Daniel Theis

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Kanter, Facility, Theis

The Celtics will “most likely” offer Jayson Tatum a maximum contract extension whenever the offseason arrives, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (hat tip to Tom Westerholm of MassLive). Windhorst addressed the situation today on SportsCenter, saying Tatum is the young star the franchise plans to build around.

“If Jayson Tatum is the superstar that they envisioned when they began this whole rebuilding process when they traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for all of those draft picks hoping to land a player like this, we could see ‘Glory Days’ for the Celtics again,” Windhorst said. “But it’s very much up in the air, and I’m gonna tell ya, they’re gonna have to pay him like it because after this season ends, he is going to get most likely a max contract. They’re going to bet that he becomes that player.”

Westerholm notes that the best outcome for Tatum would be if the league agrees to a temporary freeze on the salary cap, which is at risk of declining significantly due to the lockdown. Tatum will be eligible for a new contract starting at 25% of the 2021/22 cap (or up to 30% of the cap if he meets certain benchmarks).

There’s more from Boston:

  • After spending most of the past two months in Chicago, Enes Kanter is on a road trip back to Boston so he can be there when the team facility reopens Monday, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Kanter explained that he’s traveling by car instead of flying so he won’t have to quarantine for 14 days. “I need some kind of discipline in my life right now,” Kanter said of returning to basketball. “Because, like, right now, I’m waking up late and eating whatever. I work out whenever I want to work out. Once you are in Boston, I think my life is going to be a little bit more disciplined. And I’m going to be more focused because, when you’re not in Boston, your head is all over the world.”
  • In an appearance earlier this week on FS1, Kanter raved about how hard his teammates have worked to stay in shape during the hiatus, relays Chris Cotillo of MassLive“We have these virtual workouts with the Celtics,” Kanter said. “We get on the call with the strength coach and literally just do push-ups and sit-ups. I see some of the players doing workouts with suitcases because they don’t have the tools to work out. I’m like, that is going to bring us a championship, that’s that championship mentality.”
  • Center Daniel Theis is one of few Celtics who has experience playing games in empty arenas, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. Appearing on the network’s “Celtics at Home” series, Theis recalled his days in Germany when nobody would show up for preseason contests. “You hear every voice, every word, every step,” he said. “It’s annoying.”

Atlantic Notes: Butler-Brown, Theis, Knicks, Celtics

Current Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler, formerly a clutch swingman on the star-studded, title-contending 2018/19 Sixers, acknowledged that his relationship with coach Brett Brown was not particularly great, as he told his former Philadelphia teammate J.J. Redick on The J.J. Redick Podcast With Tommy Alter.

On the podcast, Butler described an uncomfortably tense and silent film-watching session with Redick, Butler, and Sixers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. “And I told you this as we walked out, ‘J.J., why would we ever go in there again?,'” Butler said on the podcast. “‘Nothing’s getting accomplished. Nobody’s saying nothing to anybody.'”

Butler also discussed having spoken up about the offense in a subsequent film-watching session in Portland that became a hot topic in the national media. Butler suggested the conversation was blown out of proportion by outside observers, a point his former Sixers teammate agreed with. “I don’t know why it got reported the way it did,” Redick said.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Daniel Theis, the Celtics‘ starting center replacement for the departed Al Horford, was having a comparable season to his predecessor before play was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to The Stats Corner of NBC Sports Boston. Theis’ production per 36 minutes has actually been better than Horford’s during 2018/19. Their scoring numbers are similar, while Theis is pulling down more rebounds and blocks and shooting at a higher field goal percentage. The 27-year-old German signed a two-year, $10MM contract with Boston during the summer of 2019. The 33-year-old Horford, meanwhile, inked a four-year, $97MM contract ($109MM if he hits all incentives) with the Sixers this summer.
  • As the Knicks continue to overhaul their front office, Cavaliers salary cap expert Brock Aller has emerged as a potential addition to new team president Leon Rose‘s staff, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. After spending a decade as the personal assistant to team owner Dan Gilbert, Aller graduated to a position as senior director of basketball operations in 2017.
  • The Celtics team, staff, and attendant beat reporters experienced a tense journey on the road as the coronavirus spread beyond tenable levels, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe in his first-person account of what transpired.

