Boston Celtics

Celtics Weren't Actively Engaged On DeMarcus Cousins

According to Mannix, that win over the Celtics without their star center in the lineup had some members of the Kings’ organization “dreaming of what a free-flowing, post-Cousins offense could look like.” Now the team will get a chance to see what its offense looks like without Cousins on a full-time basis.

  • Given the underwhelming nature of the trade package the Kings received, Kristian Winfield of SBNation.com wonders where the other offers for Cousins were. According to Mannix, a handful of teams, including the Magic and Celtics, expressed “nominal interest” in Cousins, though Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald tweets that Boston wasn’t one of the clubs actively engaged with Sacramento on Sunday.

Celtics Have “Deep Interest” In P.J. Tucker

The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, and- according to a report from Sean Deveney of the Sporting News– the Celtics have “deep interest” in the 31-year-old. Boston could view Tucker as an alternative to trading for Jimmy Butler; a move that would require giving up their first round draft pick. A defensive standout, Tucker has averaged six rebounds with 1.5 steals through 57 games in 2016/17.

Tucker is on an expiring contract, making $5.3MM in the final season of a three-year, $16.5MM deal. With the addition of Tucker, Deveney notes, GM Danny Ainge would be able to add depth while keeping Boston’s draft picks intact. Interestingly, Deveney points to Tucker’s locker room presence as a potential advantage over Butler, as “Jimmy Buckets” would have to be willing to assume a secondary role behind Isaiah Thomas.

If a move to the Celtics doesn’t materialize, we’ve recently seen the Timberwolves connected to Tucker as a trade deadline possibility.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Okafor, Atkinson, Ibaka, Porzingis

Knicks legend Willis Reed had an interesting take on the team’s leadership woes. The Hall of Famer suggested Phil Jackson take the helm as head coach, replacing Jeff Hornacek. 

“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter…He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”

Reed was critical of Jackson’s inability to find a suitable head coach during his run as Knicks president, citing Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Hornacek as disappointments. Jackson’s most recent season as a head coach came with the Lakers in 2010/11, in which L.A. finished with a 57-25 record.

More from the Atlantic…

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Jahlil Okafor in a recent mailbag, calling the Pelicans the best fit for the former #3 overall pick. In the event that Okafor isn’t traded at the deadline, however, Pelton named the Bucks as a potential landing spot over the offseason. Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe may opt out of his contract, making Okafor a logical candidate to slide into his role.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post handed out individual grades to the 9-47 Nets. Kenny Atkinson received a B-, as the rookie head coach has done a good job of keeping his players focused despite their gaudy record. GM Sean Marks was given a C+, largely due to his inability to capitalize on Yogi Ferrell‘s potential, and wasting $4MM on Greivis Vasquez.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave props to the Celtics, saying Brad Stevens‘ squad is well-positioned for the future. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach [Brad Stevens] and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft, which is remarkable,” Kerr said. “Boston’s in a great place. I have a lot of respect for Brad and Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] for what they’ve done and obviously, Isaiah Thomas. They’ve been a great story this year.”
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Raptors received assurances that Serge Ibaka would re-sign after the season. Ibaka, who has yet to make his team debut, will be expected to help lift Toronto out of their recent funk- entering the All-Star break having dropped six of their last 10. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, if Toronto doesn’t retain Ibaka over the offseason, their cap space can expand to $21.2MM.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to get on the same page as Derrick Rose, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “We’re still trying to find that connection between us, where we know exactly where the guy’s going to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We have to get a really good feel for each other. That doesn’t happen overnight. We’re still trying to work on that.’’ An anonymous NBA source added fuel to the fire, observing “I don’t think Derrick is helping Porzingis’s growth, with his head down going to the basket, not really looking for him.’’

Woj: Butler Trade To The Celtics Still Possible

A potential trade sending Jimmy Butler from the Bulls to the Celtics will loom over deadline week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

In a video interview, Wojnarowski says the teams have discussed a deal involving Butler, but talks haven’t progressed very far. He adds that Chicago officials have to to fully commit to the rebuilding process before they would be willing to give up Butler.

