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Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk won't compete for Canada

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 01:46 PM

Celtics rookie 7-footer Kelly Olynyk will not compete for the Canadian senior men’s national team this summer because of plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation in the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It's considered a nagging but painful injury.

"Nothing too serious, but he just needs to rest and recover," a source close to the situation said Monday. Olynyk is expected to see a doctor as soon as Tuesday about the issue.

The Canadian team announced Monday the list of 18 players who are set to attend its training camp, which is scheduled to begin Friday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Olynyk, a native Canadian who grew up in Toronto and has been a part of the Canadian national team program in recent years, was not on that list.

"He’s so keen about wanting to play, but the Celtics had some concerns," national team head coach Jay Triano told the Toronto Star.

Olynyk, whom the Celtics traded up to the No. 13 overall pick to draft, played very well in five games at the Orlando Summer League, averaging a team-high 18 points and 7.8 rebounds in 24.3 minutes. He was voted to the league's all-summer first team.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has said that he sees Olynyk weighing 260 pounds – 20 more than he does now – and as a power forward who can play center occasionally.

“I don’t see Kelly as a go-to guy in the NBA,” Ainge added on the day Olynyk was introduced to the media, “but a guy that complements the rest of the guys on the team and makes them all better.”

That said, given that the Celtics are rebuilding and Olynyk's strong play during summer league, there's a chance that the former Gonzaga standout could play a bigger role this coming season.

Stevens adds another member to his staff

Posted by Globe Staff July 28, 2013 06:54 PM
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has added another member to his staff, and again it’s someone with connections to Butler University, where Stevens was the head coach before the Celtics hired him in July.


Former Butler point guard Ronald Nored, who most recently was an assistant coach at South Alabama, will reunite with Stevens in Boston, a league source confirmed to the Globe Sunday.


Another league source confirmed that Nored’s role will be with player development, and that he’ll also be involved with the Celtics’ NBA Development League team.


Nored joins a staff that already includes Micah Shrewsberry, a former Butler assistant under Stevens who most recently was an assistant coach at Purdue.


Another member of Stevens's staff in Boston is 23-year-old Drew Cannon, a basketball analytics specialist whom Stevens brought to Butler, making Cannon the first statistics-based hire on a college basketball staff.


The move will be the third job in four months for the 23-year-old Nored. Last season, he was a head coach at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School, then in April he joined South Alabama, where the head coach is Matthew Graves, a former Butler assistant under Stevens.

Nored played on Butler’s national runner-up teams in 2010 and 2011. The Alabama native is tied for the top spot at Butler for career steals (207) and was a two-time Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior, he set a school mark with 193 assists, breaking the record of 172.

Do Pierce and Garnett have something left? Doc Rivers says yes

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 27, 2013 06:33 PM

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While the Celtics faithful is preparing for the returns of Doc Rivers as Los Angeles Clippers coach and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as Brooklyn Nets, how will Rivers respond to facing the Nets with Pierce and Garnett on the other sideline?

He admitted to the Globe he had not pondered that question but it was clear during the month-long ordeal about his coaching future that Rivers wanted to coach the duo again. That won't happen, but Rivers believes the Nets will be a factor in the Eastern Conference.

"I hadn't thought about the Brooklyn part of it," Rivers said when asked his feeling about facing the Nets with Pierce and Garnett on the opposite team. "That's the first time I've been asked that question. I don't know, that's going to be strange. I get very emotional whenever I talk about Kevin and Paul. To see them somewhere else, our business sometimes it's tough. I leave (Boston) and people get upset at me and I don't think there's a lot of difference in their case but it was obvious the Celtics decided to move on.

"So Paul and Kevin had to go and that's a tough part of the business. But that will be strange for me, I want them to do well. For a lot of reasons I want them to do well, they could knock off Miami. But it will be interesting. It will be a while different feeling.

Rivers said both unquestionably have something left.

"I think obviously Paul's younger and in tune to play more minutes than Kevin," Rivers said. "But I think they're still at the top of their games. I think Paul is still one of those guys who can go off for big nights and still have big scoring nights. Kevin is a culture change. He won't play but 20 to 25 minutes a night and there'll probably be nights when he doesn't play but his presence there alone will absolutely change the culture of Brooklyn. There's no doubt about it. I think for some of the young guys, even some of the veteran stars, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, will learn and understand what a winner is and looks like and professionalism and being prepared.

"That's what I was most impressed with Kevin, how every game he prepared himself for games. That's what I told our young guys that I just wanted them to watch him prepare for games. It was why he was so consistent. I thought it was that important."

Rivers had noted trouble telling Garnett he couldn't play the minutes he desired. But he doesn't think that will be an issue for first-year coach Jason Kidd.

"I think Jason will be fantastic in that because he probably when through that a little bit himself last year," Rivers said. "He'll be able to relate to that 100 percent. I think Lawrence Frank will be so important for Jason as well. You think about Lawrence, he worked with (the Celtics) staff, so he's worked with Kevin and he's knows Kevin as well as anybody. So I think that combination will be great for Kevin."

