Jabari Bird

Celtics Notes: Irving, Horford, Butler, Bird

Kyrie Irving is energized as the Celtics prepare for training camp and the preseason. After dealing with a nagging knee injury that ultimately cost him the final month of last season and the playoffs, Irving is ready to prove himself, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes.

“I’m moving completely differently,” Irving said. “I’ve worked on my strength and have a heightened awareness of what my body needs on a day-to-day basis. I spent all summer trying get my left leg to catch up with my right. And it’s there.”

Not only will the upcoming season be important for the Celtics — who chase another deep postseason run — it will be key for Irving as enters free agency next summer. Irving will be one of the most sought-after free agents available and a strong, healthy 2018/19 in Beantown will mean a heftier contract. However, interested teams should take note of how Irving worded his answer to why he hasn’t committed long-term to Boston.

“Who wouldn’t be a part of this?” Irving said. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, ‘Why won’t he commit to Boston?’ Well, there are financial implications involved.”

Check out more Celtics note below:

  • The Knicks have long been rumored as a potential destination for Irving next summer as the team will have the cap space to land at least one top free agent — possibly two. However, Irving has not spoken to Jimmy Butler — another potential Knicks target next summer — since 2016, which decreases the chances of New York landing both, SNY’s Adam Zagoria writes.
  • Al Horford is coming off a productive season with the Celtics, which leads to the question of what the veteran center can contribute in his third year with the team. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston examines how Horford will impact Boston on the court this season.
  • Prior to his arrest for alleged domestic assault and kidnapping of his girlfriend, Celtics’ guard Jabari Bird was being treated for ’emotional issues,’ per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Sources tell Bulpett that this was an “out of character” occurrence for Bird, who had been experiencing “panic attacks” in the weeks before the incident. The Celtics were aware that Bird was undergoing treatment.

Jabari Bird Arraigned On Assault Charges

3:35pm: Bird has issued a statement saying he’s “taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues,” ESPN’s Chris Forsberg relays. He also apologized to his family, teammates, fans, organization and league for the “unnecessary distraction” but that “information that has been released does not tell the full story.”

12:30pm: The Celtics have issued a statement saying the organization “deplores domestic violence of any kind,” tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The team promises to work with the NBA and law enforcement officials in their investigation.

12:03pm: Celtics guard Jabari Bird was arraigned today on charges of assaulting and kidnapping his girlfriend, reports Travis Andersen of The Boston Globe. Bird pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held on $50K cash bond.

The woman claims Bird choked her about a dozen times, kicked her and held her against her will while the couple was arguing Friday. She said he began suffering mental distress before police arrested him Friday night.

Bird, 24, had been hospitalized for an “evaluation” until today, when doctors ruled that he was healthy enough for a court appearance. The victim was taken to a separate hospital.

The Celtics have declined to comment on the arrest since last weekend, Andersen adds. The team signed Bird to a two-year, $3MM contract following his strong performance in Summer League play. The first year is fully guaranteed for $1.55MM, while the second year is non-guaranteed.

Celtics Work Out Marcus Georges-Hunt

The Celtics are working out free agent shooting guard Marcus Georges-Hunt today, Jay King of The Athletic reports.

The 6’5” Georgia Tech alum appeared in 42 games for the Timberwolves last season, averaging 1.4 PPG in 5.3 MPG, after making his NBA debut with the Magic in 2016/17. Georges-Hunt is well-known in the Celtics organization, King notes. He was on their 2016 training camp roster and then playing that season with their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, averaging 15.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 4.4 APG.

The 6’5” Georges-Hunt worked out for the Timberwolves last week, even though they made him a free agent by declining to extend him a qualifying offer earlier in the summer. The Cavaliers also brought him in during a free agent tryout last week, while the Nuggets worked him out last month.

The Celtics currently have 15 players on guaranteed contracts but shooting guard Jabari Bird‘s future with the organization is in doubt. Bird was arrested on Friday night in a domestic incident and has been under a guarded watch at a Boston-area hospital.

