Celtics Rumors

Celtics Waiving Ryan Arcidiacono, Juwan Morgan

The Celtics are releasing a pair of training camp invitees, according to Jay King of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that guard Ryan Arcidiacono and forward Juwan Morgan are hitting waivers.

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said before Friday’s preseason finale vs. Miami that the roster moves weren’t official yet, but acknowledged that Arcidiacono and Morgan wouldn’t be active for the game, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Arcidiacono and Morgan are both expected to join Boston’s G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, as affiliate players, a league source tells Himmelsbach.

Arcidiacono, 27, has spent the last four seasons with the Bulls, averaging 4.8 PPG, 2.2 APG, and 2.0 RPG with a .431/.373/.807 shooting line across 207 total games (17.6 MPG). He signed a two-way deal with the team in 2017, a one-year contract in 2018, and a three-year pact in 2019. Chicago turned down its team option on the last year of that deal earlier this year.

A former Big Ten standout at Indiana, Morgan went undrafted in 2019 and caught on with the Jazz, first signing an Exhibit 10 deal with Utah and then agreeing to a multiyear deal with the team. In 50 total regular season games with the club across two seasons, the 24-year-old averaged 1.4 PPG and 1.1 RPG on 51.8% shooting in just 5.6 minutes per contest.

And-Ones: Vildoza, Las Vegas, Elite, Smart

Luca Vildoza announced on his Twitter feed that he underwent foot surgery and that he will continue to pursue his NBA dream (Twitter link).

The Knicks placed Vildoza on waivers on Oct. 3. New York signed the Argentinian guard to a four-year deal in May, but there was no guaranteed money beyond the 2020/21 season and he never played for the team.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Las Vegas is a possible destination if the NBA decides to expand, according to Mike Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). Commissioner Adam Silver made that statement at the CAA World Congress of Sports. “It’s on a list at the point that we do turn to expansion, which isn’t right now, but at some point, no doubt Vegas will be on the list,” Silver said.
  • Overtime Elite will begin its inaugural season on October 29, Jonathan Givony of ESPN writes. Overtime Elite – a developmental program comprised of 16-to-20-year-old prospects, many of whom were four- or five-star recruits – will be split into three teams. Those teams will also play each other as part of the OTE League Series.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended for the team’s final preseason game on Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Smart missed the team’s flight to Orlando for its preseason game on Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Smart signed a four-year, $77.1MM extension in August.

Celtics To Sign Chris Clemons To Camp Deal

The Celtics are signing Chris Clemons to an Exhibit 10 contract, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets.

Clemons played on a two-way deal with Houston two seasons ago after going undrafted out of Campbell. He appeared in 33 games that season but he tore his Achilles prior to the 2020/21 season. He was waived in January after Houston acquired Kevin Porter Jr.

Clemons will likely be waived and play for the Maine Celtics in the G League, where he could earn a $50K bonus if he remains on their roster for 60 days.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Irving, Brown, Horford

The Sixers are preparing to use the same strategy whether Ben Simmons is part of the team or not, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The situation is surrounded by uncertainty even after Simmons made a surprise appearance in Philadelphia Monday night, then met with management on Tuesday. He still wants to be traded and the Sixers have promised to oblige, but no traction has been reported on any potential deal.

Coach Doc Rivers is downplaying the level of distraction, telling reporters, there’s not a Plan A and Plan B depending on whether Simmons is involved. “It’s only a Plan A,” Rivers said. “What we run, you don’t change just because one guy comes on the floor.”

Simmons’ absence has left a void at point guard because he typically initiates the offense when he’s on the court. Injuries have delayed Rivers’ plans to name a starter as Tyrese Maxey, who has adductor tightness, and Shake Milton, who’s dealing with a sprained ankle, both missed Monday’s preseason game.

“Obviously, spacing is going to change with Ben out there,” Seth Curry said. “But we know how to adjust. Everybody knows how to play basketball. It’s not too different from the stuff we did last year. It’s just trying to execute stuff better.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets star James Harden confirms that he and Kevin Durant were both consulted before management reached the decision not to allow Kyrie Irving to be a part-time player, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Harden says he supports his teammate, but doesn’t want the situation to become a distraction. “Kyrie believes in his beliefs, and he stands firm and strong on that. And for us, we respect it,” Harden said. “We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do. Individually, myself, I am still wanting to set myself up for a championship. And I feel like the entire organization is on the same path and we are all in this as a collective unit.”
  • Celtics coach Ime Udoka expects Jaylen Brown to be ready for opening night following a bout with COVID-19, tweets Boston writer Mark Murphy. He added that it will be a “tight timeline” for Al Horford to play.
  • Rich Levine of Boston.com examines the long-term prospects for Celtics second-round pick Juhann Begarin, who will play this season in France.

Al Horford Tests Positive For COVID-19

Celtics center Al Horford has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced today in a press release. Per the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, Horford is now isolating from players and team personnel.

The Celtics’ first regular season game will be an October 20 tilt against the Knicks in New York. It remains to be seen whether or not Horford will clear league protocols in time to return to the floor by then. Boston has two more preseason games on its slate — one tomorrow against the Magic and one on Friday against the Heat.

Horford was traded to the Celtics from the Thunder as part of the Kemba Walker deal earlier in the 2021 offseason. The 35-year-old big man last suited up for Boston during the 2018/19 season, before joining the Sixers in free agency. Horford will earn $27MM during the 2021/22 season, and is guaranteed to make at least $14.5MM of his $26.5MM salary in 2022/23, the final year of his deal.

