Robert Williams

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Knicks, Horford, Barrett

Second-year Celtics center Robert Williams picked up some skills from former teammates Al Horford and Aron Baynes during his rookie season, as he explained in a recent interview with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

“Al isn’t the fastest person, but one thing that always amazed me about him was any time he got the ball, even if you knew what he was doing, it’s effective as hell,” Williams said, as relayed by Himmelsbach. “I kind of took to that. He taught me how to really put an emphasis on my moves.

“And watching Baynes showed me the importance of just going straight up on defense instead of swiping down. Honestly, I don’t even always have to block it. Making them alter it is a great solution too.”

Williams, 21, is expected to see more playing time entering next season with Horford leaving Boston in free agency and Baynes being traded to Phoenix. He appeared in 32 games with the team last year, averaging just 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 8.8 minutes per contest.

The Celtics also signed eight-year veteran Enes Kanter in free agency, one of the league’s most skilled players on the low block and another player Williams could learn from.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division today:

  • The Knicks’ brass has been noticeably quiet since missing out on several top free agents in early July, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. New York was exceedingly confident that it could land two superstar talents on the open market this summer, but fell short to rival Brooklyn in pursuit of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
  • Veteran center Al Horford broke the hearts of Celtics fans by choosing to sign a four-year, $109MM deal with the Sixers in free agency. “It feels right,” Horford said while wearing his new jersey in a video posted to the team’s social media this week. Horford will help make up a deadly 76ers frontcourt that includes the likes of Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
  • R.J. Barrett ended summer league exactly the way the Knicks hoped, Berman writes in a different article for The Post. Barrett tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists during a 103-87 win over the Wizards on Saturday, showcasing his talents on both ends of the floor.

Celtics Notes: Davis, Hayward, Draft, Adams

The Celtics should be regarded as favorites to trade for Pelicans star Anthony Davis, an NBA insider tells Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans (Twitter link). According to the source, Jayson Tatum tops the Pelicans’ wish list, and new head of basketball operations David Griffin likes Marcus Smart as well. Robert WilliamsSemi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele could help fill out the deal, along with at least this year’s first-round pick, which falls at No. 14.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (appearing on The Sedano Show podcast) suggested the Lakers could still be in the running for Davis if they are willing to offer the same package they did at the trade deadline. McMenamin says several people he talked to in the Pelicans’ organization would love to have Brandon Ingram and wanted to take the Lakers’ proposal at the time. GM Dell Demps, who turned down the offer, has since been fired.

The Celtics’ prospects for Davis will depend on whether Griffin believes Ingram has a brighter future than Tatum and if he might be more intrigued by R.J. Barrett, which would bring the Knicks into play with their No. 3 pick, writes John Karalis of MassLive.

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is confident that Gordon Hayward will return to an All-Star level next season, relays Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward was inconsistent this year as he worked his way back from a devastating ankle injury, but Ainge believes another offseason to recover will help. “I’m really excited for Gordon’s upcoming season,” Ainge said. “He’s working hard right now in the gym. He’s here every day with five or six coaches and bodies out there working extremely hard. He’s put a lot of time in. I’m anticipating great things from Gordon this next year.”
  • In a separate story, Forsberg looks at a few point guards the Celtics could target in the draft if they don’t expect to re-sign free agents Kyrie Irving or Terry Rozier. Forsberg states that Boston could try to trade up for North Carolina’s Coby White or stay at No. 14 and target Virginia’s Ty Jerome, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Mississippi’s Terence Davis, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone or Brewster Academy’s Jalen Lecque. The Celtics also own picks No. 20 and 22 in the first round.
  • Connecticut guard Jalen Adams worked out for the Celtics yesterday, tweets Chris Grenham of NESN.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Dudley, Gasol, Williams

The Sixers failed to contain the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam on Saturday, two major reasons why the team lost Game 1 at Scotiabank Arena, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Leonard and Siakam combined to score 74 points, shooting 28-for-38 from the floor and 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

“Two really good players,” said Joel Embiid, who shot just 5-of-18. “Their two best players showed up. I didn’t tonight and I have to do a better job.

“I have a lot of respect for those guys. They showed up. … They did a good. Next time maybe just like they are doing to me and double-teaming me. Throw some double-teams and have a better game plan.”

Philadelphia wound up losing the game 108-95, holding just a 39% shooting mark with 14 turnovers. They can still steal homecourt advantage by bouncing back for Game 2 on Monday, though the team recognizes how important is is to slow down the Raptors’ top two offensive threats.