Eastern Notes: Love, Bryant, Bertans, Augustin, C’s

Few NBA players have been mentioned more frequently in trade rumors this season than Kevin Love. However, with the Cavaliers and potential trade partners not seeing eye-to-eye on Love’s value, there appears to be no movement on a potential deal, with just over 24 hours left before Thursday’s deadline. For his part, Love sounds fully prepared to remain in Cleveland through the deadline.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen,” the Cavaliers’ power forward said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I really don’t, but we’ll see.”

As Fedor explains, sources have insisted for weeks that a Love trade is unlikely because the Cavaliers are unwilling to treat a deal as a salary dump. They view Love as a valuable trade chip and would balk at attaching a draft pick to him, while possible suitors believe they’d be doing Cleveland a favor by taking on the 31-year-old’s pricey long-term contract. That gap seems unlikely to be bridged by Thursday afternoon.

Here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Thomas Bryant, who missed 20 games earlier in the season with a right foot injury, is once again dealing with soreness in that foot, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter). Bryant has been ruled out for at least the next two games and will be re-evaluated on Monday.
  • Asked today if he wants to stick with the Wizards through the trade deadline, forward Davis Bertans replied, “Of course, I love it here” (video link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Although they still have a strong hold on a playoff spot, the Magic have missed D.J. Augustin‘s leadership and shooting ability recently, as John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details. Orlando has a 3-8 record in the last month without Augustin, who will likely remain on the shelf through the All-Star break due to his left knee bone irritation, head coach Steve Clifford said today (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters today that Robert Williams has been cleared for full practices after the All-Star break and that Daniel Theis – out with an ankle sprain – has no set timetable (Twitter link via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald).

Trade Rumors: Covington, Randle, Henson, Celtics

The Clippers are among the teams pursuing Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reports. A package of their first-round pick this year, forward Maurice Harkless, and a young player such as Jerome Robinson or Terance Mann could be enough to secure Covington, Deveney continues. Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala, Suns center Aron Baynes and Magic guard D.J. Augustin are among the other potential targets for the Clippers, Deveney adds.

We have more trade chatter:

  • The Knicks have engaged in trade talks with the Hornets involving forward Julius Randle, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Charlotte would be a surprising landing spot for Randle, who has a guaranteed $18.9MM salary for next season. However, the Hornets have three frontcourt players with large expiring contracts and will need reinforcements.
  • The Knicks had talks with the Cavaliers which included center John Henson but those discussions have died down, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Henson has an expiring $9.7MM contract.
  • Celtics GM Danny Ainge would like to strengthen the team’s bench but doesn’t see the center position as a major weakness, Jacob Camenker of NBC Sports Boston relays. The Celtics are reportedly one of the teams interested in acquiring Rockets center Clint Capela. Ainge indicated the roster “probably too many really young guys” but claimed he’s content with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, and Robert Williams manning the middle. “We’re not getting beat at the center position,” Ainge said. “We’re getting 17, 18 points per night. We’re getting double-figure rebounds. We’re just doing it as a team.”

Celtics Notes: Injury Bug, Kemba, Theis, Brown

The persistent injury bug that has dogged the Celtics has made it hard to decipher just what the team’s ceiling can be when healthy, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. The bug is currently affecting All-Star point guard Kemba Walker and center Enes Kanter.

“I don’t know what they’ve officially labeled [Walker’s knee injury] as but it’s been ongoing all year,” coach Brad Stevens said. “And he missed, I think, a game earlier this month for it. But it flared up.”

Marcus Smart started in Walker’s stead for the Celtics in a Saturday 116-95 defeat of the Sixers.

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Speaking of ailing Celtics, Walker is not worried about the knee soreness that will sideline him for at least the next game, Taylor Snow of Celtics.com reports.
  • Boston center Daniel Theis has been a stabilizing defensive presence, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston details in a separate piece. The 27 year-old Theis has been a pleasant surprise for the Celtics in the wake of several key frontcourt injuries and the trade of Aron Baynes over the summer.
  • Though fourth-year Celtics wing Jaylen Brown may have been snubbed as an All-Star this season in favor his teammate Jayson Tatum, Brown’s chief priority is helping his team make a concerted playoff push, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston details. “I’ve been working on my game since I came into the league,” Brown said. “I’m going to continue to get better. That’s it, man.”

Celtics Notes: Memphis Pick, Brown, Poirier, Walker

The Grizzlies‘ first-rounder that the Celtics own is a volatile asset heading into this year’s trade deadline, Sean Deveney writes for Forbes. The pick is top-six protected and becomes unprotected in 2021 if it doesn’t convey this year. Memphis is currently eighth in the West, but only three-and-a-half games ahead of the 14th-place Pelicans.