Celtics' draft pick Colton Iverson agrees to Turkish deal

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 26, 2013 09:41 AM

The Celtics have been seeking ways to reduce their roster and second-round draft pick Colton Iverson, who played well in the Orlando Summer Pro League, offered another solution.

The center signed a two-year contract with Besiktas of the Turkish League with an out after the first season, according to the team. Playing overseas had been a consideration for Iverson since he was drafted 53d overall by the Celtics, who will still own Iverson's rights.

In five summer games, Iverson, a physical 7-foot center, averaged 5 points and 5.4 rebounds, showing defensive presence and rebounding in the paint.

The Celtics now have 16 players under contract and have until Thursday to make a decision on center Shavlik Randolph.

Nets, Celtics to meet in pair of preseason games

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 05:12 PM

The Celtics and Brooklyn Nets will face off in a pair of preseason games this fall, including an Oct. 23 meeting at TD Garden that the Nets, in their announcement Thursday, stated would mark "the return of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Boston."

Given that their much-anticipated return is expected to be one of the most emotional moments in recent Celtics history, there's a realistic chance that Garnett and Pierce, and perhaps even Terry, who were all dealt to the Nets in a blockbuster trade in July, could miss the trip and wait until the regular season to play their first game at TD Garden as Nets.

However, it's equally possible that Garnett and Pierce, two Celtics icons who helped deliver the team's first title in 22 years and whose numbers will almost certainly be retired by the Celtics one day, would like to get the emotional return out of the way sooner rather than later.

The Celtics and Nets are also scheduled to face each other Oct. 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

NBA scouts give their take on Celtics' new center, Vitor Faverani

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 12:10 PM

In time, Vitor Faverani will make an all-important first impression with Celtics fans and others who don't yet know what to make of the 25-year-old Brazilian center's game. The season will begin, he'll play, and then his skill-set will be picked apart by the masses.

For now, though, there will largely only be speculation about what exactly the Celtics are getting in the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Faverani, whom they signed to a three-year deal Monday that's said to be worth $6 million. Likewise, it's unclear how the Celtics might use him.

A little background, first: He played last year for Valencia Basket Club of the Spanish ACB League, averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17 minutes in 23 games.

Also, Faverani was eligible for the 2009 NBA draft but was not selected.

"He was not drafted because he was very immature and did not take the game seriously," said an Eastern Conference scout who said he spent considerable time scouting Faverani.

"He could not be trusted. He has done a lot of growing up, both on and off the floor, and has turned the corner, so to speak."

In terms of how Faverani fits in with the Celtics, the scout said, "I can see him as a pick-and-pop big, offensively. Where he fits defensively and being a consistent rebounder will be the key."

In describing Faverani's strengths and weaknesses, both offensively and defensively, the scout noted that Faverani can shoot and that offense, overall, is his biggest strength.

"That's what puts him on the floor – being hard to guard versus mismatches," the scout said. "He was never considered a defender/rebounder. He can run, is a good athlete."

A Western Conference scout provided this take:

"He has got an NBA frame and great wingspan. He is pretty athletic and likes to work on the defensive end of the floor. He has good feet and he is good in (pick-and-roll) defense.

"He is active, can block shots from the weak side and likes to bang. This is where his nickname "El Hombre Indestructible" comes from.

"On offense he is still raw, he is not selfish and has decent passing skills from the low post. He is good as a roller in pick and rolls. He was shooting threes decently three years ago in a weaker team, but not consistently enough to let him continue that in Valencia (a high level team).

"I don't remember back-to-the-basket moves except an interesting half-hook (shot). He never had great exposure with the Brazilian (national team) because they have plenty of big guys and coach always preferred other bigs.

"I don t know how good he can be in the NBA, but he is worth a try."

Kevin Garnett talks about leaving Boston

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 18, 2013 03:36 PM

BROOKLYN – Kevin Garnett addressed the Brooklyn-dominated media for a whopping 17 minutes and here are some nuggets from the interview:

On leaving the Celtics:

"Very difficult man. I don't like change much. Once I commit to something, I like to go at it, full throttle. Unfortunate. But you know obviously when I saw the Doc Rivers situation, I kind of knew the writing was on the wall, even before then. I had my connections there. It's tough leaving Rondo and other things. But new chapters. New things to embrace and that's what I'm doing."


On considering retirement:

"Absolutely, because I didn't know Paul's situation and where the Celtics were. Paul's a huge part of playing together and accomplishing things, which makes this thing kind of bittersweet. We're leaving one chapter and opening another."

On being with Pierce again:

"Obviously, we're doing this together, through the whole ordeal, we're figuring it out. Paul and I have been friends since 14, so we've talked numerous and countless times. Walking through this situation and giving him stories about my situation coming from Minnesota, going to Boston. I've given him those stories, those experiences and he's a very smart guy."