In 28 games last season, Horford averaged 14.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 3.4 APG in just 27.9 MPG for the rebuilding Thunder, before Oklahoma City opted to shut him down for the home stretch of the season.

This news arrives on the heels of a recent announcement that All-Star Celtics wing Jaylen Brown also tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

Celtics Notes: Langford, Brown, Williams, Horford

Jaylen Brown‘s positive COVID-19 test is giving Celtics guard Romeo Langford more preseason playing time, and he hopes to turn that opportunity into a regular spot in the rotation, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Langford was used as a starter in Friday night’s game and delivered 13 points in 19 minutes while hitting five of six shots from the field.

“I thought Romeo was great with the starting lineup, played well offensively and defensively,” coach Ime Udoka said. “Obviously shot it well going three-for-four from 3. But does a lot of little things as well—solid defender, ball mover, just a guy that knows how to play with that unit and you saw it last year. So he did a good job. All of those guys are gonna get an opportunity. It’s just a matter of maximizing that and trying to play the right way, and I think they’re all making a concerted effort to do that.”

Boston selected Langford with the 14th pick in 2019, but he saw limited playing time under former coach Brad Stevens, getting into a combined 50 games during his first two seasons. The coaching change provides a fresh opportunity, and Robb believes Langford will be in the mix for backcourt minutes off the bench once the season begins.

“I feel good,” Langford told reporters after the game. “Body feels good. Mind is good. Just happy that I finally got a chance to do a training camp, a healthy summer, and it just feels good to be in a little rhythm and being able to work out in a practice with the guys leading into the regular season, and just building off from here.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Brown remains in quarantine, but is expected to be ready for the October 20 season opener, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Brown is the only Celtics player who has been affected, according to Udoka.
  • Friday’s game marked the first time that big men Robert Williams and Al Horford were on the court together, notes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Udoka may use some bigger lineups this season, and Horford’s versatility can help make the combination with Williams successful, Weiss adds. “With him, I need to space the floor more,” Horford said. “That’s kind of what I have to do, and he’s the kind of big who can pass the ball a little bit. When he rolls to the basket, it puts a lot of pressure on the rim and it opens stuff up for the perimeter. That’s why I feel comfortable that if we need to go to that lineup, it will work.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic reviews the Celtics’ offseason moves and examines whether they were able to fix the frontcourt problems they had last season.

Jaylen Brown Tests Positive For COVID-19

In a team press release, the Celtics said All-Star Jaylen Brown tested positive for COVID-19 today. The club added that Brown is asymptomatic and is quarantining.

It’s unclear at this time whether Brown will be cleared to return to action before Boston’s regular season opener (October 20, at the Knicks), but he will almost certainly miss the team’s last three preseason games.

It’s a tough blow for Brown, who is also returning from wrist surgery. The 24-year-old had a stellar season in 2020-21, averaging 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per night in 58 games. He also had a career best shooting line of .484/.397/.764.

If Brown does end up missing regular season games, offseason acquisitions Dennis Schröder and Josh Richardson are likely to fill in for the bulk of his minutes.

Atlantic Notes: Iverson, Sixers, Watanabe, Raptors, Celtics

Former Sixers star Allen Iverson would be interested in working for an NBA team, he said during a conversation with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report (video link; hat tip to RealGM). Iverson told Rooks that he’s “forgotten more basketball than some people know” and would love to put his expertise to use by helping current NBA players — especially if he could so in Philadelphia with his old team.

“I’m a Sixer for life. I’ve got Sixer blood pumping through me. Everybody knows that I want to help that organization,” Iverson said. “I’ve been retired, what, 11 years? I don’t know how I’m not a part of that staff (in) some kind of way.”

Iverson added that he’s not necessarily interested in being “the guy that’s right up front” (ie. a head coach) and that even just being a consultant for the Sixers would make him happy.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Addressing reports that the Sixers and Pacers have discussed a potential Ben Simmons trade, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer says that if the 76ers can get Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, and a future first-round pick in exchange for Simmons, they should pull the trigger. Philadelphia and Indiana have reportedly discussed both Brogdon and LeVert, though it’s unclear if either club has made an offer along those lines.
  • Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe is battling a left calf strain and won’t be available for Thursday’s game in Philadelphia, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. As Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets, the injury is considered minor, so hopefully it won’t affect Watanabe’s standing as he fights for a spot on Toronto’s 15-man regular season roster.
  • While Scottie Barnes is drawing far more interest, the Raptors‘ “other” rookies – Dalano Banton and Justin Champagnie – are also vying for playing time, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca details. Given the team’s roster turnover and injury issues, there are opportunities in the rotation available for the taking, Grange writes for Sportsnet.ca.
  • Al Horford‘s return to Boston reunites him with Robert Williams, who considered Horford a veteran role model during his previous stint with the Celtics. Jared Weiss of The Athletic spoke to the two big men about their relationship during Williams’ rookie year in 2018/19 and how they can help one another going forward.

Stevens Doesn't Miss Coaching Grind

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens doesn’t miss the daily grind of being the head coach, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press. “I haven’t had to worry about practice plan, game plan, none of that,” said Stevens. “I’ve enjoyed watching Ime (Udoka) put the team together and figure out how he wants to play, who compliments who, and all those things that go into that.”

Juwan Morgan Sidelined By Hamstring Injury

  • Juwan Morgan of the Celtics remains sidelined by a hamstring injury, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. The injury imperils Morgan’s chances of making the team. The former Jazz forward, who hasn’t been able to participate in practices, signed a camp deal last month.