Avery Bradley

Trade Rumors: Sixers, Bradley, Tucker, Bogut

The Sixers are seeking deals for defensive-oriented guards capable of playing alongside Ben Simmons, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Philadelphia has targeted Celtics guard Avery Bradley, but hasn’t gained any traction.

With Marcus Smart playing well lately and Jaylen Brown viewed as a potential star by the Celtics, Bradley could be somewhat expendable in Boston, but Philadelphia and Boston aren’t necessarily a great match in such a trade. Both teams are loaded with future draft picks, which is likely what the Sixers would offer for Bradley — the Celtics don’t really need any more picks, unless they think they could use them in a package for a star.

Here’s more from around the NBA with the trade deadline less than a half-hour away:

  • At least three teams – the Pelicans, Cavaliers, and Celtics – have opted against meeting the Suns‘ asking price of a first-round pick for P.J. Tucker, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers don’t expect to flip Andrew Bogut in another trade before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides will immediately begin buyout discussions.
  • At this point, the Nuggets don’t expect to make any moves before the deadline, sources tell Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers are still trying to fortify their roster, and remain in talks with the Kings about Arron Afflalo, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.

Celtics Notes: Drummond, George, Bradley

The Celtics would be a potential landing spot for Andre Drummond if the Pistons are open to moving their young center, a source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. Blakely wonders if Boston, having shown little interest in DeMarcus Cousins before he was dealt, could instead be eyeing a big man like Drummond.

While we’ve known for some time that the Pistons are open to dealing anybody on the roster at the right price, Drummond’s recent behavior on Twitter, Blakely argues, could indicate that something is brewing. Earlier today, Drummond retweeted an eyeball emoji tweet that Isaiah Thomas sent out. Worth noting, Blakely writes, is that the point guard did exactly such a thing shortly before the Celtics added Al Horford in the summer. Later, Drummond posted his own eyeball emoji tweet and removed all references to the Pistons from his Twitter biography.

Tempering expectations on the Drummond speculation is Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who says that multiple people with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons claim it’s very likely the 23-year-old stays in Detroit through the deadline.

There are a few more Celtics rumors bouncing around today:

  • The Celtics may be unlikely to move one of their Nets picks for Jimmy Butler but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t include it in a deal for Pacers swingman Paul George. A CSN New England report filed Tuesday cites an article published by Frank Isola at the New York Daily News. “Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny Ainge and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper,” said Isola’s source, an anonymous executive.
  • One player that could make an interesting pieces at the trade deadline is Avery Bradley, says a recent CSN New England report. In a podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN mentioned that Bradley will see his contract expire next season at the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract comes due and for that reason might be moved ahead of time.
  • A report out of Toronto links the Celtics to both Jimmy Butler and Paul George but adds that the Celtics will likely hold onto their potential top pick. Ryan Wolstat of the National Post thinks Boston can offer an enticing package for Butler without including the pick.

Celtics, Clippers Discussed Blake Griffin Trade

The Celtics have had discussions with the Clippers regarding Blake Griffin, though a deal remains extremely unlikely, sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. If Los Angeles were to send Griffin to Boston, it would require the Celtics to give up Jae Crowder and either Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart in addition to future picks, sources tell Lowe.

Griffin will be a free agent after the season and Boston would likely need official permission to speak with the power forward before making an official offer to Los Angeles. The team would want to gauge Griffin’s interest in re-signing in Boston and Lowe notes that Minnesota allowed Cleveland to have similar conversations with Kevin Love before he was acquired by the Cavs.

Griffin isn’t the only star that the Celtics have interest in bringing aboard. Lowe adds that the team has “zeroed in” on Jimmy Butler and Paul George, though both appear unlikely to be traded. Lowe hears that the Pacers are turning away trade inquiries on George and it was reported earlier today that the Bulls are leaning toward keeping the 3-time All-Star. Lowe writes that the Celtics would need to include Brooklyn’s 2017 pick in an offer to entice the Bulls and Chicago could even demand both of the Nets’ picks in exchange for Butler.