On Doc Rivers:

"Playing for Doc was a great experience for me. Not only did I grow as a young man but I grew as a player. Doc helped me to understand that it's going to be OK. And I say that phrase because at times where I feel like I need to work out more, he would always use that phrase with me. If I feel like I need to do something. If I didn't go the whole practice. I'm weird about my preparation. When it comes to my craft and how I prepare, I'm very deliberate, very precise, very focused and Doc would come in at times and make something very tense very relaxed, make it comfortable. I wasn't used to that. That was new to me."

On Clippers rumors:

"To be honest I was just weighing all options. I had a couple of options and at the end of the day, Brooklyn was the best for me. Can't sit here and say that if I had an opportunity to go with Doc, and Paul was involved and Jet (Jason Terry) was involved and we were all going West, then I would be opposed to that. At the same time, that wasn't an option."

Pierce reflects on becoming a Brooklyn Net

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 18, 2013 02:04 PM

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Paul Pierce was introduced along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry as new members of the Brooklyn Nets Thursday. (Jon Gerberg / AP photo)

BROOKLYN -- His emotions were on his sleeve, obvious despite his silence. Paul Pierce looked up at the videoboard at Barclays Center and saw a large photo of he, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry with donning Brooklyn jerseys, a superimposed image that surfaced when the trade to Brooklyn became official last Friday.

But the moment was here. The moment Pierce held a mesh jersey that didn't read "Celtics." The moment that he realized that Boston was part of his past and Brooklyn was part of his present. He was sedate during the press conference introducing the trio while Kevin Garnett tried getting the audience riled up with a "what's up Brooklyn?"

Thursday's introduction was more like a reflection for Pierce, who after 15 years in Boston was obviously moved by the reality of being gone.

"I'll always have love for Boston but maybe you figured this day would probably come," he said. "(Leaving) definitely crossed my mind more than others in the last couple of years, especially when you look at the team and you look at the direction they were going, me getting older as a player and the amount of new, younger guys coming in, that maybe one day it could happen. Mentally I kind of prepared myself for the last few years that this could be a possibility.

"Now that it happened. It's real. I understand it, it's the business and between me, (present of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) and the owners, there are no hard feelings. They're going in one direction, I'm going in another. It's just a mutual thing. I'll always have love for Boston, but you figured maybe this day would probably come."

Pierce said he never talked with Ainge about bringing back the Big Three for one more run, saying that the Celtics were salary cap strapped and improvement would have been difficult. When he signed his four-year deal in 2011, Pierce said he thought he would retire a Celtic.

"I thought actually when I did sign the last contract, I didn't think I'd get traded," he said. "But I thought more so when Kevin signed his contract (in 2012) I wouldn't get traded. We were going to be linked together pretty much the rest of our careers in Boston and as you can see we pretty much linked together, just not in Boston."

Pierce said his agent, Jeff Schwartz, called him on draft night to discuss the Brooklyn possibility. When the trade came down to Garnett's no-trade clause, Pierce said he called his childhood buddy to convince him to sign off on the deal.

"It was a situation where they were going to make a move and once the deal with the Clippers didn't go through with (Garnett), the Celtics were trading me, Doc (Rivers) was leaving, so what was left for Kevin?" Pierce said. "I talked with (Brooklyn coach) Jason Kidd and he was warming me of the fact of coming to Brooklyn and then he was warming me of the fact of getting Kevin too. And that's when I called Kevin."

Pierce said the phone call lasted nearly two hours and by the time Pierce got off the phone outside his Las Vegas home, he was dripping in sweat. Pierce said he told Garnett, "I know you don't want to retire. I know you don't want to retire. You have too much in the tank, you love the game too much."

Garnett initially resisted but then approved the contract later on the evening of June 27. Pierce said regardless of whether the Brooklyn deal was consummated, he knew the Celtics were trading him.

"I thought the writing was on the wall," he said. "You saw Doc was leaving. Rondo was hurt, probably not going to back until probably December or January. If I was a GM and I looked at the situation, one day I probably plan on being a GM if that's possible, I think I probably would have made the same decision. There's some sentimental things that go along with me and Danny being together for so long but at the end of the day, he works for the Boston Celtics, he doesn't work for Paul Pierce.

"He works for a franchise that's going to be around a lot longer than me and he has to make the best decisions he can for that franchise. If I was in his position moving forward, I would have probably done the same thing."

Finally, Pierce was asked about returning to Boston for the first time as a Brooklyn Net. He didn't hide the fact he's been thinking about that day the past three weeks.

"I've already pictured it in my head about 100 times, thousands of times and every time I've pictured it, I've shed tears," he said. "It's going to be difficult. Just seeing all the relationships, when I go there, I knew a lot of people that sat in the stands, sat in the front row, the ballkids I saw grow up that I give shoes to who come out to the arena early with me. It's definitely going to be emotional. My life was there. I spent almost half my life in Boston, I'm 35 and I spent 15 years in Boston."