Atlantic Notes: Musa, Dudley, Knicks, Bird

Nets first-rounder Dzanan Musa has been bulking up since the draft in hopes of being physically prepared for the NBA, relays NetsDaily. In a weekend interview with with Radiosarajevo in Bosnia, Musa said he has been focused on “physical progress” and has gained 15 pounds this summer.

“As far as my physical predisposition is concerned, no one has to worry,” he said. “I have put on seven kilograms in a 25-day period, so I do not have to have any disadvantages by the start of the season, and I will try to give my team immediate input.”

The 29th overall selection has spent most of the summer at the Nets’ training facility, but recently returned home to Bosnia to participate in a pair of FIBA World Cup qualifying games.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Trade restrictions on the NetsJared Dudley will expire September 20, according to a separate story on NetsDaily outlining important upcoming dates for the team. That date will mark the two-month anniversary of the trade that sent Dudley from Phoenix to Brooklyn, and it will lift the restriction that he can only be dealt in one-for-one trades.
  • The Knicks picked up a pair of promising young players on one-year deals while preserving their cap space for next summer, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders in the season preview for New York. The Knicks signed Mario Hezonja for $6.5MM and Noah Vonleh for a non-guaranteed $1.6MM, giving them a year to see how much they can contribute before making long-term decisions. Blancarte also believes David Fizdale was the right choice to take over as coach.
  • Jabari Bird is under guarded watch at a Boston-area hospital following his arrest Friday on a “domestic incident,” tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Bird is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow and will be officially charged for his role in the incident.
  • The Raptors have scheduled a press conference for September 21 to introduce Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). Both were acquired from the Spurs in a mid-July trade.

Celtics’ Jabari Bird Arrested In Boston

Celtics guard Jabari Bird was arrested on Friday night due to a “domestic incident” in Brighton, according to the Boston Globe. Bird allegedly “assaulted, strangled and kidnapped” somebody prior to the arrest.

Bird, 24, is reportedly being evaluated under the supervision of Boston police at a local hospital, a spokesperson told The Boston Globe. Bird is expected to appear in Brighton District Court on Monday. The victim was taken to a separate nearby hospital “with injuries sustained,” per the report.

The Celtics are aware of the matter and are looking into it.

“We are actively gathering information and will reserve further comment at this time,” the team said in a statement on Saturday.

Boston signed Bird to a two-year contract in July after he impressed the organization as a two-way player last season. The former 56th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft only appeared in 13 games with the Celtics, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.5 RPG.

The California product had a more impressive stint in the G League, averaging 19.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.7 APG in 20 games.

Bird averaged 16.8 PPG while shooting 57% shooting in the NBA’s summer league.

Celtics Notes: Theis, Bird, Irving, Schedule

Forward Daniel Theis is making steady progress in his recovery from a torn left meniscus injury and expects to be ready for training camp, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports.  The 6’9” German native was enjoying a solid rookie campaign before his season ended in mid-March. Theis has returned to the team’s training facility to continue his rehab and recently began doing full-court sprints.  “I’ve been back two weeks,” he told Blakely. “I’ve been doing new stuff every day.” Theis was a rotation player last season, appearing in 63 games, including three starts. He averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 14.8 MPG. He’ll have to fight for minutes next season with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum established as starters and Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele and rookie Robert Williams also on the 15-man roster.

