Boston Celtics – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2018-07-18T14:13:50Z WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Kawhi Leonard]]> 2018-07-17T17:03:29Z 2018-07-17T17:03:29Z The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.

It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.

Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:

  • In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
  • Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
  • While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
  • The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.
Luke Adams <![CDATA[Celtics To Sign Walt Lemon Jr. To Two-Way Deal]]> 2018-07-16T15:47:35Z 2018-07-16T15:47:35Z The Celtics have agreed to sign free agent guard Walter Lemon Jr. to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Lemon will take over the two-way slot recently vacated by Kadeem Allen, who was waived by Boston over the weekend.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Lemon, who will turn 26 later this month, made his NBA debut earlier this year after he signed a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. The former Bradley standout later inked a second 10-day pact with New Orleans and ultimately appeared in five games for the club, but wasn’t retained for the rest of the season.

For the majority of the 2017/18 season, Lemon was a member of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League, averaging 22.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.0 SPG in 40 contests. In five Summer League games this month for the Pelicans, he recorded 13.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 3.6 RPG.

Boston will still have an open two-way contract slot after officially signing Lemon. The team has a qualifying offer out to Jabari Bird, but he may end up receiving a promotion to the 15-man roster, which would leave the other two-way slot open for someone else.

Austin Kent <![CDATA[Celtics Guarantee Semi Ojeleye's Contract]]> 2018-07-16T12:34:26Z 2018-07-16T03:45:40Z
  • The Celtics effectively guaranteed Semi Ojeleye‘s contract by not waiving him by today, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets. The second-year forward has stood out for the C’s during summer league.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Celtics Waive Kadeem Allen]]> 2018-07-16T15:37:26Z 2018-07-15T20:53:33Z JULY 15: The Celtics announced in a press release that Allen has been waived.

    JULY 14: The Celtics will release point guard Kadeem Allen and give his two-way slot to someone else next week, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

    A second-round pick out of Arizona in 2017, Allen saw action in just 18 games for the Celtics, averaging 1.1 points in 5.9 minutes. However, he was a G League All-Star with Maine and was named to the All-Defensive team.

    Boston only has one two-way spot filled, but the team extended a qualifying offer to Jabari Bird, who held a two-way contract last season, and may view him for the same role in 2018/19. Keep track of all the two-way deals with our Two-Way Contract Tracker.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Celtics Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Henry]]> 2018-07-15T17:57:18Z 2018-07-15T17:57:18Z Isaiah Thomas is on his third team since being traded from the Celtics, but his role in Boston’s quick turnaround shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Thomas, who agreed to sign with the Nuggets this week, helped the Celtics reach the playoffs after coming to the organization in February of 2015, then was part of 48- and 53-win seasons.

    That success made Boston an attractive option for free agents Al Horford and Gordon Hayward and put the franchise in a position to trade for Kyrie Irving.

    “Isaiah added credibility to our team by making us a legitimate basketball team,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And on top of that he was very entertaining. But he was all-in. He was all-in for the team. He was recruiting Al Horford to come. He was recruiting Gordon Hayward to come to play with him. He’s earned a lot of respect in my eyes.”

    There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

    • With the three stars of the Lob City era all gone from the Clippers, coach Doc Rivers plans to use the Celtics’ experience as a blueprint for rebuilding, Bulpett writes in a separate story. “They’ve done it as well as it’s ever been done,” Rivers said, “because all these other teams, including us now, everybody has a plan, but the plan has to work. And if it doesn’t work, then you have to start over again with another plan. And Danny and them have been able to run their plan.”
    • The Celtics haven’t given up on the possibility of first-round pick Robert Williams playing in the summer league, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Williams is getting constant treatment on his aching left knee and is considered questionable for today’s quarterfinal contest. “If Danny wants him to play, if Robert feels he can, if our training staff feels he’s not at risk of reinjuring it, we’d love to have him,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga. “… He just keeps getting better and better. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, but he does seem to be getting better.”
    • Pierria Henry has been the best point guard on the Celtics’ summer league team, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn expects him to be considered for a spot with Boston’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t return to Turkey.
    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Noise From The North: The Latest On Kawhi Leonard]]> 2018-07-14T21:28:21Z 2018-07-14T19:19:33Z Kawhi Leonard has dominated headlines all summer and he’ll likely be featured in the rumor mill until either the Spurs trade him or he commits to playing in San Antonio long-term. Rumors of the Raptors making a play for the disgruntled star made rounds during Summer League, and other teams such as the Sixers and Celtics come up in speculation about where Leonard is going to play next season.

    Most of the news may simply be noise, as Leonard has long been linked to Los Angeles, the only city he reportedly wants to play for. Cris Carter of Fox Sports hears that Leonard hasn’t changed his stance.

    “Nothing’s changed from Kawhi’s side from these standpoints: He still wants to go to Los Angeles, and he’s still not interested in being rented out for one season, so that being Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto or any other team,” Carter said on First Things First on Friday (Twitter link).

    Carter, a Hall-of-Fame NFL wide receiver, is an unlikely source for NBA news, though he appears to be dialed into the situation. Longtime sports agent Mitch Frankel, who represents Leonard, was Carter’s agent during his NFL playing days.

    Carter relayed that Leonard’s camp has remained in contact with the Spurs and they were told by the organization that they’d be notified if the club was closing in on a deal. That hasn’t happened and no rival team has been in contact with Leonard, something that would typically happen if another team was in conversations to acquire a player in a trade.

    Leonard’s camp considered issuing a press release about the rumors of Toronto making a play for him, Carter added. No such thing has since been released and the silence from Leonard’s people is partially to blame for the rampant speculation about the Raptors swooping in and acquiring the former MVP candidate, Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes.

    Deveney believes that a Leonard trade remains distant and adds that it’s easy to see why NBA executives are connecting the dots between Toronto and San Antonio. GM Masai Ujiri has the ammunition to pull off a trade that provides value to San Antonio while maintaining Toronto’s status as a serious Eastern Conference contender.

    Such a deal could be centered around a package of DeMar DeRozan and young prospects or picks and the Raptors have a deep enough team to give up two or three contributors and still surround Leonard with a top-ranked cast.