Wojnarowski says the trade would involve one of the Nets’ first-rounders — but probably not both — that Boston owns in the next two drafts. If the Bulls get this year’s pick, Wojnarowski states they can find a replacement for Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks last summer. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball are point guards mentioned as likely choices at the top of the draft.

Teaming Butler with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would give the Celtics enough firepower to challenge Cleveland for supremacy in the East, Wojnarowski states, not just this season but for years to come.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • The Clippers and Thunder are both potential landing spots for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. However, both teams are low on draft picks and may not have the assets that Denver would want in return.
  • The Thunder were trying to acquire Kings forward Rudy Gay before a season-ending Achilles injury.
  • The Wizards would like to add another wing player to their bench, with the LakersLou Williams and the NetsBojan Bogdanovic as possibilities. Wojnarowski says Washington is willing to part with a draft pick to get veteran help.
  • The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight, hoping to get picks or young players in return.
  • Chandler is one of several centers on the market, along with the SixersJahlil Okafor, the MavericksAndrew Bogut, the BucksGreg Monroe and the NetsBrook Lopez. However, there is limited interest in back-to-the basket centers. Wojnarowski speculates that one or two of them may be traded this week, but cautions that there aren’t enough buyers for all of them to be moved.
  • Unless something changes, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Knicks. New York management hasn’t presented him with any deals that would tempt him to waive his no-trade clause. Most of the teams that were interested in dealing for Anthony are now “looking in other directions,” but Wojnarowski thinks the Clippers might revisit their attempt to land Anthony this summer.

Celtics May Pursue Danilo Gallinari

The Celtics may try to pick up Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari before Thursday’s trade deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.

Boston GM Danny Ainge has long been a fan of Gallinari, according to Bulpett, and has tried to deal for him before. There haven’t been any trade rumors linking the Celtics and Gallinari this year, but the author notes that was also true with Isaiah Thomas before Ainge dealt for him two years ago.

Gallinari has been slowed by a groin injury and hasn’t played since February 1st. He has a player option worth $16.1MM next season.

Boston is hoping to add another scorer through trade, and Ainge has been active in talks during All-Star Weekend, both as a main participant and a facilitator, according to Bulpett. So far, Ainge hasn’t found a deal worth giving up his most valuable assets, which include the Nets’ first-rounders this season and in 2018.

“Danny’s let it be known that he’s willing to talk about the Nets’ picks,” said an unidentified executive. “But you want one of those guys, you have to be willing to give up a star.”

Ainge would also prefer to stay away from players whose contracts expire this year or next year. The Celtics had some interest in Serge Ibaka before Orlando traded him to Toronto, but they weren’t willing to part with much because they weren’t sure they could re-sign him in free agency.

Bulpett adds that the Celtics are very protective of their cap space and are reluctant to make a move that would hurt them on the free agent market. He speculates that it would take someone like Jimmy Butler or Paul George to tempt Boston to add significant salary in a pre-deadline trade.

The Celtics are also significantly less interested in trading for Jahlil Okafor than they were a year ago, Bulpett notes. They had talked to the Sixers about an Okafor deal at last year’s deadline, but after signing Al Horford the Celtics only want front-line players who they believe are compatible with him. Boston might have more interest in Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel, but the team won’t offer as much as it would have in 2016.

The author believes the Celtics would love to pick up Andrew Bogut from Dallas if the Mavericks decide to be sellers, but again wouldn’t pay a high price in a deal.

Celtics Notes: Thomas, Trade Deadline, Draft

A panel of CSN New England reporters agreed yesterday that the Celtics were unlikely to make a big trade before the February 23 trade deadline. Citing lofty “in-season” price tags, Chris Forsberg went so far as to say that there was “no way,” general manager Danny Ainge would give away too many assets for one star player.