Celtics Rumors: Ainge, Smart, Bradley, Ibaka

Celtics GM Danny Ainge is not interested in a quick-fix deal and is driving a hard bargain when it comes to his best trade assets, he said during a radio interview posted by CSNNE.com. Ainge doesn’t want any “band aids” for the final 25 regular-season games. “We’re trying to build something that’s a little more sustainable than we are to rent a player,” he said. The Celtics have the ability to dangle some tantalizing draft picks, as well as young players, to acquire the “long-term” impact player that he’s seeking. Boston has the right to swap first-rounders with the Nets this season and also owns Brooklyn’s 2018 first-rounder. Ainge says “there’s a lot of interest in” the Nets pick, though he didn’t clarify whether he was referring to one or both. “Everybody knows the assets we have and the young players we have, so that’s the challenge,” he said. “In any conversation we have, the price is a lot because of what we have in the bank.”

In other notable developments regarding the Celtics:

  • Combo guard Marcus Smart‘s strong play has made Avery Bradley expendable, Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com argues. Smart has averaged 12.3 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.0 RPG and 2.3 SPG over the past 12 games and the team has gone 11-1 during that stretch, Petraglia notes. Bradley, sidelined the last 15 games with a sore right Achilles, has one more year left on his very affordable four-year, $32MM deal and could be packaged with draft picks to land an All-Star caliber player like Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony or Andre Drummond, Petraglia adds.
  • Bradley believes he’ll be ready to go right after the All-Star break, as he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com and other reporters. “I’m feeling really good. I wish I could be back now, but I just have to do whatever is smartest at the moment,” Bradley said. “The medical staff thinks it’s smarter for me to just wait until after the All-Star break.”
  • The team did not make a push for power forward Serge Ibaka last summer because they had no interest in signing him to a long-term deal, a source told Kyle Draper of CSNNE.com. Boston did not want to get into a bidding war for Ibaka, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Ibaka was shipped by the Thunder to the Magic in a draft-night blockbuster, and then moved by the struggling Magic this week to another Eastern Conference contender, the Raptors.

Atlantic Notes: Ainge, Sullinger, Bradley

The Celtics remain the most likely team to make a splash before the deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The abundance of draft picks and valuable supplementary assets put them in a unique position to either get a deal done directly or facilitate one for others.

I don’t think any move of significance gets done before the deadline without [Celtics general manager] Danny Ainge being given the chance to put his fingerprints on it,” one executive tells Bulpett.

The Celtics, of course, have been featured in trade speculation all season and are one of the possible destinations that Carmelo Anthony would supposedly consider waiving his no-trade clause for. Sources around the league, Bulpett writes, say that Ainge is “patrolling the marketplace in hopes that a player worthy of some of the assets he has accumulated becomes available.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Fifth-year big man Jonas Valanciunas isn’t a good fit in Toronto, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Valanciunas’ defensive deficiencies — and Lucas Nogueira‘s lack of strength — make Bismack Biyombo‘s absence this season all the more noticeable during Raptors games. Still, Wolstat argues, while it’s hard to put a value on talented big men like Valanciunas, you can’t just give them away without getting something substantial in return.
  • When Jared Sullinger went to the D-League for a rehab start over the weekend, he did so of his own volition, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. “I thought it was great,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “You can’t force him to go. He decided to go. He wanted to go. It was a great step.”
  • The steady growth of Avery Bradley has been invaluable for the Celtics, writes Steve Bulpett in a separate story for the Boston Herald. “Isaiah’s having a spectacular year, and I think that’s a little bit overshadowed how great of a year Avery’s having,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “[…] Listen, he is our best defensive player, and he’s our second-best offensive player. And that’s a rare combination for a player.” Bradley has been out of action since January 16 but is expected to return this week.
  • The Knicks have struggled this season but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Derek Fisher was the better head coach. The former New York bench boss recently slammed current Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek in a Lakers broadcast where he now serves as an analyst. “There’s enough analysts and reporters who like to talk about: coulda, shoulda [in] what they did,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We don’t pay much attention to it. I think he’s also trying to push himself in a light that maybe someone else will give him a job.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Bradley, LeVert

After starting the season with a 7-24 record, the Sixers have reeled off eight wins in their past 11. The emergence of Joel Embiid has reinvigorated the franchise and the rookie big man has helped to anchor a rapidly improving defensive presence.

Now that the Sixers have shown an ability to win games, they’ve clawed their way out of the basement and up the standings. Such momentum has general manager Bryan Colangelo reconsidering the team’s willingness to make a short-term splash.