Source: Celtics agree to multiyear deal with Missouri's Pressey

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 17, 2013 11:22 PM

LAS VEGAS -- Point guard Phil Pressey was impressive for the Celtics in their stretch of games at the Orlando Summer Pro League and that production has garnered him a multiyear contract, according to a league source. The source said the contract includes guarantees.

Pressey, a 5-foot, 11-inch guard who went undrafted out of the University of Missouri, signed with the Celtics following the draft and flourished in Orlando, averaging 9.4 points and 6.6 assists in 23 minutes per game. The Celtics have been seeking a true reserve point guard for years and appear to have decided on Pressey, who played at Waltham High while his father Paul was an assistant with the Celtics.

The Celtics indicated during the summer session that Pressey would be invited to camp and the two sides have been working on a deal the past two weeks. Celtics coach Brad Stevens expressed his admiration for Pressey last week in Orlando.

“I like Phil, I like Phil,” Stevens said. "There are some things that Phil can certainly get better at. He’ll work hard to do it. Right when I got the job, I sent him a text message that night and he called me about a minute after I sent the text and I think he really wants to be good. He’s very dynamic with the ball and I think if he continues to do that and make shots, he’s going to be in good shape.”

Pressey's signing leaves the Celtics with 17 players with the expected addition of Brazilian center Vitor Faverani. Team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he will make more roster changes throughout the summer.

Celtics waive Kris Joseph

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 15, 2013 04:42 PM

Now we know why Kris Joseph wasn't at the press conference this afternoon. The Celtics have waived the second-year forward they acquired in the deal that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets.

Joseph appeared in 10 games between the Nets and Celtics last season. The Celtics drafted the small forward out of Syracuse with the 51st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Joseph, who had a non-guaranteed contract, was waived for tax purposes. The team is still approximately $2 million over the luxury tax threshold.

Celtics introduce Humphries, Brooks, Bogans

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 15, 2013 03:32 PM

WALTHAM -- The Celtics held a press conference Monday to introduce three of the players acquired in the deal that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. Right out of the gate, it was clear both the players and team management weren't sure how long the players would be wearing Celtics green.

Flanked by veteran Keith Bogans and third-year player MarShon Brooks, the most marquee player in the deal stood up and introduced himself.

"Kris Humphries, 10th year, excited to be here," Humphries said, his voice trailing off almost as if asking a question.

"It's been a pleasure getting to know them real briefly," newly-hired Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after meeting the players minutes before. "Looking forward to working together."

With the first question, a local reporter asked Celtics general manager Danny Ainge whether he expected the trio, along with forward Gerald Wallace, to be on the roster by the time the summer ended.

"Sure," said Ainge. "We have some work to do. We have a few too many guaranteed contracts. But yes I do.

"We have to make some adjustments. We're very busy trying to put the best team on the court. There could be some changes in the summer, yes."

While Ainge didn't sound too convincing, Humphries in particular was even less so. Several of the questions were answered by all three players. After Brooks and Bogans gave their answers to one question, Humphries said, "Yeah basically all those cliched comments. I'm going to save you some time."

When the players held up Celtics jerseys following the general Q&A, the natural question was to wonder, at least for Humphries, whether or not the team would ever make another one.

Ainge spoke at length Monday for the first time on the trade that sent Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn. He said he wished he could have kept both players, and that they along with Jason Terry meant more to him personally than just about anyone else whose come through the organization. Ainge said if it were up to him, the numbers of Garnett and Pierce would hang in the rafters at TD Garden.

"Brooklyn showed a real interest in putting a dream team together, and at any cost, really," said Ainge. "The chance to acquire a lot of young assets and move onto a different phase presented itself."

Ainge said no other team expressed interest in acquiring both Pierce and Garnett.

"Where we were as a team, it seemed very difficult to be a championship contender," he said. "It's a situation that we needed to do. It was an opportunity for us to start fresh, to start over. Not completely start over, because we have a lot of good players returning, and a lot of good players we acquired in the trade. But start over as far as a new coaching staff, new players, and a new identity."

Of the three players, Brooks most fits into the Celtics' rebuilding plans.The third-year player out of Providence averaged 12.6 points his rookie season before falling behind Joe Johnson on Brooklyn's depth chart last season. Bogans seemed like the player who was best adjusted to the whole thing. The veteran guard said he hoped to act like an extension of Stevens on the court.

"I know the fans in Boston appreciate hard work, playing hard, and that's pretty much my game," said Bogans.

"I definitely think it will be motivating, seeing some of the comments from the media, that we're just going to come out and throw the season away. That's not the case."

Despite Bogans's plea to the contrary, it was hard to sit through the press conference and imagine the Celtics doing anything but "rebuilding," "starting over," or "getting younger," phrases that were used multiple times.

Even the light moments were strange. Before the press conference, an elephant in the room of sorts was the scuffle between Humphries and current Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo last season.

