Romeo Langford

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.

Atlantic Notes: Rivers, Ntilikina, Langford, Nets Big Three

New Sixers head coach Doc Rivers deserves a lot of credit for the 18-7 Philadelphia’s current perch as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rivers commands respect in the Sixers locker room due to his championship pedigree and prior success across head coaching stops in Orlando, Boston, and most recently Los Angeles. Sixers center Joel Embiid is enjoying his best season as a pro thus far, averaging career-bests in scoring (29.1 PPG), steals (1.4 SPG), and shooting (.547/.377.855).

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks reserve guard Frank Ntilikina is not traveling with New York for the team’s game against the Wizards tomorrow despite continuing to test negative for the novel coronavirus, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Ntilikina has been held out of team activities since Tuesday after contact tracing determined he had been close to someone who later recorded a positive test for COVID-19.
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens indicated in comments today that reserve guard Romeo Langford will not be back with the club until after the NBA All-Star break in March, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Langford had a right wrist surgery to address torn ligaments in his shooting wrist in September.
  • The Nets still hope to improve the on-court dynamic between their new Big Three of All-Stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden now that everybody is healthy, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s funny,” head coach Steve Nash noted. “[It’s been] four weeks already, Kevin and [Irving] and James have played 5 ½ games, if you include the Raptors game, together.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Langford, VanVleet, Cross

Because so many Sixers players are absent as a result of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the team is currently relying on its rookies, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Seth Curry is quarantining away from the team after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Vincent Poirier are all out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. With those veterans missing, rookies Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Dakota Mathias have all logged significant rotation minutes.

Though All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons returned to action tonight in the Sixers’ hard-fought 137-134 victory tonight against the Heat, wings Furkan Korkmaz and Terrance Ferguson also remained absent. Embiid scored 45 points and pulled down 16 boards.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Because the Celtics have limited wing depth, second-year swingman Romeo Langford may still break into Boston’s rotation this season, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes. Forsberg notes that Langford is a solid perimeter defender, but must develop his long-range shooting to become a staple.
  • Though the Raptors are currently the No. 13 seed in the East with a disappointing 2-8 record, newly re-signed 6’1″ guard Fred VanVleet continues to contribute to the level of his $85MM contract, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. VanVleet has been the club’s most steady offensive presence, averaging a career-high 20.9 PPG through his first 10 games. “I think the game is just really slow for him right now and that’s a good thing,” fellow starting guard Kyle Lowry said. VanVleet is also averaging a career-high 9.0 three-point attempts per night.
  • Former Kings amateur scouting director Gene Cross has been added to the Knicks as a college scout, Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated tweets.

Celtics Picking Up 2021/22 Options On Three Players

The Celtics are exercising their 2021/22 team options on the rookie scale contracts of Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams, according to former C’s assistant GM Ryan McDonough (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Decisions On 2021/22 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Langford, 21, was the 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft, but has been limited to 32 games so far due to health issues and has struggled in his limited playing time, with 2.5 PPG on .350/.185/.720 shooting in 11.6 minutes per contest. He’s currently sidelined as he recovers from wrist surgery.

Grant Williams, who was selected eight spots after Langford in the 2019 draft, has been a more regular part of Boston’s rotation since entering the league last year, averaging 3.5 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 72 games (15.3 MPG).

Langford’s and Williams’ third-year options will pay them $3.8MM and $2.6MM, respectively, in 2021/22. The Celtics will have to decide next year whether to pick up their fourth-year options for ’22/23.

As for Robert Williams, his fourth-year option for ’21/22 will guarantee him approximately $3.7MM and will put him on track for restricted free agency in ’22 if he doesn’t sign a rookie scale extension next summer.

The 23-year-old has appeared in just 63 games for the Celtics in two-plus seasons so far, but has shown some promise. He had one of the best performances of his career on Sunday vs. Indiana, putting up 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with four rebounds, four steals, and two blocks in 22 minutes.

Kemba Walker To Miss Start Of Season

Celtics point guard Kemba Walker will be sidelined until at least early January as he continues to rehab a left knee injury, according to a team press release.

After consulting several medical specialists in early October, Walker received a stem cell injection in the knee and was put on a 12-week strengthening program. He is expected to return to on-court activities early this month but he won’t be ready to play when the season begins.

Walker was hampered by left knee soreness prior to the stoppage of play in March and it continued to affect him during the restart. GM Danny Ainge admitted that team’s prized free agent acquisition in 2019 was “definitely not himself” during the playoffs.

Walker tried to gut it out and continued to play heavy minutes — he averaged 36.9 MPG in 17 postseason outings. He posted solid averages of 19.6 PPG and 5.1 APG during that span but his perimeter shooting suffered (31.0% from long range).

If Walker’s knee issues continues to linger, it could have a major impact on the team’s bottom line. He is due to make approximately $34.4MM during the upcoming season and $36MM in 2021/22. He has a $37.7MM option for the 2022/23 season.

However, Ainge believes Walker’s won’t miss too much time, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Ainge talked about Walker on the Toucher and Rich radio show.

“I’m not worried about Kemba. He’ll be back,” Ainge said. “It’s an opportunity for Marcus (Smart), Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard.”

Ainge feels the team has plenty of depth at that spot and doesn’t plan to pursue former Boston All-Star and current free agent Isaiah Thomas.

The press release also revealed that center Tristan Thompson suffered a minor hamstring strain during an offseason workout prior to arriving in Boston, and his availability during the first week of camp will be limited. Boston officially signed the former Cleveland big man on Monday.

Guard Romeo Langford‘s rehab from right wrist is going according to plan, the release adds. He underwent surgery on September 22nd to repair a torn scapholunate ligament in the wrist and the projected recovery time remains 4-5 months.

Romeo Langford Undergoes Wrist Surgery, Done For Season

Celtics rookie guard Romeo Langford underwent surgery on Tuesday morning to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist, the team announced (via Twitter). He’ll miss the rest of the 2019/20 season as a result of the procedure.

Langford tore ligaments in his shooting wrist in August. Although he was able to play through the injury, the team always expected him to undergo surgery to address the issue after the season. Having suffered a separate adductor injury during Game 2 of the Celtics’ series vs. Miami, Langford’s availability going forward was in jeopardy, so he has undergone the wrist procedure early, ending his season.

The 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Langford appeared in 32 regular season games for Boston, averaging 2.5 PPG and 1.3 RPG on .350/.185/.720 shooting in extremely limited playing time (11.6 MPG).

The former Indiana standout, who turns 21 next month, will enter the 2020/21 season looking to secure a spot in the Celtics’ regular rotation.