    However, Deveney believes it would be foolish to make the trade for Leonard without assurance that he’ll stick around past the 2018/19 campaign. For the Raptors or any team outside of Los Angeles, getting that long-term commitment doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Leonard is a generational talent, but for those non-Southern California teams, the risk may be even greater than the reward and a trade seems unlikely until that ratio tilts in one of the other 27 organizations’ favor.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Celtics Unlikely To Use MLE This Offseason]]> 2018-07-14T13:35:48Z 2018-07-14T03:50:04Z
  • The Celtics are planning to hold onto their $8.641MM mid-level exception for the balance of the offseason, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. Their priority is to re-sign restricted free agents Marcus Smart and Jabari Bird and see what develops during the season, Smith adds.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Marcus Smart, Celtics]]> 2018-07-12T16:28:03Z 2018-07-12T16:28:03Z
  • While it’s possible that Marcus Smart‘s free agency could be resolved soon, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald suggests it could drag on for a while. One source tells Bulpett that if nothing gets done this week, Smart and the Celtics could “take a break” and revisit things a little later. According to Bulpett, the C’s would like to lock up Smart to a multiyear deal, but long-term security seems less important to the 24-year-old than “getting what he thinks is fair.”
  • A source close to Smart tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that the veteran guard has been “unresponsive” to the Celtics‘ efforts to reach out because he’s “insulted” by a perceived lack of respect from team management.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Marcus Smart Receiving Sign-And-Trade Interest]]> 2018-07-12T00:32:29Z 2018-07-12T00:32:29Z Several teams have inquired about the possibility of doing a sign-and-trade deal with the Celtics to acquire Marcus Smart, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Schultz identifies the Grizzlies and Nets as two clubs that have considered a sign-and-trade scenario.

    Smart reportedly met with four teams, including the Nets, this week in Las Vegas as he looks to secure his next contract. Because he’s a restricted free agent and the Celtics are expected to match any offer within reason, the veteran guard hasn’t had much luck finding a team willing to go through the motions of negotiating and signing him to an offer sheet.

    While Smart could negotiate a new deal directly with the Celtics, Boston doesn’t seem all that eager to work something out. We heard earlier in free agency that Smart was frustrated by the lack of communication from the C’s, and Schultz cites a source who says the club has had “zero communication or contact” with the 24-year-old.

    A sign-and-trade agreement that sends Smart to a new team could be a win-win, but there will be complications. Any club interested in acquiring Smart will have to offer up an asset or two that appeals to Boston. Additionally, the base year compensation rule would likely apply to Smart’s new deal, meaning the Celtics and his new team would count two different salary figures for salary-matching purposes — that could create issues for an over-the-cap club.

    If Smart can’t find a sign-and-trade deal or an offer sheet with another team and the Celtics don’t engage more aggressively in talks on a multiyear contract, accepting his one-year qualifying offer remains a possibility.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Robert Williams Has Artery Condition In Legs]]> 2018-07-13T03:18:17Z 2018-07-11T22:38:45Z
  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams has an artery condition in both of his legs, multiple sources tell Fred Katz of According to Katz, the condition – known as popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES), is considered “not too serious” for now. NBA teams, including the Celtics, were aware of Williams’ condition heading into the draft, per Katz, who says the team will regular monitor the big man’s PAES.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Ainge Not Saying Much About Smart, Bird]]> 2018-07-11T20:16:58Z 2018-07-11T20:16:58Z
  • While Marcus Smart‘s free agent outlook remains up in the air, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calls the RFA guard Boston’s “highest priority” (Twitter link via Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal).
  • Asked today about the Celtics‘ plans for two-way restricted free agent Jabari Bird, Ainge replied, “We don’t know yet” (Twitter link via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald). Bird has been Boston’s best player in Summer League action so far, averaging 18.0 PPG on 57.9% shooting, but it remains to be seen if the C’s will find room for him on their 15-man roster.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Daniel Theis, Wayne Selden Get Salary Guarantees]]> 2018-07-11T17:45:19Z 2018-07-11T17:45:19Z When center Daniel Theis signed a two-year contract with the Celtics last summer, the second year of that deal was non-guaranteed. However, Theis would be assured of his full 2018/19 salary guarantee if he remainder under contract through July 10.

    According to multiple reports, including one from Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), the C’s had no intention of waiving Theis by Tuesday. As such, his $1,378,242 salary for next season is now guaranteed.

    It was an easy decision for Boston after Theis enjoyed a solid rookie year as a regular part of the team’s rotation. In 63 games (14.9 MPG), the German big man averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG, providing crucial depth in the Celtics’ frontcourt. His season came to an early end in March when he underwent surgery to repair his left knee lateral meniscus, but he should be ready to go for training camp.

    Meanwhile, another player – Grizzlies shooting guard Wayne Selden – also had a July 10 guarantee deadline on his salary for 2018/19. However, Michael Wallace of recently indicated (via Twitter) that Memphis elected to guarantee Selden’s full $1,544,951 salary prior to the start of Summer League.

    Theis and Selden will both be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2019.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Marcus Smart Meeting With Teams In Vegas]]> 2018-07-11T12:44:35Z 2018-07-11T12:44:00Z JULY 11, 7:44am: The Nets are among the teams to meet with Smart in Las Vegas, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. However, Lewis is skeptical of Brooklyn’s willingness to do an aggressive offer sheet for the veteran guard, noting that the team has less than $11MM in cap room available and has been trying to avoid taking on salary beyond 2018/19.

    JULY 10, 3:56pm: As he continues to seek a new deal, restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart met with two teams on Monday in Las Vegas and is meeting with two more on Tuesday, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. That group of teams includes clubs from both conferences, per Himmelsbach’s source.

    There have been conflicting reports in recent weeks on Smart’s asking price and on which teams might be interested in him. According to Himmelsbach, a source familiar with the negotiations said that the Celtics guard is open to a multiyear contract worth less than $15MM per season. Smart’s price tag may have come down since free agency began, since he said in the spring that he believed he was worth more than $12-14MM per year.

    As for potential suitors, the Kings were said on Monday to be preparing an offer sheet for Smart, but a report out of Sacramento this morning disputed that notion. A league source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that the Kings don’t have interest in making a play for the 24-year-old.

    If the Kings are really out on Smart, it’s not clear which club represents his best chance for an offer sheet. While the Hawks and Bulls still have cap room available, neither team has been linked to him. The Nets could also have enough room to put together an offer sheet after buying out Dwight Howard, but they have a backcourt logjam of their own and wouldn’t be able to offer more than about $11MM without additional roster moves.

    Smart could try to negotiate a new deal with the Celtics, but a source close to the player tells Himmelsbach that Smart’s camp had no further talks with Boston on Monday. The C’s seemingly prefer to let Smart find an offer sheet, with the intention of matching any offer within reason. If no offer sheet emerges, the former sixth overall pick may simply sign his one-year qualifying offer.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Kings Preparing Offer For Marcus Smart?]]> 2018-07-10T14:13:40Z 2018-07-10T13:11:29Z JULY 10, 8:11am: A source tells Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that there’s “nothing to” the report of the Kings’ interest in Smart, suggesting that no offer sheet is imminent (Twitter links).

    Over the last couple weeks, Sacramento has been linked to Smart, Rodney Hood, and Jabari Parker, all of whom remain available. There was also a report indicating that the team planned to focus on the trade market using its cap room, so it appears there’s no clear consensus on which direction the Kings will go with that remaining space. The club currently has about $19.5MM available.