"I knew it was coming," Humphries said of the question. "I haven't talked to him, but I think we'll have a good relationship. I think things happen within the game. When you look at it, it really was nothing. The media tries to blow things out of proportion. I need to do my part to earn his respect, in terms of playing hard."

"It might have been a flop," Ainge chimed in. "I don't think Rondo could push this guy this hard."

The player and the GM exchanged playful shoves at the table. Both looked uncomfortable. The press conference continued on. Afterward, Ainge said he saw no physical reason that Humphries's play declined last season at the age of 28. He reiterated that the Celtics were still very much a team in flux.

Celtics Mailbag: Where do we go from here?

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 15, 2013 10:27 AM

We're in an odd kind of limbo. It's too far from the start of the NBA season to dissect the minutia surrounding the team (lineups, etc.), but with a flurry of recent activity, there's plenty to talk about. The Celtics currently have 17 players listed on their roster, which is two more than allowed, but there's no reason to believe all of them will stick. There's also no reason to believe they're done, that one or two or five players not currently on the team will be a part of it by opening night.

There are a lot of balls in the air.

Your questions have been coming in, and they've been good ones. As a reminder, you can leave a question for a future mailbag anytime. Let's get right to it.

What is Jared Sullinger's ceiling (range/basketball IQ/defense/fundamentals) and what does this mean for stats, and team/league value? Is his history of back issues the primary concern?
Mark, Northampton

sullingermailbag.jpgGreat question, Mark. To me Sullinger is the most exciting player on the roster. His rebounding (10.7 per 36 minutes) earned a lot of praise last season, but he's just scratching the surface on offense. I spent a lot of time watching Sullinger in college, and against constant double-teams, he had an array of post moves that were effortless. His footwork is impeccable. Some of it looks like a "junk" game of floaters and runners and baby hooks, but those are all things he practices (he reminds me of Dwyane Wade in the way that he hones those running bank shots until they become repetitive). His health is by no means a sure thing, but if Sullinger can recover from the back injury, his offense is going to explode. He's one of the smarter big men in the game, basketball IQ wise.

I've seen the reports that Celtics want to trade Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. While it seems hard to believe that they'll find a taker for an aging Wallace with that contract, I can see Humphries expiring deal being appealing to certain teams. Do you think it's more realistic that they are able to find a taker now or have him play half the year, maybe build some value as an actual player, and then deal at the deadline?
Devan, Westfield

The value should be the same now or at the deadline. While Wallace and Humphries didn't have the best seasons last year, they're known commodities who can help a team right now. The value of Humphries' expiring contract should be enough to get something in return, and my guess is that one or both of these players get moved.

Could we know if Ainge wants to keep Rondo long term by whether or not he's named Captain?
Mark (@markmcn81)

That's interesting, Mark. You're right, at this point the Celtics don't have a captain. If Rondo is on the team it presumably has to be him. Not sure if there's an intentional message here, but the longer Rondo is not named captain certainly brings up some questions.

With the Pistons wanting Rondo, would a Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe deal be enough to get it done?
Mark, South Dakota

That's a deal I've thought all along would be great for both sides, Mark. The Pistons seem to have too many big men with Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Josh Smith, who should all be starters. Rondo and Smith are friends, and Rondo gives the Pistons an All-Star who isn't 6-feet-10-inches tall. The Celtics don't really have a center (Kelly Olynynk and Jared Sullinger are more power forwards). Knight is only 21-years-old.

Regarding the Nets/Celtics trade, any of the players coming here... Could the Celtics "amnesty" any of them, or cut the players? Not very impressed with any of them.
Gene, Quincy

Humphries, Wallace, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Joseph were sent to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce deal. Players who have been traded cannot be amnestied. The Celtics could very well cut Bogans or Joseph, though.

Why does everyone seem to think the Nets will be very good? Their lineup is pretty average. Pierce and Garnett are lovely players but the Celtics had them last year and they were mediocre. I think the Nets will be 5 to 10 games above .500. What do you think?
Mark, Manchester

This is just one opinion, but I think the Nets will meet the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals this season. They're really, really good on paper. KG and Pierce can still be major forces for a playoff team.

What a mess, they have no true center worthy of getting major minutes and no outside shooting in the backcourt. Since I am not of the tanking theory, that re-making the roster will take time and we have some parts to get rid of, what changes can you see being made between now and training camp?
Bob, Mountain View Calif.

You're not wrong in your assessment, Bob. I still think one or more trades will be made, and until then we can't really evaluate the roster. Your point on a center is a good one. They need to trade for/sign one. At the moment the roster is full.

News is Houston is putting Center Omer Asik on the trading block. Is there any way the Celtics can deal for him? He's only 26 and can rebound which has been a big problem in recent years for the Celtics but I believe he makes like $5M.
Isaac, Enfield Conn
.

