Gasol, who feels he made the right choice for his career. “That was an attractive option. One part of me wanted to stick with him and try to turn it around. But deep inside of me, I felt it was time after everything that I’d been through that I wanted to put myself in a position where I was highly stimulated…I feel energized. I feel rejuvenated.”
  • Gasol confirmed to Lee that he weighed cultural factors when choosing a team, in addition to the on-court outlook. “To me, it was important on a personal level because I’m not just a basketball player,” said Gasol, who was reportedly concerned about Oklahoma City’s lack of diversity when the Thunder chased him this summer. “I have other interests, other desires than basketball, and Chicago had a lot to offer from that aspect.”
  • In a session with reporters (video link at Basketball Insiders), Stan Van Gundy said he traded for Joel Anthony to bring a more “defensive-oriented culture” to the Pistons, citing Anthony’s experience as a rotation player in multiple postseason runs with the Heat.
  • Van Gundy praised Detroit’s new director of strategic planning Pat Garrity, saying he was an obvious hire. Garrity originally sought a coaching job with the Pistons before Van Gundy steered him to the team’s front office.
  • Will Bynum tweeted a thankful goodbye to Pistons fans (H/T Vincent Ellis of Detroit Free Press). “It has been a great run in Detroit,” said Bynum, who was traded to the Celtics on Friday afternoon. “You have all been so supportive for me throughout my time with the Pistons. Goodbyes are painful but are signs of great memories.”

Eastern Notes: Rondo, Haywood, Lopez, Pacers

October 18 at 4:35pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The jury is still out on whether or not Rajon Rondo will be in a Celtics uniform beyond this season. One thing that won’t factor negatively against Boston in Rondo’s eyes is the team’s head coach, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald writes. Rondo has nothing but good things to say about second-year coach Brad Stevens, notes Murphy. “He’s very positive — the most positive coach I’ve been around in my career, and it’s hard not to play for a guy like that,” Rondo said of Stevens. “That’s every day — not just in the locker room. He’s that way off the court, with his family. He’s a role model. He has all of the characteristics of a great leader. He’s great at what he does. He’s all about the team.”

Here’s more from the east:

  •  The Cavs view veteran center Brendan Haywood as a part-time player who can help out when Cleveland faces teams with taller centers, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes. Haywood is well ahead of schedule in returning from injury, and the Cavs didn’t expect him to return to the court until January, notes Pluto.
  • After Brook Lopez‘s latest injury scare involving his troubled feet, the Nets are ready to move on, with or without the seven-footer, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I think you have to look at it from the standpoint that the glass is always half-full. I never looked at anything when he did have other injuries that the sky was falling,” GM Billy King said. “That’s why you have a team sport. If it was golf and I was his caddie, I’d be a little more upset because you don’t have a chance to make money. But it’s a team sport.”
  • In his season preview for the Pacers, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that it will be a trying season in Indiana without Paul George and Lance Stephenson. If the Pacers are to have any shot at the playoffs, this is the season that Roy Hibbert will need to elevate his game to an elite level, Amico opines.

Atlantic Notes: Rondo, Knicks, Celtics

October 18 at 8:40am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Sports Illustrated senior writer Ian Thomsen spoke with Kyle Draper and Bob Neumeier of CSNNE.com about the Celtics and the possibility that they deal Rajon Rondo this season. Thomsen believes it will be difficult for Boston to receive anything of value in return for their point guard. Thomsen said, “It all depends on Rondo or what he’s going to do, how well he’s going to play. I think he’s going to have a tremendous year looking forward to his free agency. I’m not sure how the Celtics get anything in a trade for Rondo because he wants to be a free agent and the Knicks and Lakers are going to be out there with max cap space [in the offseason]. How’s anyone going to keep him from going to one of those teams, including the Celtics?

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The battle for the final Knicks roster spot might just come down to Travis Wear versus Travis Outlaw, Keith Schlosser of SNY.tv opines. Wear is mastering the triangle offense quicker than Outlaw, but it is Outlaw’s expiring $3MM contract that might make him more valuable to retain on the regular season roster as a possible trade chip, notes Schlosser.
  • The Celtics got even smaller with the trade for Will Bynum, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. After adding the 6’0″ Bynum, this leaves the team with eight players 6’4″ or smaller, notes Blakely. Boston still has 16 fully guaranteed contracts on the books, so more dealing is very possible, according to Blakely.
  • The Knicks have a new look this season both on and off the court. The architect of this rebuild is new team president Phil Jackson, and Al Iannozzone, Mark LaMonica, and Anthony Carrozzo of Newsday take an in-depth look at all the changes that Jackson has brought to New York.

