Romeo Langford

Celtics Pick Up Options On Grant Williams, Romeo Langford

The Celtics have picked up a pair of team options for 2022/23, according to a series of reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic, Jordan Schultz of the Pull Up Podcast, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (all Twitter links).

Boston exercised its fourth-year option on forward Grant Williams, per Charania and Schultz, as well as its fourth-year option on guard Romeo Langford, per Wojnarowski. Williams is now guaranteed his $4,306,281 salary for the 2022/23 season, while Langford will earn $5,634,257.

Williams, the 22nd overall pick in 2019, has taken on a bigger role for Boston in the early part of this season. He has started two of six games for the team so far and is averaging 9.8 PPG in 22.8 MPG, both career highs. His shooting line so far is a scorching .576/.500/.917.

Langford’s time in Boston since he was selected 14th overall in the 2019 draft has been marred by injuries. The 22-year-old has appeared in just 53 career games, including three of six so far this season, but the Celtics remain high on his potential. He has played a rotation role when healthy this season, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 18.7 MPG.

The Celtics also have to officially make decisions on 2022/23 options for Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard by the end of the day. Both are good bets to have their options picked up.

Celtics Notes: Parker, Horford, Langford, Nesmith

Jabari Parker didn’t really explore other options after the Celtics waived him last week, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Parker was cut loose so the team could avoid paying a $100K guarantee that would have taken effect with the season opener. He re-signed with Boston after clearing waivers and said it’s where he wants to play.

“I just knew (Boston) was the right place to be. I knew that,” Parker said. “This is a winning team and iron sharpens iron, so if anything, I’m going to get better here playing against the guys every day, being around true competitors, and obviously get a chance for me to learn. So this is just a great situation just because I’m just grateful for it and I’m counting my blessings.”

Parker didn’t play in the team’s first three games, but he got a chance Monday night with Al Horford sidelined by injury. He scored 13 points in 17 minutes and made a case for a larger role providing instant offense off the bench. No matter what happens, Parker is happy to get a second chance in Boston after three years of bouncing around the league.

“It’s the journey that I chose, so definitely appreciative of the Celtics organization, just my teammates always being supportive,” he said. “Regardless of anything, I’m around good people, I’m around a great team, and I’m just grateful for the moment.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Horford has been providing more than just veteran leadership since rejoining the Celtics, notes Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. The 35-year-old big man is averaging 14.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in his first two games. “I love everything about Al,” Jayson Tatum said. “How he plays the game, how he goes about his duties on a day-to-day basis. He’s a true professional. I’m sure everyone’s going to say the same thing about him. He’s just a great teammate and a great person to be around.”
  • An MRI on Romeo Langford‘s left calf didn’t show any damage, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Coach Ime Udoka said there’s hope that Langford won’t have to miss much time.
  • Aaron Nesmith is off to a rough start in his second NBA season, going scoreless in his first three games and missing all 10 of his shots, but Udoka told reporters that he hasn’t lost confidence in what Nesmith can do, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “We told him to take his time, slow down, and play like he did in the summer,” Udoka said. “… With Romeo being out, there’s opportunity for him there. So just got to slow down and take the shots that he always has.”

Celtics Notes: Mathews, Two-Way Slot, Langford, Williams

Garrison Mathews, who was released by the Celtics earlier today, turned down a two-way contract with the team, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Mathews is hoping to receive a standard contract from another organization, sources tell Weiss. He has returned home to examine possible opportunities and doesn’t plan to play overseas.

Mathews was reluctant to accept Boston’s offer because he doesn’t believe the team will consider converting either of its two-way players to standard deals because of its tax situation, Weiss adds. Mathews is a similar player to Sam Hauser, who holds the Celtics’ other two-way slot, and he decided that he’s better off pursuing at least a two-way deal with another team.