    JULY 9, 8:30pm: The Kings are preparing an offer sheet to Celtics restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

    The Kings have been aggressive in free agency, giving Bulls guard Zach LaVine a four-year, $78MM offer sheet that Chicago opted to match. They are apparently intent on upgrading their off-guard position.

    It’s unlikely Smart will get an offer anywhere near that amount but it’s also less likely that Boston will match a large multi-year deal. Smart has been frustrated with the lack of offers and by the Celtics’ unwillingness to reach out to him to negotiate a new contract.

    Blakely reported on Saturday that Smart was likely to accept the Celtics’ $6.1MM qualifying offer and try his luck as an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Kings’ interest in Smart could change that dynamic.

    Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe recently reported that teams are willing to give Smart about $9MM annually, but he is looking for much more.

    Smart battled through injuries last season, appearing in 54 regular-season games while averaging 10.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 4.8 APG.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[European Teams Interested In Shane Larkin]]> 2018-07-08T14:50:40Z 2018-07-08T14:50:40Z Celtics point guard Shane Larkin has several offers waiting if he decides to return to Europe, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.

    Cauchi cites a report out of Spain that Baskonia, where Larkin played two seasons ago, is interested in a reunion. The team is trying to make its roster as strong as possible in preparation for the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria, Spain. Anadolu Efes in Turkey and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel would also like to add Larkin, according to Cauchi.

    The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Celtics last summer. He appeared in 54 games and posted a 4.3/1.7/1.8 line. He put up similar numbers in the playoffs before being sidelined by a sprained left shoulder in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

    A first-round pick by the Hawks in 2013, Larkin never suited up for Atlanta but spent one season each with the Mavericks, Knicks and Nets. His best season came in 2015/16 when he averaged 7.3 points in 78 games for Brooklyn.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Latest On Kawhi Leonard]]> 2018-07-08T03:34:46Z 2018-07-07T23:15:15Z Tony Parker‘s decision to sign with the Hornets won’t change Kawhi Leonard‘s desire to leave San Antonio, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. Schultz notes that Leonard “remains irate” with Parker over what he considers a downplaying of his quad injury. However, the locker room dysfunction goes beyond the relationship between Leonard and Parker, Schultz adds.

    A rival GM tells Schultz that the Spurs haven’t relented at all on their asking price for Leonard (Twitter link). The organization doesn’t care if Leonard is unhappy in San Antonio and is refusing to consider reduced offers to resolve the situation. Schultz speculates that the Leonard trade drama could last through most of the summer, just as Carmelo Anthony‘s did a year ago.

    There’s more news on Leonard to pass along:

    • Parker tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that his reported feud with Leonard was blown out of proportion. “I have no problem with Kawhi Leonard,” Parker said. “We never had an argument. When the journalist asked me if my injury was worse than Kawhi’s, I said yes because it was true. But that didn’t lessen the significance of his injury. He took over the franchise and I gave up the torch of the franchise willingly. It’s very sad that the media took one quote and made it sound like I didn’t want to play with him. He was the face of the franchise.”
    • If he gets traded to the Eastern Conference, the Sixers are the only team Leonard would consider re-signing with, ESPN’s Chris Haynes said in an appearance on The Jump. Los Angeles remains Leonard’s first choice, Haynes adds, but he would be open to a long-term deal in Philadelphia if he winds up there. He notes that Leonard would not be interested in a similar arrangement with the Celtics, who are another reported suitor.
    • ESPN’s Michael C. Wright is the latest observer to say that the Clippers have overtaken the Lakers as Leonard’s preferred destination. Speaking on his podcast, Wright says “someone who would know” tells him that Leonard doesn’t want to be “second fiddle” to LeBron James with the Lakers. Wright adds that the Spurs aren’t impressed with anything the Clippers have to offer in a potential trade.
    • Up to eight teams have done background work on a possible trade for Leonard, reports Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The Lakers, Clippers, Sixers and Celtics have been most prominently mentioned in trade rumors, but Kyler states that others are weighing the risks of a potential “rental” deal.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Marcus Smart Leaning Toward Taking QO?]]> 2018-07-07T22:07:30Z 2018-07-07T22:05:57Z Marcus Smart is likely to accept the Celtics’ $6.1MM qualifying offer and try his luck as an unrestricted free agent next year, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

    Two officials from teams that were interested in signing Smart tell Blakely they now expect him to return to Boston for another season. One of them adds that Smart’s restricted status is the reason he hasn’t received an offer sheet, as teams are convinced the Celtics will match it.

    Smart has been frustrated with the free agent market so far and by the Celtics’ unwillingness to reach out to him to negotiate a new contract. Boston’s front office would like to keep Smart, Blakely adds, but it wants to do so based on his market value.

    The Celtics also have to keep an eye on the luxury tax, which they will be close to paying, depending on the size of Smart’s contract. Team officials are content to let Smart and his agent find someone willing to give him an offer sheet, then make their decision based on that.

    Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports that teams are willing to give Smart about $9MM annually, but he is looking for much more. A source close to Smart says he may wait until October to sign the QO from the Celtics, just in case another team decides to clear cap room in an effort to sign him. That same source adds that Smart feels betrayed by the Celtics and there’s a “95% chance” that he won’t sign a long-term deal with them this summer.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Marcus Smart, Celtics]]> 2018-07-07T16:59:46Z 2018-07-07T16:59:46Z
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe provides an update on the Marcus Smart situation in Boston, confirming that Smart is frustrated by the negotiations – or lack thereof – with the Celtics so far. However, according to Himmelsbach, the C’s still consider Smart an “integral” part of their future and don’t view the current situation as a “standoff.” Himmelsbach also reports that there’s interest around the league in Smart at a price point of about $9MM per year, but he wants more, and could ultimately sign his $6MM qualifying offer if the offers don’t improve.
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    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Marcus Smart Hurt By Lack Of Communication With C's]]> 2018-07-06T12:14:34Z 2018-07-06T02:03:25Z The Celtics extended their $6MM qualifying offer to Marcus Smart in the days leading up to free agency but haven’t been in touch since, Mark Murphy of The Boston Heralds writes. That’s left the 24-year-old guard feeling “hurt” and “disgusted.”

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Lowe’s Latest: Kawhi, Sixers, Celtics, Scott, More]]> 2018-07-05T20:12:26Z 2018-07-05T20:12:26Z The Sixers have not made Markelle Fultz available in Kawhi Leonard trade talks with the Spurs, and the Celtics haven’t been willing to include Jaylen Brown in their discussions with San Antonio, ESPN’s Zach Lowe confirms in his latest article.

    We’ve heard variations on Lowe’s report for the last week or two, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link) recently suggesting that the Sixers don’t want to discuss Fultz, Joel Embiid, or Ben Simmons in Leonard talks, and adding that the Celtics’ top five players have been “off-limits” in negotiations with the Spurs — presumably, Woj was referring to Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford.