“(The Celtics) have been active in terms of seeing what is out there,” a general manager told Deveney. “I don’t think they want to sit on their hands. I am not sure how much they can realistically get done, though, because the Memphis pick is such a wild card. They can’t do anything significant unless they move that pick.”

Deveney identifies the WizardsDavis Bertans and the Timberwolves‘ Robert Covington as possible trade targets. He states that Bertans is probably available for the Memphis pick, along with Enes Kanter and Semi Ojeleye. However, Bertans is entering free agency and Boston probably can’t afford to re-sign him with Jayson Tatum due for an extension. Covington is under contract for two more seasons and Deveney suggests the Celtics could get him for Kanter, Daniel Theis and the Bucks‘ 2020 first-rounder, allowing them to keep the Grizzlies’ pick.

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Jaylen Brown doesn’t believe Brandon Ingram was referring to him when he talked about being surprised that certain players received rookie scale extensions, relays Tom Westerholm of MassLive. “When we talked about the extension, of course, I’m human,” Ingram said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “When I look at other guys, I’m like, ‘This (expletive) got an extension? Oh my god. Man, we can lace up right now and play one-on-one to 15 and this (expletive) won’t score.’ That’s how I looked at it as a competitor.” Asked about the comments after last night’s game against the Pelicans, Brown, who received a four-year, $115MM extension, responded, “I don’t feel any type of way, because I don’t feel like they apply to me.”
  • Vincent Poirier could soon provide some depth at center, coach Brad Stevens tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Poirier is nearing a return after being sidelined since December 17 with a broken finger.
  • The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak last night, but the recent downturn wasn’t alarming for Kemba Walker, who brings an outsider’s perspective after his years with the Hornets, writes John Karalis of MassLive. “I’ve lost so many more than three games in a row throughout the course of my career,” Walker said. “Plenty of times, so this is nothing to me personally. It’s just about getting back on track at this point.”

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Young, Drummond, Theis

Sixers point guard Ben Simmons has stopped taking 3-pointers and coach Brett Brown considers it a personal failure, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps relays. Brown wants Simmons to take at least one long range shot per game but Simmons hasn’t attempted any in the past month.

“Evidently I have failed and it’s something that we’re all mindful of, and this is one of these things that is never going to go away,” Brown said of Simmons, who agreed to a five-year, $170MM extension with the Sixers over the summer. “The attention this has received is remarkable. But I guess i helped fuel it, and I own it, and I’ve got to help him find this, and most importantly, he has to find himself.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls haven’t given any indication they plan to move power forward Thaddeus Young but his contributions have been limited by a lack of playing time, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Young signed a partially-guaranteed three-year, $43.6MM contract with the Bulls over the summer. He’s averaging nine fewer minutes with Chicago than he did last season with Indiana and he’s shooting a career-low 39.5% from the field, in part because he’s taking more 3-pointers.
  • Getting traded would be the best thing for Pistons center Andre Drummond, Ben Golliver of the Washington Post argues. Detroit is spinning its wheels and its long-term prospects are not promising, since the Pistons are lacking in young talent and don’t have a long-term solution at point guard, Golliver continues. The Pistons have been unwilling to give Drummond a generous extension, so there’s no reason for him to look back if he’s dealt, Golliver adds. Drummond’s name popped up in trade rumors last week.
  • Big man Daniel Theis has become an invaluable member of the Celtics rotation with key plays he’s made late in games, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston notes. Theis is essentially playing for his contract since his $5MM salary for the 2020/21 season is not guaranteed.

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Webster, Theis, Celtics

It might seem like Kawhi Leonard was intent on playing in Los Angeles long-term but he insists he gave serious thought to the idea of re-signing with the Raptors, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Gave it big consideration,” the Clippers superstar said. “I took my time like I did; I didn’t hurry up and make a quick decision. I talked to the (Raptors’) front office in deep detail. It was a hard choice to make.”