[Winning] does lead you to want to explore other opportunities that might accelerate where we are in this. It gives us some opportunity to explore some big deals,” Colangelo told Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. “We may be one of the only teams in the league that’s prepared with the resources and the assets to acquire a star level player.”

The Sixers have long been in rebuilding mode, but the strides that the team has taken this season under the guidance of Brett Brown suggest that this team may be ready to compete sooner than initially expected.

My responsibility is to make sure I do the right thing for the organization,” Colangelo added. “I’ve had a lot of dialogue with a lot of teams. I know what’s out there in the marketplace.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics have been exposed on defense without shooting guard Avery Bradley, writes Josue Pavon of WEEI 93.7 FM. While Isaiah Thomas‘ defensive shortcomings are not new, the team has seen just how much of a drop off there is between Bradley and fill-in Marcus Smart.
  • The Nets have seen seen a noticeable improvement in their third-quarter performance of late and credit the decision to bump Sean Kilpatrick from the lineup in favor of the more defensively inclined Joe Harris as part of the reason why, says Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “Listen, we’re demanding that those guys — anybody that steps on the floor — we’re demanding them to defend,” says head coach Kenny Atkinson. Harris sprained his ankle Friday and his absence will give Kilpatrick one more opportunity to improve on that side of the ball.
  • Not much has gone well for the Nets this season, injuries to Jeremy Lin a major factor in their first-half struggles, but the promising play of Caris LeVert has been one of the few bright spots. Nets Daily discusses the first half of Brooklyn’s season.

Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Acy, Embiid, Bradley

Despite the Nets‘ current 11-game losing streak, veteran center Brook Lopez remains optimistic on the team’s outlook, claiming to “want to see something special built here,” according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets, who don’t have control of their own first round draft pick until 2019, would seek two first round picks for Lopez, according to a recent report from Marc Stein of ESPN. Lewis confirms that asking price, but notes that Brooklyn isn’t actively looking to move the veteran center.

More from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets coach Kenny Atkinson heaped praise upon Quincy Acy, who just received his second 10-day contract with the Nets, as Lewis detailed in his previously-linked piece. “[I’ve liked] his energy, toughness, he’s got good athleticism about him, he’s got aggressiveness about him,” Atkinson said. “Surprised at his shooting. I think he’s an improved shooter, from what I remember. Just watching him in practice shoot the ball, he’s more skilled than I thought.”
  • Despite the Sixers‘ recent success, coach Brett Brown has shied away from the spotlight, Bob Cooney of Philly.com writes: “Brown, much like former general manager Sam Hinkie, the architect of ‘The Process,’ isn’t short-sighted. Seven wins in nine games is remarkable for this team at this time. Key words – at this time.”
  • Joel Embiid, on the other hand, has embraced attention from Sixers fans, encouraging fans at the Wells Fargo Arena to chant “Trust The Process” even louder. Embiid is a big reason the Sixers are turning heads in a league dominated by guards, Sam Donnellon of Philly.com writes.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens was critical of his team’s defense, claiming they were “just not good enough” in Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. As WEEI’s Logan Mullen notes, Boston will benefit immeasurably from Avery Bradley‘s return. Bradley, who will not participate in Saturday’s match-up against Portland, has had issues with Achilles soreness.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Bradley, Okafor, Noel

Carmelo Anthony followed up today on recent remarks about his situation in New York, telling reporters, including Mike Vorkunov, that he hasn’t spoken to management and hopes to remain with the Knicks. It’s been a slog for Jeff Hornacek‘s squad, as a myriad of on-and-off the court issues have resulted in a 2-11 record since December 25. Following a matinee loss to the Hawks at MSG, the Knicks slipped to 11th-place in the Eastern Conference; a far cry from expectations entering the season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Knicks aren’t guaranteeing court time for veterans during their swoon, recently replacing Courtney Lee in the lineup with undrafted rookie Ron Baker. Lee, who signed a $50MM deal during the offseason, has shot just 17.6% on 3-pointers over his last five games. “You’re looking for little things. Who is going to do the little things on this team? Who is going to take charges? Who is going to make the extra pass?” Hornacek told Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. The first-year Knicks coach also requested his team take more charges.
  • The Celtics are being careful not to rush Avery Bradley in his return from an Achilles strain, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. As coach Brad Stevens pointed out, several Celtics have excelled in Bradley’s place, including Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart. Having participated in a full practice Sunday, Bradley is listed as questionable to participate in tonight’s game against Charlotte.
  • Jahlil Okafor‘s 26-point game against the Wizards functioned as a showcase, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. Filling in for the resting Joel Embiid, Okafor connected on 10-of-16 shots from the field with nine rebounds. The trade deadline is just over a month away, Pompey noted, and the time is now to recruit possible trade partners. The Sixers‘ logjam of centers has been a well-publicized issue this season.
  • Sixers center Nerlens Noel won’t participate in Monday’s game against the Bucks due to a sprained ankle, the team announced today (via Twitter). A left ankle sprain cut into Noel’s minutes in mid-December, limiting the former Kentucky Wildcat to 7.6 MPG over a five-game span. While Noel is sidelined, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will split time at the five.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Porzingis, Powell, Sixers