    Lowe’s full piece on the Leonard situation features several more tidbits of note, including some items only tangentially related to a possible Leonard trade. Let’s round up the highlights…

    • LeBron James isn’t pressuring the Lakers to add a second star for now, according to Lowe, who says that James “has faith in the combined powers of his supernova talent and the Lakers brand.” LeBron also recognizes that Brandon Ingram has considerable upside and is aware that many star free agents could be on the market in 2019, Lowe notes.
    • Lowe classifies rumors that Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving want to play together as “credible chatter.” However, the Celtics remain confident that they’ll be able to re-sign Irving next year, per Lowe.
    • Details of Mike Scott‘s contract agreement with the Clippers have yet to surface, but Lowe indicates the deal will use part of the team’s mid-level exception rather than being a minimum-salary signing.
    • Lowe’s piece is worth checking out in full, particularly for a section in which he brainstorms hypothetical wild-card suitors for Leonard, exploring whether the Raptors, Trail Blazers, Wizards, Timberwolves, Thunder, Heat, Rockets, Bucks, Nuggets, Warriors, Pistons, or Kings might be fits — many are quick “no”s, but some generate some intriguing hypothetical deals.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Celtics Sign Robert Williams To Rookie Contract]]> 2018-07-05T17:43:15Z 2018-07-05T17:43:15Z The Celtics have officially signed first-round pick Robert Williams to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. It’ll be a four-year deal worth a total of approximately $9.28MM, with third- and fourth-year team options.

    Williams, considered a potential lottery pick heading into the draft, slipped further than expected and landed in Boston at No. 27 overall. While one reason for that fall may have been a lack of medical information available to some teams, there were also reported character concerns about the big man coming out of Texas A&M.

    Williams didn’t exactly quiet those whispers to start his NBA career. After sleeping through an introductory conference call on the day after the draft, the rookie missed his flight to Boston for the start of Summer League practices over the weekend. Upon eventually arriving, he called it a “real wake-up call” and took responsibility for the mistake.

    With Williams under contract, 24 of 30 first-round picks have now formally signed their rookie contracts. No real negotiations are involved for those deals due to the rookie scale, and teams have no reason to wait on them, since they can be finalized during the July moratorium.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[No Formal Discipline Expected For Robert Williams]]> 2018-07-04T22:20:14Z 2018-07-04T20:13:05Z
  • Incoming first-round pick Robert Williams hasn’t made a great impression on the Celtics but an Associated Press report suggests that the big man won’t face any discipline for missing several team commitments less than a week into his NBA career. Not formal discipline, at least. “They discipline you with words,” the 20-year-old said. “More than you may know.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Dante Exum's Contract Could Complicate Marcus Smart Negotiations]]> 2018-07-03T23:23:29Z 2018-07-03T23:21:51Z
  • Dante Exum‘s new contract with the Jazz may complicate the Celtics‘ negotiations with Marcus Smart, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Although he believes it’s “highly likely” that Smart returns to Boston, the news that Exum received $33MM over three seasons could make contract talks more difficult. They were drafted back-to-back in 2014, but Smart has played 99 more games and his career scoring average is more than four points higher.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Poll: Where Will Kawhi Leonard End Up?]]> 2018-07-03T19:02:57Z 2018-07-03T19:02:57Z There have been plenty of huge NBA headlines during the first few days of July, with LeBron James agreeing to become a Laker, Paul George deciding not to become a Laker, and DeMarcus Cousins lining up a deal with the defending-champion Warriors, among others.

    However, for the most part, all has been quiet on the Kawhi Leonard front.

    After Leonard’s camp made a public trade request earlier in mid-June, the Spurs forward seemed likely to dominate the offseason rumor mill, but for now, the primary suitors for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year may be playing it safe.

    As Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets, the Celtics and Sixers appear to be “playing the long game” on the Leonard front, not wanting to do anything rash with their rosters in great shape and LeBron finally out of their conference.

    As for James’ new team in Los Angeles, the Lakers‘ other deals this offseason have suggested the club is retaining flexibility for the 2019 offseason, leaving the door open for Leonard to sign as a free agent and for the Lakers to keep all their young players and picks.

    While the Lakers – wary of being too patient after what happened with George – may increase their efforts to land Leonard in a trade at some point, they “aren’t keen” on giving up Brandon Ingram, tweets Schultz. Meanwhile, the Celtics won’t give up Jayson Tatum and aren’t enthusiastic about moving Jaylen Brown, and the Sixers prefer to keep Markelle Fultz, Schultz adds.

    While Schultz believes Leonard – who is unhappy in San Antonio and reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles – will be dealt eventually, he’s not sure where the star forward will end up. So we’re opening up that question to you.

    What team to do you expect Leonard to be with to start the 2018/19 season? Will he get his wish to join the Lakers? Can the Spurs convince him to stick around a little longer? Will a budding Eastern powerhouse like the Celtics or Sixers go all-in for him? Could L.A.’s other team, the Clippers make a surprise play to land him? Or will a wild-card suitor enter the fray and steal him away?

    Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

    Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving Interested In Playing Together?]]> 2018-07-03T18:00:33Z 2018-07-03T18:00:33Z All-Stars and former USA Basketball teammates Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving are interested in figuring out a way to play together, a league source close to the situation tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

    Both Butler and Irving were dealt to new teams in 2017 and thrived in those new homes during the 2017/18 season, so neither player is viewed as a trade candidate for the time being. However, both veterans hold player options for the 2019/20 season, meaning they could opt out and reach free agency at the same time a year from now.

    Both Irving and Butler are eligible for contract extensions this summer, but are unlikely to sign them. A June report indicated that Irving won’t consider a new deal this offseason, since it wouldn’t make financial sense for the Celtics point guard to do so. Butler is in a similar boat for the Timberwolves, as he has the ability to make significantly more money if he waits for free agency.

    Additionally, a league source tells Cowley that Butler has been “all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates” in Minnesota. Cowley singles out Karl-Anthony Towns as a player who isn’t on the same page as the veteran forward, hinting that Butler’s end-of-season comments to the Sun-Times could have been aimed at KAT and other young teammates.

    Butler said in late April that he doesn’t understand “how or why you all don’t love to get better the way that I do” and that he gets “lost in how everybody is not built the way that I’m built.”