Leonard added that he had no issues with the Raptors organization. “I had a great time last year with the coaching staff, front office and the players. It was a great experience,” he said.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri gets plenty of credit for building a championship team but GM Bobby Webster’s influence should not be underestimated, as Dan Robson of The Athletic details in a profile of the young executive. One player agent told Robson that Webster is heavily involved in all aspects of personnel decisions. “Bobby is making a lot of the decisions in terms of everything they do,” the unnamed agent said. “Masai is the lead role and the face of the program, and obviously very involved … but Bobby is the driving force, at least for me, for a lot of the decisions they make.”
  • Celtics big man Daniel Theis is aware of the perception that the frontcourt is the team’s weakness but he tries to drown out the noise, as he told Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston“We have so many bigs and it’s whoever plays good that night,” said Theis. “You don’t guard the best bigs with one person. It’s a team effort. We’re [the third best team] in the East and we’re playing really good basketball as a team. So, no, I don’t listen to that.”
  • Despite what Theis believes, the Celtics will probably need another quality big man to get past Philadelphia and Milwaukee in the postseason, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated argues. Joel Embiid‘s monster game against Boston on Thursday put the Celtics’ frontcourt issues on full display, Mannix adds.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Atlantic Division:

Fred VanVleet, Raptors, 25, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $18MM deal in 2018
VanVleet was a key reserve in the Raptors’ run to the championship. With Danny Green‘s departure, he’s now a backcourt starter alongside Kyle Lowry. Green was mainly a floor spacer, while VanVleet has provided the added element of playmaking to help make up for the enormous loss of Kawhi Leonard. He’s averaging a team-high 7.2 assists through the first five games while getting the line more often and delivering his usual excellent shooting from deep. An unrestricted free agent next summer, VanVleet will attract plenty of attention in a weak FA market.

James Ennis, Sixers, 29, SF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $4MM deal in 2019
Ennis has bounced around the league, wearing six different uniforms since his rookie year in 2014/15. He saw action in 18 regular-season and 11 postseason games with Philadelphia after being acquired from the Rockets in a trade deadline swap. Thus far this season, Ennis has retained a rotation spot and helped around the boards (5.8 RPG in 14.0 MPG). Ennis has a $2.13MM player option after the season — if can remain a contributor on a contender, perhaps he’ll feel comfortable opting out and testing the market for additional security.

Marcus Morris, Knicks, 30, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $15MM deal in 2019
Morris caused a lot of consternation in the Spurs’ organization by reneging on a two-year verbal agreement and then signing a one-year deal with New York, giving him more money this season and the freedom to explore the market again next year. In his first five games with the Knicks, Morris is the one doing the squawking. He’s already picked up a league-high three technicals. He’s also off to a slow shooting start (35%). It’s hard to see Morris enhancing his value with New York but his expiring contract could be attractive to a contender looking for a frontcourt player.

Daniel Theis, Celtics, 27, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2019
Theis’ $5MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed until July 3rd and there will a number of factors playing into the Celtics’ decision next summer, especially whether Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter opt in. What Theis can control is being productive when he gets opportunities and making it a tougher decision for the front office. Theis needs to have more nights like he did Wednesday, when coach Brad Stevens used him for 28 minutes and he produced 11 points and nine rebounds. The 6’8” Theis will see quite a bit of time at the ‘five’ spot in downsized lineups.

Wilson Chandler, Nets, 32, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Chandler quietly latched on with the Nets on a veteran’s minimum contract while they inked deals with high-profile free agents Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. Chandler’s chances of carving out a role in coach Kenny Atkinson‘s rotation was squashed by a 25-game league suspension for a failed PED test. It’s uncertain what Brooklyn plans are for Chandler once he becomes eligible on December 15. However, the suspension won’t make it any easier for his agent to find his client work next summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Notes: Theis, Strus, Langford, Williams

Daniel Theis is making a strong case to start at center for the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports.

Theis, who has only started five of the 129 regular season games he’s played with Boston over the past two seasons, has more experience in Brad Stevens’ system than any other big man on the roster. That could give him an edge over Enes Kanter and Robert Williams. He’s also adept at making defensive switches.

“If you watch closely, that’s a tied-together group on that end of the court,” Stevens said of playing Theis with the other starters. Theis is making $5MM this season but his $5MM salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Max Strus is a serious candidate to get the 15th and final spot on the opening night roster, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets.  The shooting guard just had his two-way contract converted to a standard two-year deal with a partial guarantee. The guarantee is worth $415K, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, he could still be waived, Murphy adds. The 23-year-old Strus went undrafted after playing his college ball at DePaul.
  • Stevens offers high praise for his first-year players, including Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Tacko Fall, and Carsen Edwards, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets“That’s as good of a group of rookie workers that I’ve ever been around …those guys grind,” he said.
  • The team has picked up the 2020/21 options on Jayson Tatum and Williams. Get all the details here.