I'm a big fan of Asik's game. He's an athletic big man who Houston valued highly enough to pay $5 million this season and $14.9 million next season. That's a lot of dough. The Celtics are trying to clear cap space, not create more of it. Might be too much to bring back.

What happens if A. Wiggins and J. Parker both opt to stay in college for more than their freshman years?
Isaac, Fairfax, Va.

Won't happen, but even if it does the Celtics' strategy needs to be the same. They're positioning themselves to be able to select from 8 to 10 players they think can be stars. Can't focus on one or two.

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized LeBron's or one Lebron sized duck?
Matt (@lobstaman)

100 duck-sized LeBrons. Both situations are terrifying.

Thanks everyone. We'll make these bags more of a regular thing as the summer goes on.

Former Butler standout Howard thinks Stevens will succeed as Celtics coach

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 14, 2013 08:57 PM

LAS VEGAS -- Right now his priority is earning a training camp invitation, yet Matt Howard had plenty of time to bask about his four years playing at Butler University under coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics' new coach.

Howard, who left Butler in 2011 after a storied career that included appearances in consecutive national championship games, is playing for the Memphis entry of the Las Vegas Summer League. He had nothing but compliments about his former coach, who delayed attending the Celtics' summer league to participate in an event that honored Howard.

Howard's hometown of Connersville, Indiana was celebrating its bicentennial and Howard's father asked Stevens to participate months ago. Stevens fulfilled his commitment,

"It meant a lot to (my dad) and I know everybody there and really to me that he honored that commitment to my dad,” Howard said. “I really appreciated it. It shows a lot about Brad.”

Howard said Stevens should adapt well to relating to NBA players despite his lack of professional coaching experience.

"He has a great bond with us players and I think he really tries to get to know each player, how they tick and try to make them better," Howard said. "And then within the game, I haven’t been around anyone who is so good at making adjustments. You go and watch Butler over the years out of timeouts, see how effective and efficient they are, that’s coaching. There’s so many angles and he’s always one to learn. I think that makes for a great coach."

Howard said he keeps in close touch with Stevens, and that is exemplary of his commitment to players.

“My whole career was with him at Butler and he’s a players’ coach,” Howard said. “He has great relationships with all his players. He really wanted to get to know them. I think that most guys that want to have a relationship do. If for some reason it doesn’t work out, it’s not because he isn’t trying. I know that’s what he’s going to do and I think he’s going to be fine because I saw it in my four years with him.”

Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd excited about additions of Pierce, Garnett

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 04:35 PM

ORLANDO – It was only a couple months ago that Jason Kidd and the rest of the New York Knicks were facing Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and their Boston Celtics teammates.

Now, with a blockbuster swap officially completed between the Celtics and Nets, those three will be reunited again in Brooklyn, with Kidd coaching Pierce and Garnett.

When Kidd spoke to Garnett on draft night when the terms of the deal were essentially agreed to, there wasn't too much said.

"He’s a man of few words, but when he does say something, everyone listens," Kidd said Friday during Orlando Summer League here.

"My pitch was to have an opportunity to win a championship again, and being able to not just win a championship but teach these guys what it takes to win. (Brook) Lopez, (Andray) Blatche, (Deron Williams), Joe Johnson – being able to show them what it takes to win.”

Garnett, 37, and Kidd, 40, are said to be close, in no small part because they came into the league around the same time -- Garnett for the 1995-96 season and Kidd a season before.

"He’s a warrior," Kidd said of Garnett. "From Day 1 (in) ’95, He’s been all business. He’s a winner, he understands what it takes to win. When you talk about a true professional, he’s the blueprint.”

An obvious factor for Garnett to waive his no-trade clause to make the deal work was that he'd be joining his close friend Pierce, who will be 36 by the time next season begins. Also joining Garnett and Pierce in Brooklyn is Jason Terry, 35.

Kidd said he doesn't believe it will be awkward coaching players he's played against.

"No. For JET, no, I think because that was kind of my role when I was in Dallas, being able to communicate with those guys on that end of the floor," Kidd said.

"Paul, when I talked to Paul he was excited for me because he felt this was something that the league needed, to get some new blood in as coaches. I don’t think it’s going to be any awkwardness, I think it’s going to be a great combination of them being able to help me and me being able to help them. That’s what a family’s all about and that’s what we are.”

In all, Kidd said there are plenty of egos to manage, but the fact that most of them are veterans does help.

"I’m glad they’re all in their 30s," he said. "If they were all in their 20s it might be harder, but these guys all understand what it takes to win, what it means to win, and they’ve all sacrificed. When you talk to them or if they talk to their teammates, that’s going to be a key word that they’ll share, is that you have to sacrifice to be a winner in this league.

"When you talk about Paul and KG, you can’t forget about Jason Terry. He’s also won a championship and he also understands what it takes. I’m excited about the personalities. Everybody’s different and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

How does Kidd see the team coming together on the court?