Eastern Notes: Butler, Marble, Celtics

October 17 at 10:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Jimmy Butler has been turning heads in Chicago with his play during training camp. The Bulls swingman is in better physical condition this year, but is also motivated by being eligible to sign a contract extension prior to the October 31st deadline, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes. “My confidence is high and that’s the way you have to play this game,” Butler said. “All summer I worked on my game, the biggest thing is just confidence, taking shots I know I can make. I’m really happy on the way that I’m going right now, but I still got to keep going.” If Butler and the team don’t come to terms on an extension by the deadline he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Here’s more from the east:

  • The Celtics made a minor trade earlier today with the Pistons, shipping Joel Anthony to Detroit for Will Bynum. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com examines what the trade does to Boston’s salary cap situation and the team’s rotation.
  • After a difficult season under former coach Mike Woodson, J.R. Smith is starting fresh with a clean slate, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said of Smith, “What I’ve tried to do with all of our guys, not just J.R., is kind of manage our relationship based on our relationship and not the relationships they have may have had with other people, other coaches. Jay’s been great, and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t continue.”
  • In addition to fellow rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, Devyn Marble also hopes to make an impact for the Magic this season, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders writes. Orlando signed Marble to a three year deal with the first year fully guaranteed, which went a long way towards giving Marble confidence, notes Taylor. “It’s good to have peace of mind,” Marble said. “It’s something that you don’t necessarily have to worry about. For me, I’m still going to come ready to play and still continue to work hard; nothing is guaranteed even though it technically is. I’m still going to find ways to help and I would want to be here for the rest of my career. I’m just doing anything I can in the time frame now to help the team out.”

Pistons Notes: Bynum, Anthony, Gray, Dinwiddie

October 17 at 1:18pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Today’s Pistons/Celtics trade allows the Celtics to create a rather diminutive $884,092 trade exception equal to the difference between the salaries for Joel Anthony and Will Bynum, but the Pistons can’t reap an exception, since Anthony has the larger salary of the two. It was difficult to immediately see just why the Pistons pulled off the deal, since it doesn’t alleviate their dilemma of 16 fully guaranteed contracts against a maximum 15 regular season roster spots, but reports in the hours since the swap help explain, as we detail:

  • The heart ailment that’s keeping Aaron Gray out indefinitely was a major catalyst for the trade, which gives the team an additional backup center, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com“The decision that we needed to beef up our front line was the driving force behind it,” Pistons GM Jeff Bower said, as Langlois relays. “Joel is a player that we have familiarity with that we feel can and will be able to do what he does best. Those are needs for us.”
  • Bower said Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s almost fully recovered from tearing his ACL in January, was a factor in the trade, too, as Langlois observes in the same piece. Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy views Dinwiddie, whom the team selected 38th overall in this year’s draft, as a “pass-first point guard who can shoot,” Langlois notes, even though the 6’6″ 21-year-old is often listed as a shooting guard.
  • The Pistons plan to keep Anthony around for a while, sources indicate to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, suggesting that Anthony’s guaranteed contract won’t be one that the Pistons let go when they set their regular season roster (Twitter link).

Celtics, Pistons Swap Joel Anthony, Will Bynum

October 17 at 12:09pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Celtics have officially sent Joel Anthony to the Pistons for Will Bynum, the teams announced in separate press releases. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com originally reported the deal (Twitter link). It’s a money-saving arrangement for Boston, as Forsberg points out (on Twitter), since Bynum’s salary of slightly more than $2.9MM is less than Anthony’s $3.8MM take. Both are in the final seasons of their respective contracts. Detroit and Boston have 16 fully guaranteed contracts apiece, so they make odd trade partners as the October 27th deadline for teams to pare down to 15 players looms, and the salaries for Anthony and Bynum are both fully guaranteed.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz

The swap helps the Celtics forge some breathing room beneath the $76.829MM tax threshold, as Forsberg alludes to in his full story, since the guaranteed money they have on the books leaves them only about $1.2MM shy of that line. Substituting Bynum for Anthony gives Boston about $2MM in flexibility beneath that threshold. The Pistons are under the cap and are in no danger of paying the tax, but their motivation is less clear. It’s conceivable that the acquisition of Anthony is related to other moves the team is seeking, since Detroit is reportedly interested in trading for Wolves small forward Chase Budinger. Sending Bynum away leaves the Pistons with just two point guards in Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin unless they intend to keep Lorenzo Brown‘s non-guaranteed deal.

The 31-year-old Bynum averaged 18.8 minutes per game across 56 appearances last season, but he didn’t figure to receive that much playing time again this season after the Pistons added Augustin in the offseason. Still, the veteran who’s spent the past six seasons in Detroit expressed pleasure with Stan Van Gundy last month, so it doesn’t appear that he’s pushed his way out of the Motor City. Bynum doesn’t figure to find many minutes to go around in Boston, either, with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart and Phil Pressey at his position, though he’d probably be in line for significant playing time if the Celtics trade Rondo without bringing in another point guard in return.

Anthony unsurprisingly exercised his player option this past summer to stay under contract after a season in which he played fewer than 200 total minutes. Anthony was an important defender off the bench for the Heat when Miami signed him to his five-year, $18.25MM deal in 2010, and he started the majority of the regular season for the Heat’s 2011/12 championship team, but his role shrank as Miami moved to a small-ball attack. The Heat sought to rid themselves of his salary when they sent him to Boston in a January trade, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens largely kept Anthony planted to the bench. The 32-year-old will be no better than third on the center depth chart behind Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in Detroit, but he will at least provide some insurance with Aaron Gray out indefinitely with heart trouble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.