When the conversation shifted to Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler in particular, there was consensus among the scribes that Chicago may be asking too much. “It’s going to take a godfather offer [from the Celtics],” Abby Chin explained, “including two of the Nets picks.”

Over the course of the last few seasons, the Celtics have shown patience in their rebuild and that pattern, they say, is unlikely to end.

There’s more Celtics news:

  • Despite the impending trade deadline Celtics head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t anticipate significant changes to his roster. “When we have a team like we have now, I don’t anticipate a ton of change but you never know what comes to the table,” Stevens told Kyle Draper of CSN New England. “Those are discussions that Danny and his staff will have and they’ll bring anything serious to my table.”
  • The Celtics need a better scorer to take some pressure off of Isaiah Thomas in the playoffs, says Bob Ryan of CSN New England, in addition to a role playing rebounder. The scribe echoes a popular sentiment that trading away the Nets’ 2017 first-rounder pick for a player of marginal impact, however, would be unwise. Ryan goes on to acknowledge Jimmy Butler’s strengths as a two-way player but says that the player he would want the C’s to pursue most is DeMarcus Cousins.
  • When Isaiah Thomas participates in All-Star festivities this weekend, he’ll be doing so with an ulterior motive. “I’m going to see what guys are talking about and dip my head in there and hopefully bring some more talent to Boston,” the guard told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.
  • The Celtics will have plenty of decisions to make in the next six months, long after the trade deadline comes and goes. One such decision will involve which rookie to draft with the Nets’ 2017 first-round pick writes Johnny Auping of RealGM. Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, “two ball-dominant guards with unusually developed skillsets for freshmen,” sit atop most mock drafts at this point in the season.
  • The forthcoming trade deadline will give the NBA community a clear sense of whether the Celtics plan to win-now or build for the future, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Hamilton writes that, given the age of their core, the C’s may not want to wait three-to-four years for their young players (and a possible 2017 lottery pick) to develop.

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.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Atlantic Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. Today, we’re examining the Atlantic.

Buyers:

Two Atlantic teams currently hold top-four spots in the Eastern Conference, and both the Celtics (35-19) and Raptors (32-23) are in great position to strengthen their rosters at this year’s deadline.

Boston, in particular, is loaded with trade assets, including a handful of extra first-round picks. While there are several teams around the league holding additional draft picks, none have the upside that the Celtics’ selections do. The C’s have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this season, and hold the Nets’ 2018 pick outright, and no NBA team has a worse 2016/17 record that the Nets. If any club wants to make a superstar available, a logical first step would be to give Danny Ainge a call and ask about those two Brooklyn picks, either of which would be a great starting point for any trade package.

The Raptors, meanwhile, don’t have quite the stash of draft picks that Boston does, but Toronto holds a couple extra future first-rounders, and is also carrying several intriguing young players on its roster. Guys like Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo should be available, and in the right deal, perhaps the Raps would be willing to include a rotation player like Terrence Ross, Norman Powell, Lucas Nogueira, or even Jonas Valanciunas. Although they’ve struggled lately, the Raptors took Cleveland to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and adding an impact power forward would make their roster even more dangerous.Read more

Latest On Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2014/15 season, but earlier this month, he announced that he was attempting a comeback. He hired Joel Bell to be his agent and he recently worked out for several teams, including the Celtics. According to Bell, one NBA team has already made an offer to the big man, as Gery Woelfel relays on his website.

“A lot of teams have expressed interest in Larry,’’ Bell said. “We already have one offer on the table. We should have something done at some point, probably by the All-Star break.’’

Six teams attended Sanders’ workout in Miami, though Bell wouldn’t disclose which teams were in attendance nor would he disclose which team made the offer.

An anonymous NBA executive from a team which is considered a “lock” for the playoffs told Woelfel that his team had representatives at Sanders’ workout. The source told Woelfel that Sanders had a good showing at the workout and added that two other playoff-bound teams were also in attendance.

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