Mathews, who will turn 25 next week, isn’t expected to join the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine like the three other players who were waived today. He spent the past two seasons as a two-way player with the Wizards, averaging 5.5 PPG and shooting 38.9% from three-point range in 82 total games.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Theo Pinson, who was also waived today, is still a candidate for the open two-way slot, Weiss adds. Coach Ime Udoka played Pinson a combined 33 minutes in two preseason games this week, and Weiss reports that he showed some ability on the pick and roll and was impressive on defense. However, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will see which players become available before making a final decision.
  • Romeo Langford capped off an impressive preseason Friday night with a 7-for-9 shooting night, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. The third-year shooting guard, who hopes to expand the 15.7 minutes per game he played last season, was in the starting lineup for the last three preseason games. “It’s been good being able to get the run in and with confidence and just being able to go out and play basketball,” Langford said. “Being in the rotation, being in the first group was good to be able to do. Glad for that opportunity.”
  • Starting center Robert Williams missed Friday’s game with right knee tendinopathy, but Udoka says it doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern and he likely would have played if it were a regular-season game, Terada adds in the same piece. “He just had some soreness yesterday and early this morning,” Udoka said after the game. “Tested it at shootaround, tested it before the game and he felt a little soreness. So we just were on the safe side and obviously a preseason game. … He’ll be ready to go against New York (on opening night).”

Celtics Notes: Langford, Brown, Williams, Horford

Jaylen Brown‘s positive COVID-19 test is giving Celtics guard Romeo Langford more preseason playing time, and he hopes to turn that opportunity into a regular spot in the rotation, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Langford was used as a starter in Friday night’s game and delivered 13 points in 19 minutes while hitting five of six shots from the field.

“I thought Romeo was great with the starting lineup, played well offensively and defensively,” coach Ime Udoka said. “Obviously shot it well going three-for-four from 3. But does a lot of little things as well—solid defender, ball mover, just a guy that knows how to play with that unit and you saw it last year. So he did a good job. All of those guys are gonna get an opportunity. It’s just a matter of maximizing that and trying to play the right way, and I think they’re all making a concerted effort to do that.”

Boston selected Langford with the 14th pick in 2019, but he saw limited playing time under former coach Brad Stevens, getting into a combined 50 games during his first two seasons. The coaching change provides a fresh opportunity, and Robb believes Langford will be in the mix for backcourt minutes off the bench once the season begins.

“I feel good,” Langford told reporters after the game. “Body feels good. Mind is good. Just happy that I finally got a chance to do a training camp, a healthy summer, and it just feels good to be in a little rhythm and being able to work out in a practice with the guys leading into the regular season, and just building off from here.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Brown remains in quarantine, but is expected to be ready for the October 20 season opener, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Brown is the only Celtics player who has been affected, according to Udoka.
  • Friday’s game marked the first time that big men Robert Williams and Al Horford were on the court together, notes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Udoka may use some bigger lineups this season, and Horford’s versatility can help make the combination with Williams successful, Weiss adds. “With him, I need to space the floor more,” Horford said. “That’s kind of what I have to do, and he’s the kind of big who can pass the ball a little bit. When he rolls to the basket, it puts a lot of pressure on the rim and it opens stuff up for the perimeter. That’s why I feel comfortable that if we need to go to that lineup, it will work.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic reviews the Celtics’ offseason moves and examines whether they were able to fix the frontcourt problems they had last season.

Celtics Notes: Edwards, Langford, Hauser, Thomas

As he prepares for his third NBA season, Celtics guard Carsen Edwards hopes to move into a more defined role, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Edwards has played a combined 68 games in his first two years and saw just 276 minutes last season. An opportunity for additional playing time seemed to arise after Kemba Walker was traded, but that closed when Boston signed Dennis Schröder.

“I feel like, me just being a young player in the league and stuff, I feel like narrowing down on one thing is good,” Edwards said. “I want to improve on everything at the same time, but I’m mostly just working on my pace, shooting it consistently and just being comfortable with the ball.”

Edwards spent the start of the offseason working with a skills trainer, focusing on the sets the Celtics run and breaking down how to attack different defenses. He hopes to carve out a role as a bench scorer this season and give Boston an incentive to pick up his option for 2022/23.