The Celtics will include one of their main backcourt pieces if they make a major trade, Chris Mannix of The Vertical anticipates. Boston will have trouble affording the quartet of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier in the long run and can’t add an impact player without shedding one or more of them, Mannix continues. Smart is eligible for an extension next summer and will command a starting salary of at least $10MM, while Thomas and Bradley can become free agents in the summer of 2018. It will take a good chunk of the salary cap to retain both, in Mannix’s view. The starting backcourt can also have their contracts renegotiated this summer but Mannix is skeptical that GM Danny Ainge would eat into future cap space to make that happen.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and other players with rookie contracts will get a significant boost in pay once the new CBA is ratified, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Porzingis will receive a 15% increase next season and a 30% bump in the final year of his four-year rookie-scale deal, Berman continues. Sources informed Berman that Porzingis’ revised salary will increase from $4.5MM to $5.1MM next season and from $5.6MM to $7.3MM in 2018/19.
  • The Raptors need another elite player to become true title contenders but they should try to hold onto shooting guard Norm Powell, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun opines. Powell has the ability to play three positions and could play some minutes at point guard if Toronto includes current backup Cory Joseph in a blockbuster deal, Wolstat continues. In any case, coach Dwane Casey should try to give Powell, 23, more consistent minutes, Wolstat adds.
  • Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will continue to start together in the Sixers’ frontcourt during their upcoming West Coast swing, Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com reports. According to Seltzer’s research, that duo has 52 shared minutes over the Sixers’ last four contests, producing an offensive rating of 95.0 points per 100 possessions, and a defensive rating of 113.3 points per 100 possessions.

Eastern Notes: Olynyk, Bradley, Stuckey

Celtics center Kelly Olynyk will be out of action a while longer as he makes his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald relays. “I think we’re going to have to give it a few more weeks, get it as strong as you can and feel like you’re comfortable and ready to play and can take anything that’s thrown at you,” said Olynyk, who underwent the procedure on his shoulder May 16th. “I think that’s probably what it’ll be. It’s when you feel ready to play, man. When you feel strong, feel confident, feel like you’re coming in to help the team.”

In other Boston injury news, guard Avery Bradley was forced to sit out practice today with a sore right shoulder and is scheduled to be examined by the team doctor, Marc D’Amico of NBA.com relays. Coach Brad Stevens downplayed Bradley’s shoulder woes, but there is some cause for concern given that he has been experiencing consistent pain in his shooting shoulder — a shoulder that has been surgically repaired in the past, D’Amico notes.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown says the team is considered starting Ersan Ilyasova at power forward instead of Dario Saric, who was “thrown into the starting lineup” due to injuries, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter). Ilyasova was acquired from the Thunder earlier today.
  • The Pacers will be without guard Rodney Stuckey for awhile, with coach Nate McMillan announcing the player will be out of action for several weeks with an injured hamstring. The silver lining of this cloud is that an MRI showed there was no tear, which would have kept Stuckey in street clothes for a far longer duration.
  • Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net runs down some free agents to keep an eye on in case the Cavaliers decide they need more depth at point guard behind Kyrie Irving.
  • Brandon Jennings, who is now a member of the Knicks after signing with them this summer, said he knew his time with the Pistons was limited as soon as Detroit acquired Reggie Jackson, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “I knew it was over once they got Reggie Jackson,’’ Jennings said. “Just the fact my Achilles injury — nobody knew what to expect from me, how long it would take to come back. Achilles injuries are career-ending injuries. I already knew what time it was.’’ The Pistons traded Jennings to the Magic prior to last season’s trade deadline in the Tobias Harris deal.
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