    This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about unease in Minnesota related to the team’s three stars, Butler, Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. While there’s no indication that the Timberwolves need to take immediate steps to address any tension by moving one of those three players, the frequency of these reports is making it harder to envision them all staying with the franchise long term.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Wanamaker Excited For Opportunity; Williams Not Making Great First Impression]]> 2018-07-03T16:50:18Z 2018-07-03T16:50:18Z
  • Introduced by the Celtics today after signing a minimum-salary deal with the team, Brad Wanamaker said he has been looking for an opportunity to come to the NBA for the last couple years. “It’s a dream come true to play in the NBA and with a team like Boston,” the EuroLeague standout said, per Chris Forsberg of (Twitter link).
  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams, who slipped to No. 27 in the draft in part due to reported character concerns, hasn’t exactly been making a great impression to start his NBA career. After sleeping through an introductory conference call on the day after the draft, Williams missed his flight to Boston for the start of Summer League practices over the weekend, tweets ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[More On DeMarcus Cousins’ Deal With Warriors]]> 2018-07-03T14:53:25Z 2018-07-03T14:48:56Z In a conversation with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, DeMarcus Cousins explains that he chose to pursue a deal with the Warriors – calling GM Bob Myers himself – because he hadn’t received any offers from other teams, adding that Pelicans GM Dell Demps said New Orleans didn’t plan to re-sign him.

    Recognizing that he wasn’t going to get a maximum-salary deal, Cousins opted to play for a title contender for one year, aiming to rebuild his value in advance of 2019’s free agent period. “This was my ace of spades. This was my chess move,” Cousins told Spears.

    It’s somewhat hard to believe that no team was willing to offer Cousins a contract before he accepted the Warriors’ $5.3MM offer, and that’s especially true of the Pelicans, who had insisted all along that they wanted to re-sign the star center.

    According to Will Guillory of (Twitter link), Cousins never formally met with the Pelicans during free agency and may not have officially made an offer, but general numbers had been discussed and there was an “understanding of what each side was looking for.” It’s not true to say the Pels didn’t want Cousins, Guillory adds.

    Still, it’s certainly fair to say that NBA-wide interest in Cousins wasn’t as strong as many observers expected. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link), Cousins’ Achilles injury and a lack of cap space around the league were factors, and so was his image. “There were teams with [cap] space who did not want him in their locker room and didn’t want him in their organization,” Wojnarowski said.

    Here’s more on free agency’s most shocking contract agreement:

    • The Pelicans had a tentative meeting with Cousins scheduled for the coming days, but that meeting obviously won’t happen now, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
    • Lowe’s piece includes several other tidbits of note — he confirms Woj’s report that a number of teams had a “No Cousins policy,” and hears from sources that Cousins’ people were calling around on Monday and pitching deals to various teams. The big man’s camp proposed a one-year, $15MM deal to one club, but clearly there wasn’t a ton of interest, Lowe adds. For what it’s worth, Lowe is skeptical that Cousins’ deal with the Warriors will merit the kind of “hype” or “anguish” that it’s received so far, since his health and fit are still question marks.
    • While a previous report indicated Cousins narrowed his choices to the Warriors and Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears from a league source that the Celtics didn’t get a chance to make a formal offer. The C’s heard Cousins might have interest in coming to Boston, but by the time they began looking into it, his deal with Golden State was done, says Himmelsbach.
    • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer takes a look at the NBA system that allowed the Warriors to add Cousins to their super-team, exploring whether the idea of a hard cap could gain momentum or stop this sort of move in the future.
    • We rounded up several more Cousins-related notes on Monday night.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Marcus Smart Remains Top Priority For Celtics]]> 2018-07-03T13:39:55Z 2018-07-03T13:39:55Z
  • While Marcus Smart‘s free agency could linger due to his restricted status, retaining him remains the Celtics‘ top offseason priority, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[DeMarcus Cousins Leftovers: Blazers, Celtics, Warriors’ Recruitment]]> 2018-07-03T03:03:48Z 2018-07-03T02:57:43Z Before DeMarcus Cousins agreed to join the defending-champion Warriors on a one-year, $5.3MM contract, the Trail Blazers and Pelicans discussed the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent the star center to Portland, reports Chris Haynes of (Twitter link). However, according to Haynes, the fact that Cousins and Jusuf Nurkic share the same agent was one roadblock in those talks.

    Even if not for that issue, it would have been tricky for the Pelicans and Blazers to reach a deal that worked for both sides. Acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would have hard-capped the Blazers, who were already well over the cap, so they likely would have had to send at least one or two players to New Orleans. It’s not clear if talks progressed to the point where the two sides were discussing specific players.

    Here’s more on the free agency decision that has practically made LeBron James‘ move to Los Angeles an afterthought tonight:

    • Cousins had narrowed down his choices to Golden State and Boston before opting for the Warriors, according to Haynes (Twitter link). The Celtics could have comfortably matched Golden State’s offer and would have been a fascinating destination for Cousins — with LeBron out of the East, the C’s already look like a favorite to represent the conference in the Finals in 2019, so the team’s status as the frontrunner would have been cemented with Cousins in the mix.
    • Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports takes a look at the Warriors‘ recruitment of Cousins, which was led by his USA Basketball teammates Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, along with GM Bob Myers. Cousins also had “positive phone calls” with head coach Steve Kerr, league sources tell Charania.
    • The Warriors were initially reluctant to believe in Cousins’ interest, according to Charania, who adds that the big man also received interest from the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Wizards. Golden State’s agreement with Cousins came together so quickly that some members of the organization were “stunned” when word of the deal broke, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
    • Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter links), Cousins called his decision to join the Warriors the “smartest move ever,” and said he’s still hoping to return from his Achilles injury for training camp. Reports tonight suggested the Dubs may be eyeing a December or January return to action for their latest acquisition.
    • Cousins also told Spears that he received no significant contract offers when free agency began, but was prepared for that possibility due to his Achilles injury (Twitter link).
    • While it’s not impossible that Cousins could end up hurting the Warriors more than he helps, the addition – combined with the Rockets’ loss of Trevor Ariza – appears to have further widened the gap between Golden State and the rest of the NBA, writes Kevin Pelton of in his breakdown of the deal.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Celtics Sign Brad Wanamaker]]> 2018-07-03T05:28:40Z 2018-07-02T21:03:57Z JULY 2, 4:03pm: The Celtics have officially signed Wanamaker, the team announced today in a press release. Because it’s a minimum salary contract, it can be finalized during the July moratorium.

    JUNE 26, 5:59pm: Wanamaker and the Celtics have agreed on a guaranteed one-year, minimum salary deal worth approximately $831K, per international basketball journalist David Pick.

    Per Pick, Wanamaker left $3.8MM on the table in Europe to get his shot in the NBA.

    JUNE 25, 3:04pm: The Celtics are in the process of finalizing a deal with EuroLeague guard Brad Wanamaker, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

    According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (via Twitter), Boston would like to sign Wanamaker to a two-year contract, while Wanamaker would prefer one year, but it appears the two sides will work out an agreement. The Celtics would be able to officially finalize the signing once the new NBA league year begins in July.

    Wanamaker, who played his college ball at Pittsburgh, went undrafted in 2011 and has bounced around various leagues since then, playing in the G League and overseas. The 6’4″ combo guard has emerged as one of the more effective players in Europe, earning an All-EuroLeague Second Team nod in 2017 and winning the MVP award for the Turkish League Finals this year. In 2017/18, he averaged a team-high 11.8 PPG and made 40.2% of his three-pointers in 31 Turkish League games for EuroLeague powerhouse Fenerbahce.