"They’re all unselfish, so someone has to shoot the ball," Kidd said. "When you look at teams that have put big names together, they tend to take a step back because of the other superstars, they rely on them. I’m looking for these guys to all be who they are, but also they have to look at the basket. That’s something we’ll talk about as a team.”

At this stage in their careers, Garnett and Pierce won't and can't play heavy minutes, though it might be hard to convince them of that.

“I’ll just cut the uniform off. That’s all, that’s easy," Kidd said, half-joking.

"We’ll sit down, we’ve already started working on that. Being able to say I sat in that seat, being able to talk to KG, Paul and JET about those situations, hopefully they’ll listen and be able to understand the bigger picture. I’ve always called the regular season the dress rehearsal for the real season of trying to win a championship, so I can share that knowledge.

"But KG and Paul sometimes could be stubborn because they’re warriors and they want to be out there and help. Sometimes when they look in that locker their jerseys won’t be there. That’s the best way to keep those guys’ minutes down.”

But this move was no doubt made with the Miami Heat as a target.

"They’re the blueprint," Kidd said. "They’re the champs. They’ve won it twice, they could have won it three times in a row. When they put that team together to try to win championships, and they’ve had a lot of success. If you want to compete with them you have to have horses, and I think we have that.”

Nets trumpet arrival of Pierce, KG

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 12, 2013 03:12 PM

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The Brooklyn Nets were quick to welcome Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, whom they acquired in a trade with the Celtics, into the fold after the deal became official on Friday.

The Nets' website featured a introduction screen (above) with an image of the three in Nets uniforms, with Pierce wearing his usual 34, Garnett wearing No. 2, and Terry No. 31.

“Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets," said Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov. "With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch, and tough to compete against."

Celtics crush Orlando Magic in their final summer league game

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 02:24 PM

ORLANDO – Behind a balanced scoring effort from several players, the Celtics closed out summer league play here Friday by crushing the hometown Magic, 102-83, on the Magic's practice court at the Amway Center. The Celtics finished summer league with a 3-2 record.

The Celtics led, 29-14, after the first quarter. They held a 61-36 lead at halftime. It wasn't much of a game, obviously, and it looked more like the Celtics were looking forward to their flight back home. The Magic made the score look reasonable during garbage time.

Celtics rookie 7-footer Kelly Olynyk had 12 points and 7 rebounds in 15 minutes. Fellow rookie 7-footer Colton Iverson had 10 points and 6 rebounds in about 13 minutes.
Fab Melo also played well, with 11 and 5 rebounds in about 18 minutes. Paul Pressey also had 7 points and 10 assists. In all, seven Celtics scored in double figures.

Magic guard A.J. Slaughter scored a game-high 25 points.

Celtics finally complete trade with Nets; Pierce, Garnett and Terry headed to Brooklyn

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 12, 2013 02:14 PM

ORLANDO – After 15 days of being a foregone conclusion, the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets have finally announced the blockbuster trade sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and D.J. White to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round draft picks and the rights to swap picks in 2017.

It officially ends the 15-year tenure for Pierce in Boston and the six-year stint for Garnett. Pierce will go down as one of the great Celtics in team history while Garnett aided the organization to its first championship in 22 years.

“We would like to thank Paul, Kevin, and Jason for everything that they have done for this franchise. We would not have won Banner 17 without Paul and Kevin and they will go down amongst the all-time great players to have ever worn a Celtics uniform,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “At the same time we are excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics family. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, depth, and flexibility to our team."

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov expressed his pleasure with the deal.

"Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets," he said in a statement. ""With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch, and tough to compete against. "

When it became apparent the Celtics were aging, they executed one of the biggest trades in team history, agreeing to send their two future Hall of Famers to the Nets for draft picks as they move toward a rebuilding plan.

“Paul and Kevin exemplified everything it means to be a Celtic,” Celtics managing partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck said in a statement. “They were instrumental in bringing back Celtic Pride and providing our fans with the franchise’s first championship in over 20 years in 2008. We wish them nothing but the best in the future.”

Said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who has been on the job for eight days: "We are really excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics organization.They collectively bring a great deal of versatility, unique skill sets and production to our roster. I cannot wait to get to work with them.”

Celtics thank Paul Pierce, KG with full-page ad in Globe

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 12, 2013 07:47 AM
The Celtics have offered a public thank you to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett with a full-page ad in Friday's Boston Globe sports section.

Pierce and Garnett were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in late June. The Celtics also shared the message via social media, tweeting "You will always be Celtics."

Here's the Globe ad:

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Follow me at @mattpep15.

Sources: Former Butler assistant to join Brad Stevens' Celtics staff

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 06:14 PM

ORLANDO – Purdue men's basketball assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, who was an assistant under Brad Stevens at Butler University, is set to join Stevens' staff in Boston as an assistant coach, sources close to the situation told the Globe Thursday.

The move isn't official yet and likely won't be until early next week, the sources said.