Besides Leonard and Siakam, Toronto was supported by Kyle Lowry (nine points, eight assists), Marc Gasol (eight points with tremendous defense) and Serge Ibaka (seven points, six rebounds off the bench) to help seal the Game 1 victory.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Veteran NBA forward Jared Dudley has interest in joining the Celtics this summer, a league source told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Dudley, who’s coming off a successful season with the Nets, is scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency on July 1. Dudley turns 34 this summer and averaged 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 20.7 minutes per game with Brooklyn this year, shooting 35% from 3-point range.
  • Marc Gasol is the long-awaited final piece to the Raptors‘ puzzle, Michael Pina of SB Nation contends. Toronto made a surprising deal for Gasol prior to the trade deadline, acquiring a veteran center capable of giving strong play on both ends of the floor. Head coach Nick Nurse has sported a starting lineup that consists of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Gasol this postseason.
  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams denied receiving money at Texas A&M, despite his name surfacing in a Thursday testimony by financial adviser Marty Blazer that he was given money by agent Christian Dawkins and assistant coach Amir Abdul-Rahim in 2017. “I’ve been saying, never took anything from anybody during my college career,” Williams said on Friday, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. “Honestly, just trying to focus on these playoffs. I tend to stop social media because it gets to you during playoff time, but, like I said, never took anything from anybody. Hope this goes away as fast possible.”

Celtics Notes: Williams, Irving, Stevens, Hunter

The Celtics are dealing with another injured center after rookie Robert Williams took a hard fall onto his back in last night’s game, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. Making his first career start because of injuries to Al Horford and Aron Baynes, Williams left the game with a back contusion in the second quarter.

“I’m guessing we’re looking at a Jaylen (Brown) time frame from this year, at least,” coach Brad Stevens said. Brown suffered a similar injury last March and missed six games. Boston has nine games left, so it’s possible that Williams won’t return until the playoffs. Jayson Tatum also fell on his back last night, but his injury appears to be less severe.

Losing Williams could affect the Celtics’ plans for their open roster spot. There was a report Friday night that they would be signing Greg Monroe to a 10-day contract, but when that didn’t happen yesterday, there were suggestions that the opening might go to Thomas Robinson, who joined the organization’s G League affiliate last week. If Williams is out for the rest of the season, that might tip the scales back in favor of Monroe.

There’s more this morning out of Boston:

  • Kyrie Irving appeared to take another swipe at his young teammates, saying the Celtics need to be “more mature down the stretch” after blowing an 18-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Hornets, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving, who has been outspoken about the difficulties of being a veteran leader on a young team, also questioned Stevens’ approach to handling Kemba Walker, who scored 18 fourth quarter points to lead the comeback. “We should have probably trapped him more like every other team does in the league but we didn’t,” Irving said. “He torches us every time we play them, so it’s no surprise.”
  • Before Saturday’s meltdown, Stevens indicated rotation changes could be coming, Blakely adds in a separate story. He told his players that “toughness” will determine who plays in the postseason. “We are in evaluation stage on who’s reliable,” Stevens said. “… If you don’t have that reliability; if you don’t have that toughness. If you don’t have the ability to move on to what’s next, you don’t last very long.”
  • R.J. Hunter hasn’t taken the court for Boston since signing a two-way contract in January, but he believes he’s a mentally stronger player than when he was drafted by the team in 2015. He talks about that aspect of the game an interview tweeted by the Celtics.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/14/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Raptors assigned forward Malcolm Miller to the Raptors 905, G League affiliate of the team, announcing the news on social media. After playing for the Raptors 905 earlier today, Miller was recalled by Toronto and suited up for the NBA team against the Lakers.
  • The Celtics have recalled Robert Williams from the Maine Red Claws, the team announced on social media. Williams was drafted by Boston with the the No. 27 pick in 2018, spending part of this season with Maine.
  • The Jazz assigned center Tony Bradley to their G League team in Salt Lake City, announcing the move in a press release. Bradley has seen action in 17 games with the team’s G League affiliate, averaging 13.6 points per game on 56% from the field.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/12/19

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Grizzlies recalled Tyler Dorsey from the G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics assigned Robert Williams to their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards assigned Chasson Randle to their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, per a press release. Randle has averaged 5.7 PPG and 2.0 APG in 15.2 minutes per game with Washington.
  • The Jazz assigned Grayson Allen to the Salt Lake City Stars, the team announced today in a press release. Allen, on his 11th assignment of the season, will suit up for Utah’s G League affiliate tonight.
  • The Sixers recalled rookie Zhaire Smith, who was available for Philadelphia’s game tonight, according to the team (via Twitter). Smith, who has yet to make his NBA debut, didn’t see any action vs. Cleveland.