In other developments involving the Celtics:

  • Swingman Jabari Bird considers his first opportunity to play last season as a turning point in his career, as he explained to Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com. Bird got his number called in the second half with the team trailing by eight against the Sixers. Boston rallied for its first win of the season. “Getting drafted is one thing. That’s an honor. Playing Summer League and having some good games, that’s one thing,” he said. “But when you do it in an NBA game, regular season, road game, hostile environment, it just felt like I really belong at this level. Moving forward, I just knew: I’m here for a reason.” Bird parlayed his two-way deal last season into a standard two-year contract this summer with the first season guaranteed.
  • Kyrie Irving is expected to opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent but coach Brad Stevens has no plans to discuss the situation with his point guard, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reports. Stevens told Mannix that the atmosphere around the franchise speaks for itself. “I’m not going to talk to him about it at all,” Stevens said. “One of the things I want to do is give everything I can to all these guys while they’re here. Hopefully, the people that are here recognize that it’s a really good environment with a high upside for a long time.”
  • In his latest post, Blakely offers a month-by-month breakdown of the Celtics’ just-released regular-season schedule.

Atlantic Rumors: DeRozan, Casey, Lowry, Fizdale, Bird

The former Raptors’ leading scorer and head coach are mad at team president Masai Ujiri, Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. DeRozan publicly criticized Ujiri on social media after being traded to the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster, feeling that Ujiri misled him during a summer-league conversation. DeRozan said during USA Basketball minicamp that he’s not interested in reconciling with Ujiri. “No reason to have a relationship,” he said. “I’m done. I’m done. It’s just done for me, from my end.” Dwane Casey, now the Pistons’ head coach after getting fired by the Raptors after the season, also has lingering issues with Ujiri, according to Lewenberg. They haven’t spoken since the firing and Casey still feels plenty of resentment toward Ujiri, Lewenberg adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • DeRozan’s former backcourt partner, Kyle Lowry, doesn’t sound thrilled about the trade, according to Lewenberg. Lowry claims he has no relationship with Leonard and has yet to speak with him. Lowry was evasive when asked specifically about the trade. (Twitter links).
  • New Knicks coach David Fizdale met with star player Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia and appears to be building a strong relationship with the rehabbing power forward, Ian Begley of ESPN writes. Fizdale said he’s trying to keep Porzingis in the loop as he works his way back from knee surgery. “We’ve talked about his rehab. We’ve talked about how we want to play, our style of play,” Fizdale told Begley. “Talked a lot about the culture that we’re building. We want to make sure that he comes back strong and healthy and we don’t want to rush it. … I’ve tried to make sure that he’s – we’ve been in communication on every decision that we’ve made.”
  • The Celtics’ signing of Jabari Bird is an example of how two-way contracts should work, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Bird played for Boston on a two-way contract last season after getting drafted in the second round. The 6’6” swingman showed enough development to earn a spot on the 15-man roster, getting signed to a two-year contract this week.

Celtics Sign Jabari Bird To Two-Year Contract

1:20pm: The Celtics have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve re-signed Bird to a new contract.

10:23am: The Celtics are in the process of finalizing a multiyear contract for two-way restricted free agent Jabari Bird, sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). ESPN’s Chris Haynes tweets that it’ll be a two-year deal, while Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link) hears that it’ll be worth the minimum, with a guaranteed first year.

Bird, who was on a two-way contract with the Celtics last season after being selected with the 56th overall pick, didn’t play much for the NBA club, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.5 RPG in 13 contests (8.8 MPG). However, the Cal product had an impressive season with the Maine Red Claws in the G League, recording 19.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.7 APG in 20 games.

Bird’s promising rookie showing earned him a qualifying offer from Boston last month, and he further made his case for a regular-season roster spot with in Las Vegas. In four Summer League games, Bird was the Celtics’ leading scorer, averaging 16.8 PPG to go along with 6.0 RPG and 3.0 APG.

The Celtics, who traded Abdel Nader several days ago, now have 15 players on guaranteed contracts for 2018/19. Bird’s new deal will increase the team’s projected tax bill, but the impact won’t be significant, since his first-year salary is modest ($1,349,383).

With 15 players on guaranteed contracts, along with Rodney Purvis (non-guaranteed) and Walt Lemon Jr. (two-way), the Celtics’ roster count is up to 17. Purvis may not be in Boston’s plans, and the club might not fill its second two-way slot right away, so there should still be room for three or four training camp invitees.