“I think it’s just comfort, man,” Edwards said. “I feel like at times, just being able to slow down for me, just getting repetitions. I feel like just shooting and working out and stuff like that. Training is never the same as being in a game. So just whatever experience I can get just to be comfortable, just being at ease and be able to shoot it and not feel rushed, I think is a big, important part for me.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Romeo Langford, another young guard hoping to increase his playing time, is trying to make the most of his Summer League opportunity, notes Souichi Terada of MassLive. A lottery pick in 2019, Langford was limited to 18 games last season because of injuries. “He’s a very good player who plays the right way,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “There are times when he’s passive maybe, but regardless of whether it’s Summer League or a league game he’s going to be in the right spot and make the right read. He’s going to be a physical defender on and off the ball and it’s something he has to continue to work on.”
  • Sam Hauser said the Celtics only gave him 10 minutes to decide on their offer of a two-way contract after he wasn’t selected on draft night, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Hauser, who officially signed the deal on Friday, believes he made the right choice. “They said I had a really good workout,” he said of Celtics management. “They said they weren’t sure if I was in their range or not in the draft. But I ended up here so sort of a blessing in disguise, I guess. So. I’m happy with the fit. And I’m glad to be in Boston.”
  • Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas mentioned the Celtics this week as one of four NBA teams that have expressed interest in him, relays Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Celtics’ Evan Fournier In Health And Safety Protocols

The Celtics were hoping Evan Fournier would make his debut with the team tonight, but he is listed on the injury report as being in the league’s health and safety protocols, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive.

Privacy regulations prevent the Celtics and the NBA from releasing any more information on Fournier, who was acquired from the Magic at Thursday’s trade deadline. Coach Brad Stevens told reporters Friday that Fournier was in Boston to take his physical.

There’s no way to know how long Fournier will be required to stay in the protocols, but players who are undergoing contact tracing typically return within seven days if they continue to test negative for COVID-19. Terada points out that the Celtics only have 27 games remaining and would face a limited time to get Fournier accustomed to his new teammates if he’s out for an extended period.

Boston is also listing Romeo Langford and Tristan Thompson out due to health and safety protocols, Terada adds. Langford has been in the protocols since the All-Star break, but there’s hope he can return next week. Thompson has missed the past seven games, and there’s no timetable for him to come back.

Celtics Notes: Kornet, Smart, Fournier, R. Williams, More

After completing a three-team trade with Chicago and Washington that sent Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet to Boston, the Celtics are expected to waive a player to pursue a veteran big man on the buyout market, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who says Kornet would likely be the odd man out.

However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears that there are no immediate plans to drop Kornet. As Himmelsbach explains, since Daniel Theis is now a Bull and Tristan Thompson remains sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Celtics may need some extra depth at the five in the short term.

Himmelsbach’s report makes sense — whether Kornet remains on the roster for another day, another week, or the rest of the season, the Celtics will owe him the same amount of money, so the logical move would be to hang onto him until the team lines up a deal with a free agent center.

Of course, there’s no guarantee anything will materialize on the buyout market, but the Celtics intend to weigh all the options, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said today (Twitter link via Keith Smith of RealGM).

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Within his Athletic story linked above, Weiss suggests that Thursday’s series of moves provide further evidence that Celtics ownership is reluctant to green-light a “long-term deep dive” into luxury tax territory.
  • Ainge assured Marcus Smart that the team wasn’t shopping him and that his name only came up in trade rumors prior to the deadline because he was being brought up by teams interested in him, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Smart was rumored to be part of the club’s trade talks with Orlando, but ultimately stayed put.
  • Having previously stated that he preferred not to use the Celtics’ massive trade exception on a player with an expiring contract, Ainge explained on Friday to reporters that he felt comfortable committing a significant chunk of that TPE toward Evan Fournier because he’s hopeful the veteran wing will remain in Boston beyond this season (Twitter links via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). Ainge also said part of the reason he wanted to land an impact scorer like Fournier was that he sensed internal discouragement and wanted the players and coaches to “feel hope” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
  • The trade of Theis will free up a bigger role for Robert Williams going forward, according to Ainge, who said the third-year big man has been the club’s best defensive center this season (Twitter links via Smith).
  • Ainge said that Wagner and Kornet could join the Celtics as soon as today, while Fournier could report to the team in Oklahoma City this weekend. Additionally, the hope is that Thompson and Romeo Langford will be available at some point next week (Twitter links via Forsberg).

Celtics Rumors: Gordon, Nesmith, Smart, Langford, More

The Celtics and Nuggets continue to lead the Aaron Gordon sweepstakes, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who reports that the Magic forward would welcome the opportunity to play for either team, or for the Trail Blazers.

While one Wednesday report suggested that Denver had taken the lead as the frontrunner to land Gordon, the Celtics continue to pursue the veteran forward, with John Collins and Harrison Barnes looking to be increasingly less likely targets, Weiss writes.