    This will be the second straight offseason that the Celtics have dipped into the international ranks to fill out their roster. A year ago, the club brought Shane Larkin back from Europe and also signed Daniel Theis out of the German League. Wanamaker and Theis played together for Brose Bamberg in Germany from 2014 to 2016.

    International basketball journalist David Pick first reported earlier this month that the Celtics were giving “strong consideration” to signing Wanamaker. The Magic, Nets, Sixers, and Heat were also said to have interest.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Sixers Notes: Ennis, Ilyasova, Bird, Milton]]> 2018-07-01T15:50:49Z 2018-07-01T15:50:49Z The Sixers have their eyes on free agent forward James Ennis, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley, but landing him won’t be easy. Detroit owns Early Bird rights on Ennis and has made re-signing him a priority.

    Ennis, 28, came to the Pistons at the trade deadline after beginning the season in Memphis. He was a part-time starter in Detroit and averaged 7.5 points per game. He earned a little more than $3MM this season.

    The Rockets and Nets have also expressed interest in Ennis, according to Begley. The Pelicans would also like to sign him, but the growing interest may push him outside their price range, adds Scott Kushner of The Advocate (Twitter link). Ennis played nine games in New Orleans at the end of the 2015/16 season.

    There’s more from Philadelphia on the first day of free agency:

    • The Sixers talked to veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova about a return before he signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Bucks, according to Gery Woelful of The Racine Journal Times (Twitter link). The Lakers, Timberwolves and Raptors were other options for Ilyasova.
    • The Sixers are among the teams showing interest in Celtics shooting guard Jabari Bird, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, who adds that the Wolves are also considering an offer. Bird was a two-way player for Boston this season, appearing in 13 NBA games and averaging 3.0 points in 8.0 minutes per night. He was a big scorer for the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine, posting a 19.3/5.8/2.7 line in 20 games. Boston submitted a qualifying offer this week, making Bird a restricted free agent.
    • Second-round pick Shake Milton will be held out of summer league play because of a stress fracture in his back, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team plans to re-evaluate him in three weeks. His injury occurred during pre-draft workouts.
    • Justin Anderson had surgery on his left leg due to recurring tibial stress syndrome, the team announced on its website. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks, then again in six to eight weeks. Anderson has spent the past season and a half in Philadelphia and appeared in 38 games this year.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Celtics Re-Sign Aron Baynes]]> 2018-07-07T13:23:29Z 2018-07-01T04:14:13Z JULY 7: Baynes has formally signed his new contract with the Celtics, according to the NBA’s official transactions log.

    JUNE 30: The Celtics have reached an agreement with free agent center Aron Baynes, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). According to Charania, Baynes will re-sign with Boston on a two-year, $11MM contract. The second year will be a player option, Charania adds (via Twitter).

    A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston first reported several days ago that Baynes would likely stick with the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent.

    Baynes, who was playing on a one-year, $4.33MM deal in 2017/18, averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 regular season games (18.3 MPG) for the Celtics. The 31-year-old was also a key contributor in the postseason, flashing a newfound outside shot — after having made just four three-pointers over the course of his six NBA seasons, Baynes knocked down 11 of 23 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

    Having initially signed Baynes during the 2017 offseason, the Celtics hold his Non-Bird rights this summer. Those rights would allow the team to offer a starting salary of up to $5,193,600, which is likely the route that Boston is taking. Using Baynes’ Non-Bird rights would allow the C’s to retain their mid-level exception for another move.

    Baynes was the No. 41 free agent on our list of 2018’s top 50 free agents.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[New York Notes: Randle, Stauskas, Knicks, Turner]]> 2018-06-30T21:56:44Z 2018-06-30T21:55:13Z The Nets are among the teams interested in signing Lakers forward Julius Randle to an offer sheet, according to an article on NetsDaily. Brooklyn would like to reunite D’Angelo Russell with Randle, who is a close friend and one of the few Lakers who showed support for Russell when Magic Johnson publicly questioned his leadership abilities. They also share the same agent in Aaron Mintz.

    A few things will have to break the Nets’ way for them to have a shot at Randle. The Lakers will have to land both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, limiting what they would be willing to spend on their restricted free agent, and the Mavericks, who are also known to covet Randle, would have to use most of their cap room to sign DeAndre Jordan.

    Even if those dominoes fall into place, the Nets still have to trim some salary to come up with an offer sheet that starts in the $12MM to $15MM range. The article states that sweeteners such as up-front money and trade bonuses could be included to make it more difficult for the Lakers to match. To create cap room, the author adds, the Nets would have to get Dwight Howard to accept a buyout in the next few days and trade either Jeremy Lin or DeMarre Carroll.

    There’s more today out of New York:

    • Even though the Nets decided against a qualifying offer for Nik Stauskas, that doesn’t mean he’ll be in a different uniform next season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn views Stauskas as a lower-cost alternative if Joe Harris leaves in free agency, where he is expected to get a deal three to four times higher than his $1.5MM salary for 2017/18. Mark Bartelstein, who serves as the agent for both players, isn’t sure the decision will come down to one or the other. “We’ll see how things play out over the next two days,” he said. “We’ll be keeping the lines of communication open for the next few days. I know the Nets like Nik a lot. We’ll see how the roster shapes up.”
    • Pacers center Myles Turner could be the Knicks‘ top free agent target next summer, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Turner will be a restricted free agent if he doesn’t sign an extension with Indiana this summer. His family lives in New York, and he and Kristaps Porzingis are friends. Begley lists Terry Rozier and Malcolm Brogdon as other names to watch in 2019.
    • James Dolan has denied rumors that he is thinking about putting the Knicks up for sale, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Madison Square Garden Company released a statement Friday night saying, “There are no plans to sell the Knicks or the Rangers.”
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Danny Ainge Talks Celtics’ Offseason, Trade Rumors]]> 2018-06-29T16:54:02Z 2018-06-29T16:54:02Z Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge appeared at a press conference on Friday morning, and while the presser was ostensibly intended to introduce first-round pick Robert Williams, Ainge also touched on several other topics related to his team’s offseason.

    Here, via Chris Forsberg of and Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, are a few of Ainge’s more noteworthy comments:

    On the possibility of making a blockbuster trade:

    “If I feel like it’ll help our team, we explore every trade of certain magnitude or superstar, first-ballot Hall of Fame-type of players. We’re going to take a look and kick the tires and see if there’s something there, but that’s all. I think those things are unlikely.”