Atlantic Notes: Lin, J. Parker, DeRozan, Hayward

Jeremy Lin was denying rumors of a possible trade the night before the Nets shipped him to Atlanta, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Fans of the veteran guard have been bombarding Brooklyn GM Sean Marks with message of disapproval, but Lewis states that the trade shouldn’t be considered a surprise. Lin, who is about to turn 30 and is coming off a major injury, doesn’t fit the Nets’ rebuilding timeline. Still, he was blindsided by the deal with the Hawks.

“These things can happen pretty quickly,” Marks explained. “Summer league, Vegas, maybe it’s a little like the winter meetings for baseball where everybody is there and it gives everybody an opportunity to continue to talk and hash some things out.”

Lin spent two seasons in Brooklyn, but missed 127 of 164 games with hamstring and knee injuries. He has a $12.5MM expiring contract, which gives him one season in Atlanta to try to revive his career before becoming a free agent next summer.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets considered making an offer to free agent Jabari Parker before he signed with the Bulls, Lewis adds in the same story. They decided against it because of the price tag and a recent comment Parker made in a radio interview that “They don’t pay players to play defense.” Brooklyn opted for a pair of trades with the Nuggets and Suns that brought in Kenneth Faried and Jared Dudley.
  • Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas reached out to former Raptor DeMar DeRozan on social media after Toronto’s deal to acquire Kawhi Leonard was announced, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “Learn from my story,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Loyalty is just a word.” Their experiences are similar as both were very popular and successful with their teams, but were dealt away when better players became available.
  • The Celtics opened a roster spot today by waiving Abdel Nader, but they may take their time in filling it, Washburn notes in the same piece. Restricted free agent Jabari Bird, the leading scorer for Boston’s summer league entry, would like to take it, but the Celtics prefer to keep him on a two-way contract. The team hasn’t used its $5.3MM mid-level exception and will likely wait to see if a bigger-name free agent becomes interested.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward showed fans the progress he has made with his fractured ankle in a workout video he posted today on his Instagram account.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Luxury Tax, Irving, Hayward

Marcus Smart essentially ended up with the same contract as the one the Celtics offered him via an extension last fall, sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The combo guard inked a four-year deal worth $52MM on Thursday.

That contract technically has a base value of $50MM, but annual $500K bonuses will bring the total value to $52MM, notes Fred Katz of MassLive.com (Twitter link). Those incentives aren’t linked to playoff success or individual accolades, but rather to body-fat and weigh-in requirements, according to Katz. They’re considered likely to be earned, which means they’ll count toward Smart’s annual cap hits.

With Smart under contract, the Celtics are now about $3.9MM over the luxury-tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. Boston could cut costs slightly by waiving Abdel Nader‘s partially guaranteed contract, which could also open up a roster spot for two-way free agent Jabari Bird, as Nahmad observes. Trading Marcus Morris‘ $5.38MM salary at some point could allow the C’s to avoid the tax, but there’s no indication the team is considering that for now.

Here’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics may have first reached a four-year, $52MM agreement with Smart on Tuesday — a source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that GM Danny Ainge changed his mind after initially making an offer at that price. In the ensuing 48 hours, Ainge changed his mind again and the deal was finalized, says Schultz.
  • Three player agents tell Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that they expect Kyrie Irving to opt out and leave the Celtics next summer. However, sources close to Irving tell Bulpett that the point guard is happy with Boston and has been talking about his future with the franchise beyond the 2018/19 season.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explores what Smart’s new deal means for Irving and Terry Rozier, speculating that the Celtics may eventually have to decide between Smart and Rozier.
  • Re-signing Smart was worth the cost for the Celtics, according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who gives the club a B grade for the move.
  • During a media appearance on Thursday, Gordon Hayward expressed confidence that he’ll be back at full speed by August, suggesting he’ll “see how [his] ankle reacts to that,” per Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com. Hayward also said he likes the Celtics’ chances to make a run at a title in 2018/19.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.