Latest On Anthony Davis

Some members of the Pelicans organization want to get the Anthony Davis trade done today to eliminate the public relations distraction, but those feelings don’t go all the way to the top, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). The NFL’s Saints remain the priority for owner Gayle Benson and VP Mickey Loomis, who aren’t bothered by the Davis situation.

There’s more news about the top name on the trade market:

  • The Lakers’ last offer to the Pelicans involved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart and a pair of first-round picks, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. He suggests the Celtics are prepared to offer Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford (assuming he opts in) and possibly three first-round picks this summer.
  • Davis will pressure the Pelicans to start playing him if he’s not dealt before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). “Every game,” a source said. Davis has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but recently received medical clearance.
  • Gambadoro expects Davis to be in the lineup for tomorrow’s game against Minnesota (Twitter link).

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/4/19

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from the G League:

  • The Nets assigned forward Mitch Creek to the Long Island Nets, then recalled him and rookie Dzanan Musa in time for tonight’s game against Milwaukee, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Musa scored 26 points and Creek added 15 in Long Island’s loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Monday afternoon. Creek signed a second 10-day contract on Monday morning.
  • The Celtics recalled rookie big man Robert Williams from the Maine Red Claws, the team’s PR department tweets. The first-round pick has appeared in 22 games with Boston this season.
  • The Rockets assigned forward Gary Clark to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Clark has appeared in 36 games with the Rockets, including one start, averaging 2.9 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 14.6 MPG.

Aron Baynes To Be Sidelined “A Few Weeks”

Celtics center Aron Baynes is “shutting it down for a few weeks” because of pain in his left foot, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The team says the injury is to the cuboid bone, adds Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).

Baynes said the pain started about two weeks ago and “wasn’t getting any better,” relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). He has tried to play through it, logging 21 minutes Friday against the Knicks, but it has become too severe.

The timing means Baynes will almost certainly be out through the All-Star break. Baynes’ absence will mean more minutes for Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and rookie Robert Williams, although Williams will miss today’s game with back soreness.

Baynes has seen reduced playing time in his second season with the Celtics, averaging, 5.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG in about 15 minutes per night. He has a $5.45MM player option for next season.

Celtics Notes: Hayward, Williams, Davis, Bird

Gordon Hayward has become a target for hecklers in Boston as he struggles to rebuild his game following last season’s devastating ankle injury, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Hayward continues to struggle with his shot, hitting just 41.6% from the field and averaging 10.6 PPG. He has been limited to two points in each of the last two games, and teams are daring him to shoot from outside.

Despite the difficulties, the Celtics will need Hayward to be at his best for the playoffs, so coach Brad Stevens plans to keep giving him opportunities.

“I think you’ve just got to keep playing him and ultimately he’s going to have some ups and downs and he’s had a couple of games where the ball didn’t go in as much,” Stevens said. “I thought he was active, I thought he did some good things, and when that ball goes in he’ll feel a lot better and it will look a lot better on paper. Ultimately, we’ve got a lot of wings, a lot of other wings played more [Monday] and against Golden State, but there are going to be nights where we are counting on him to close the game because he really got it rolling.”

There’s more today out of Boston:
  • Rookie center Robert Williams is free from knee pain for the first time since his freshman season in college, relays Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The Celtics’ training staff has helped Williams control a condition called popliteal artery entrapment syndrome that kept him from playing through most of summer league. “I can honestly say with the treatment schedule that the tendinitis level has really gone down,” Williams said. “It’s not bothering me near as much as it used to. Definitely a good thing, but have to stay on top of treatment.”
  • Along with a wealth of young players and draft picks to offer, the Celtics might have an advantage in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes because of Davis’ friendship with Kyrie Irving. “Kyrie and Anthony Davis are boys,” Brian Scalabrine of NBC Sports Boston said in a an appearance on Chris Mannix’s The Crossover NBA podcast. “I think they text like every day.” 
  • Jabari Bird, who has remained on the roster all season despite legal troubles, faces two new charges in his domestic violence case, according to John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen of The Boston Globe. Court documents were released today revealing new counts of witness intimidation and threatening to commit a crime.