    On Celtics-related trade rumors involving Kawhi Leonard and other players:

    “Most of it is false, especially the details of it. What I don’t like about it is I don’t like how names are just thrown around. And you guys probably don’t care about the names, and that’s your job is to make good stories and have good things to talk about on the air, but, yeah, most of it’s not true. There’s sometimes bits and pieces of it that are true, so it’s not total lies. I can’t call it fake news. But it’s complex.”

    On whether Ainge considers the Celtics, as currently constructed, a title contender:

    “Yeah. I felt like we were a title contender last year in training camp. I didn’t think we were the favorites, but I felt like we were a contender.”

    On what kind of complementary pieces the Celtics will be targeting this offseason:

    “It’s easier when you have three [star] guys already that you’ve gotten from the years before and you got some budding stars in younger players that are progressing. So … we don’t really have a need. We have really good players, so we need to surround them with role players with the rest of our roster that have a chance to win.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Celtics Extend Qualifying Offers To Marcus Smart, Jabari Bird]]> 2018-06-29T12:16:26Z 2018-06-29T02:56:39Z The Celtics have tendered a qualifying offer to guard Marcus Smart, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. The 24-year-old will now head into July as a restricted free agent, giving Boston first right of refusal in the event that he lands an offer sheet from another team.

    Smart stands to draw interest on the market, although the number of teams with enough cap space to land him will be limited.

    If Smart doesn’t like what he hears when free agency begins, he can sign the qualifying offer, worth $6MM for 2018/19, and then take another chance on the open market as an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

    Smith adds in a subsequent tweet that Smart’s cap hold until he inks a new contract will be $13.6MM.

    Smart averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Celtics this season and has established himself as a gritty guard capable of contributing to a contender.

    The Celtics have also extended a qualifying offer for two-way guard Jabari Bird.

    Smith adds that the club decided not to tender a qualifying offer to Jonathan Gibson, freeing him to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Spurs Ready To Move On From Kawhi Leonard?]]> 2018-06-29T01:02:23Z 2018-06-29T00:58:12Z 7:58pm: The Lakers haven’t offered Ingram in any deals, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times tweets. She subsequently clarified that this doesn’t preclude them from being willing to include him if push came to shove.

    12:58pm: The Celtics are taking a “conservative” approach in talks with the Spurs and have yet to discuss Jaylen Brown, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

    12:12pm: The Lakers are willing to include Brandon Ingram and a future first-round pick in a package for Leonard, according to Wojnarowski, who hears from league sources that the Spurs want a “far more complete haul” of young players and picks.

    Meanwhile, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) continues to hear that a Celtics trade for Leonard remains unlikely, given all the question marks related to his health and contract situation. Boston hasn’t received any assurances from Kawhi that he’d want to be a Celtic, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

    11:15am: According to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter), “rumblings of a Godfather Lakers offer” for Leonard have other teams wondering if they have any realistic chance to land the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

    10:39am: As recently as last week, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was telling reporters that the club still hoped to smooth things over with Kawhi Leonard and keep the star forward on the roster. However, San Antonio’s stance appears to be evolving.

    According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), league sources are saying that the Spurs are “ready” to move on from Leonard. Stein cautions that the team’s apparent willingness to deal doesn’t mean that San Antonio will send Leonard to the Lakers or any other team within the next day or two. However, it appears to be a major shift if the Spurs’ thinking.

    The Spurs are currently “fully engaged” in Leonard trade talks with a number of teams, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Wojnarowski identifies the Lakers and Celtics as two clubs very much involved in those discussions, adding that Boston has the assets that the Spurs covet most in a potential swap.

    Even if the Celtics refuse to include Jayson Tatum in an offer for Leonard, they have multiple young players that could appeal to San Antonio, including Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Adding Marcus Smart via a sign-and-trade could also be a possibility, and the C’s are loaded with future first-round picks, including the Kings’ 2019 first-rounder (top-1 protected).

    Still, when Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald addressed the Leonard situation on Wednesday evening, he suggested that the Celtics and Spurs hadn’t gotten anywhere in their discussions so far. Per Bulpett, the Celtics would want assurances that Leonard’s quad injury is healed and that he’d be willing to stay in Boston for more than one year. Without those assurances, it’s hard to imagine the C’s offering the kind of significant package the Spurs will be seeking.

    Multiple reports from ESPN on Wednesday indicated that the Lakers are feeling some pressure to finalize a Leonard trade as soon as possible, since landing Kawhi could give the team the strong upper hand in the LeBron James sweepstakes. While the Spurs are under no obligation to adhere to the Lakers’ preferred timeline, rival suitors could feel compelled to increase their offers for the star forward if they sense that the Lakers are going all in.

    The Sixers, Clippers, and Cavaliers are among the other teams known to have inquired on Leonard’s availability, though the Clips and Cavs may lack the young players necessary to put together a tempting offer.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Lowe’s Latest: James, Thunder, RFAs]]> 2018-06-29T12:17:18Z 2018-06-29T00:56:12Z The Lakers may not necessarily need a star in place to lure LeBron James, Zach Lowe of ESPN writes in a massive round-up of free agency notes. If James were to sign in Los Angeles alongside the team’s existing young stars and plethora of cap space they’d immediately become one of the league’s most appealing destinations for the next 12 months.

    The comment comes in response to the notion that the Lakers are growing desperate to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs prior to James’ opt-in deadline tomorrow at 10:59pm CST. As things stand, both the Celtics and Sixers appear poised to offer better packages than what Lowe speculates L.A. might.

    The King’s decision will have a ripple effect on the rest of the league, especially the Eastern Conference. If the Raptors, for example, were to watch James head to the West, it would make keeping their current core in place more appealing considering that their path to the Finals would be hypothetically easier.

    Here’s a taste of the rest of Lowe’s findings:

    • If the Thunder can convince Paul George to return to Oklahoma City, it will be a monumental victory for general manager Sam Presti. If he leaves, the club would be forced to at least think about blowing the current squad up and trading Russell Westbrook.
    • Only six teams have notable amounts of potential cap space and half of those – the Hawks, Bulls and Kings – are telling teams that they’re interested in using that space to absorb bad contracts and pick up assets.
    • It’s unclear that there will be much of a market for Derrick Favors beyond, potentially the Mavs. It may make more sense for the big man to stay with the Jazz after finally starting to click alongside Rudy Gobert in Quin Snyder‘s offense last season.
    • The two best candidates to sign a qualifying offer this summer and approach next summer as unrestricted free agents are Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. Lowe writes that Nurkic turned down a “rich” four-year extension last fall but might have a hard time finding a team willing to offer more than the mid-level exception this summer.
    • It stands to reason that Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker will yield significant offers from the Magic, Bulls and Bucks  respectively but none of those teams have reason to offer a max contract right away.
    • The Pacers could make life harder for the Magic by putting together an offer in the $20MM range for Gordon. Lowe writes that there has been “mild discontent for years” about Gordon’s role in Orlando’s offense.
    • The Nuggets tried “feverishly” to trade for a second first-round pick last Thursday in the hopes of nabbing Zhaire Smith. Denver’s 2019 first-rounder was on the table in those talks.