Weiss suggests that the Timberwolves appear to be falling back in the race to land Gordon, but all indications are that the Magic will continue talks right up until the deadline.

According to Weiss, the Celtics’ desire package for Gordon would be Aaron Nesmith and a first-round pick, giving Orlando the opportunity to create a sizeable traded player exception. However, the team will likely need to up that offer, either by including another first-rounder or by expanding the trade to include Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier.

Here’s more from Weiss on the Celtics:

  • While Romeo Langford was mentioned on Wednesday along with Nesmith as a candidate to be an outgoing piece in a Gordon trade, Weiss says the former Hoosiers guard doesn’t have much value due to his injury history and the fact that he was already a “polarizing” prospect entering the 2019 draft. As such, it doesn’t make much sense for the Celtics to sell low on him. Nesmith has more trade value, as Weiss notes.
  • Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye haven’t been included in any trade packages that have “advanced to a serious stage,” sources tell Weiss.
  • One league source speculated to Weiss that there’s a chance the Celtics could do something more complex involving Gordon, like sending Smart to Orlando and trading draft capital to New Orleans for Lonzo Ball. However, that sounds like a longer shot.
  • Tristan Thompson has been frequently mentioned as a trade candidate, and there’s been some frustration that his on-court impact has been modest, per Weiss. However, Thompson is close with Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, and even if there’s been some frustration with his production, it hasn’t become “animosity” by any means.

Aaron Gordon Rumors: Trade Request, Celtics, Rockets

Asked on Tuesday about his reported trade request, Magic forward Aaron Gordon acknowledged some frustration with his situation in Orlando and admitted that frustration had “boiled over.” But when he was asked if he still wanted to be dealt, Gordon didn’t say yes, talking instead about having developed a “sense of love and community” in Orlando.

Gordon’s reluctance to confirm that he still wants to be dealt may have been genuine. According to Adrian Wojnarowski on today’s Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special on ESPN, Gordon made his trade request several weeks ago and has been having some “second thoughts” about it within the last 24-48 hours.

That doesn’t mean the Magic won’t still trade Gordon, but they may not approach talks with the same urgency if the 25-year-old is no longer pushing for a change of scenery.

Here’s more on Gordon:

  • The Celtics are continuing to focus their attention on Gordon, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who tweets that the odds of Boston acquiring Kings forward Harrison Barnes seem to be fading. Sacramento believes Barnes can be a key part of a playoff push next season, so they’re not feeling pressure to sell low on him now, Mannix explains.
  • Wojnarowski also said on ESPN this afternoon that the Celtics appear to be “very serious” about trying to acquire Gordon.
  • A report earlier today indicated Boston has offered at least a first-round pick and a young player. Orlando is believed to be seeking a second first-rounder. The young player in the Celtics’ offer is thought to be Aaron Nesmith or Romeo Langford, per Brian Robb of MassLive.com, who says Marcus Smart now appears unlikely to head to the Magic as part of a larger deal involving Evan Fournier.
  • While the Rockets were viewed as the possible favorites for Gordon a few days ago, those discussions “seem to have fallen apart,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the Woj & Lowe Special today. There’s still time for that to change, but if Houston isn’t confident in its ability to re-sign Gordon when his current contract expires in 2022, the team probably won’t be enthusiastic about giving up major assets for him.

Celtics’ Marcus Smart Cleared To Return

Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who has been sidelined since January 30 due to a calf injury, has been cleared to return for Boston’s second-half opener on Thursday in Brooklyn, he said today (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe).

As long as Smart avoids any setbacks before tomorrow night, he’ll be active vs. the Nets, though the plan is for him to be on a minutes restriction, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.

Prior to his injury, Smart was averaging career highs in points (13.1) and assists (6.1) per game to go along with his usual stout perimeter defense. He started all 17 games he played, though the Celtics were missing Kemba Walker or Jayson Tatum for many of those contests — we’ll have to wait to see if Smart is reinserted into Boston’s starting five.

The 19-17 Celtics had an up-and-down first half, dipping to two games below .500 before winning their last four games leading into the All-Star break. Now that they’re nearly fully healthy for the first time this season, they’ll be looking to make a second-half push and secure a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.

According to head coach Brad Stevens, Romeo Langford is the only Celtic who is currently unavailable. It sounds as if Langford is ready to return from his wrist injury, but has been placed in the health and safety protocols, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.