    For more free agency notes, including some potential contract extension candidates and the reasoning behind Nikola Jokic not getting a player option in the fifth year of his new deal with the Nuggets, check out the full feature at ESPN.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Sixers Weighing Trade Packages For Kawhi Leonard]]> 2018-06-28T20:13:54Z 2018-06-28T20:13:54Z The Lakers and Celtics are in talks with the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, but they’re not the only teams interested in making a play for the star forward. According to Jake Fischer of, the Sixers have held “serious internal discussions” about trading for Leonard within the last couple days, and the front office has taken several trade scenarios to team ownership for consideration.

    Fischer reports that the Sixers have yet to present the Spurs with a formal offer for Leonard, but their internal discussions have revolved around various young players and future draft picks.

    One team source tells Fischer that, based on preliminary discussions between the Sixers and Spurs, San Antonio appears to have “strong interest” in a package that includes Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a future first-round pick — perhaps the Heat’s 2021 first-rounder, which the 76ers acquired last Thursday from the Suns.

    Markelle Fultz isn’t mentioned in the report and Fischer confirms in a follow-up tweet that last year’s No. 1 pick isn’t part of any of the proposed packages that team management has brought to Sixers ownership.

    According to Fischer, the 76ers showed little interest in parting with either Saric or Covington in pre-draft trade talks when they explored moving up from No. 10. That doesn’t mean that either player would be off-limits in an offer for Leonard, but Philadelphia appears to strongly value the on- and off-court contributions it gets from Saric and Covington.

    Interestingly, the Spurs have informed teams that Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is their preferred target in Leonard talks, sources tell Fischer. Other clubs believe this is a negotiating tactic though, since Boston is unlikely to surrender Tatum. Per Fischer, it’s “widely believed in league circles” that the C’s would propose a deal centered around Kyrie Irving and draft picks. We heard earlier today that Boston had yet to discuss Jaylen Brown in talks with the Spurs.

    While Los Angeles is Leonard’s preferred landing spot, a source close to the situation suggests to Fischer that the star forward is open to other major markets. That could bode well for teams based in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, though the Nets and Knicks are unlikely to be players for Leonard.

    The Sixers’ offseason will be fascinating to watch, particularly if the team takes a major swing on a player like Leonard. The franchise currently doesn’t have a permanent general manager in place, with head coach Brett Brown holding the position on an interim basis after Bryan Colangelo‘s dismissal. For what it’s worth, Fischer notes that Leonard and Brown are believed to have a good relationship, dating back to their time together in San Antonio.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Lakers Feeling Pressure To Land Kawhi Before LeBron Decision?]]> 2018-06-27T16:44:17Z 2018-06-27T16:29:53Z Pressure appears to be mounting on the Lakers to make a deal for Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard before LeBron James makes his free agent decision, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst, and Ramona Shelburne of

    As ESPN’s report explains, there’s a belief that James would be reluctant to commit to the Lakers in free agency if he’s the only star headed to Los Angeles. With Paul George no longer viewed as a lock to land in L.A., Leonard may represent the Lakers’ best bet to acquire another star to help convince James to head west.

    James’ player-option decision due on Friday, so there’s a race to acquire Leonard by then, per Woj, Windhorst, and Shelburne. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Sixers, and Clippers are among the teams that have made offers for Leonard, and multiple teams in that group figure to be in the mix for James too. If the Lakers were to lose out on Leonard to, say, the Sixers or Cavs, it could reduce L.A.’s chances of recruiting LeBron to L.A.

    Of course, the Spurs have stated they won’t rush into any trade involving Leonard, since their preference would be to retain him. It’s possible that they receive an offer this week that they simply can’t refuse, but the Spurs likely won’t be eager to improve another team’s chances of landing James.

    Here are several other key updates related to the Lakers, Cavaliers, James, Leonard, and more:

    • Although the Lakers came away from their initial conversation with the Spurs feeling like San Antonio “shut the door” on them, ESPN’s trio reports that the Spurs haven’t ruled out trading Leonard to any destination in the Eastern or Western Conference.
    • The Lakers have been on the lookout for a future first-round pick on the trade market and are willing to take on 2018/19 salary, per ESPN. The Lakers could keep a max-salary slot open for a free agent even if they take on some salary, and that pick could be used to sweeten a larger trade package.
    • While the Cavaliers have been actively exploring ways to upgrade their roster via trades or free agency, they haven’t been given the chance to meet with or discuss scenarios with James, league sources tell ESPN. With LeBron unwilling to commit to the Cavs, it will be tricky for the front office to execute a major trade in the interim. For instance, if George were to consider picking up his player option to accommodate a trade to Cleveland, he’d want to know that James was sticking around.
    • Although the Cavaliers have inquired about Leonard, they probably don’t have the assets to pull off a deal, given their competition for the star forward, per ESPN’s report.
    • James is hoping to decide on his free agent destination fairly quickly, according to ESPN.
    • Some league executives who spoke to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News believe that James would be willing to sign with the Lakers even if the team hasn’t made any other impact moves yet. “They’re doing enough research to suggest that he’s going to be willing to take that plunge and let the roster come together,” one GM told Deveney. “It’s what happened in Cleveland four years ago.” When James signed with the Cavaliers in 2014, he did so before the team had finalized a trade for Kevin Love.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Aron Baynes Considered Likely To Remain With Celtics]]> 2018-06-26T20:40:32Z 2018-06-26T20:40:32Z Aron Baynes will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, free to sign with any NBA team. However, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, Baynes is a good bet to stick with the Celtics. Multiple league sources tell Blakely that they expect the C’s to sign Baynes to a new multiyear contract.

    As Blakely details, Baynes has made no secret of his desire to remain in Boston, suggesting in his exit interview after the season that he’d like to return. The veteran center also represented the team at the NBA Awards Show on Monday night, which doesn’t seem like the behavior of someone who expects to sign with a new team next week.

    From the Celtics’ perspective, re-signing Baynes would make sense. With Greg Monroe also a free agent and first-round pick Robert Williams likely not ready for a major role, the team will need to find a way to fortify its frontcourt. Re-signing Baynes using his Non-Bird rights would allow the C’s to avoid giving up trade assets or dipping into their mid-level exception to add a big man.

    Baynes, who was playing on a one-year, $4.33MM deal in 2017/18, averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 regular season games (18.3 MPG) for the Celtics. The 31-year-old was also a key contributor in the postseason, flashing a newfound outside shot — after having made just four three-pointers over the course of his six NBA seasons, Baynes knocked down 11 of 23 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

    Baynes is one of several free agents of note for the Celtics, who will also see Monroe and Shane Larkin reach unrestricted free agency while Marcus Smart becomes a restricted free agent.