Shrewsberry joined the Purdue staff in 2011 following four years at Butler, all of them under Stevens. Shrewsberry, an Indianapolis native, arrived at Butler in 2007 as coordinator of basketball operations, and was promoted to assistant coach in July 2008.

Shrewsberry joins assistants Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young on the Celtics' coaching staff. Both Larranaga and Young were with the Celtics last season.

It's expected that Stevens is also looking at hiring another assistant with a lot of NBA experience, especially considering that Stevens has none. League sources have said that one assistant being considered for that position is former Bulls assistant Ron Adams.

Adams was let go from the Bulls this offseason.

Brad Stevens makes appearance at Rajon Rondo's basketball camp in Louisville

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 04:51 PM

ORLANDO – Much has been made about whether new Celtics coach Brad Stevens and point guard Rajon Rondo will get along next season, but Stevens tried to make it clear on the day that he was introduced as the 17th coach in Celtics history that he likes Rondo.

"There is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me," Stevens said.

Stevens later added, "I'm looking forward to sitting down and learning from him."

Well, the astute Celtics coach made another smart move by heading to Louisville, Rondo's hometown, to speak at Rondo's basketball camp there Thursday. Stevens had been with the Celtics for the past few days in Orlando, where their summer league team is playing, but the Celtics were off Thursday. They'll play their fifth and final game here Friday.

Celtics fall to 2-2 after 85-78 loss to Rockets, Olynyk scores 21

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 10, 2013 05:49 PM

ORLANDO -- After seven consecutive days of practices and game, a weary Celtics summer league squad trailed most of the way and a late rally fell short in an 85-78 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Orlando Summer Pro League in Amway Center.

Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points with 10 rebounds but also committed seven fouls (foul out limit is 10) and five turnovers. He finished 8-for-14 shooting from the field and 0-for-5 from the 3-point line. The Celtics shot 37.7 percent and committed 16 turnovers and missed a whopping 23 3-pointers.

"I thought some guys were definitely tired today," summer league coach Jay Larranaga said. "You can be tired and still compete and I thought we were tired and didn't compete for the whole time. We had our stretches but I thought Houston did a better job of giving all-out effort than we did."

Former Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis finished with 14 points while point guard Phil Pressey scored 6 on 2-for-9 shooting but added 10 assists. Former Kentucky forward Terrence Jones led the Rockets with 17 points, often facing off against Olynyk, while ex-Marquette guard Vander Blue added 16.

"Terrence is a good play, had a very good college career, having a very good summer league, he's hard to guard," summer league coach Jay Larranaga said. "I thought Kelly held his own and just needs to continue to improve."

Said Olynyk: "I think it was a good test, a good bar to set. You can't back down. You have to go in there and work hard and keep playing."

The Celtics were without Darius Johnson-Odom, who left the team to joint the Denver Nuggets summer league squad in Las Vegas.

A to-do list for Brad Stevens

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2013 05:00 AM

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The hiring of Butler's Brad Stevens was a huge surprise, but now that the new Celtics coach has been given the keys to the team, it's time to get to work.

It won't be easy for the 36-year-old coach without veteran leaders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics are rebuilding, and the roster Stevens inherited is much different than the one last manned by departing coach Doc Rivers. There are still holdovers, however, and there are things Stevens can do with the remaining players and a new system that Rivers could not. The players acquired in the Pierce/KG trade and the Celtics' draft picks also provide a clean slate.

It's fun to imagine Stevens arriving at his desk with little Post-It notes from general manager Danny Ainge that read something like "Talk to Rondo." In that vein, below are the tasks, in order, I would leave for Stevens if I were Ainge.

-- Talk to Rondo: The first one is the most obvious, but it's also the most important. With Pierce and Garnett gone, Rondo is the Celtics' undisputed best player, as well as the team's longest tenured member. It's imperative that the coach and the point guard are on the same page. Both are students of the game, and they can learn from each other. If Stevens wants to install his system in Boston with any kind of success, he'll need Rondo on his side.

-- Solidify his coaching staff: Stevens has already made an unconventional move, bringing 23-year-old stats guru Drew Cannon with him from Butler. When Stevens hired Cannon last year, he was the first stats-only hire on any coaching staff in college basketball. As far as the rest of his staff, so far the only two commitments Stevens has secured are Rivers holdovers Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young.

Should Stevens bring in a long-time NBAer as an assistant? Should he continue to push his own guys, even if they're unproven? Either way, it's important he solidifies his staff soon.

-- Build the confidence of the young players: Stevens needs to determine if his young players might also be his best players. Rivers was known for going with veterans over youth, for burying Rajon Rondo on the bench early on and favoring guys like Jason Terry later. Rondo turned out to be the team's best player after a while. Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, or Kelly Olynyk (below in Summer League highlights) could be one of Boston's best players right now, but they'll need a chance. Bradley in particular could use a boost of confidence and a fresh start.




clee.jpg-- Reinvigorate Courtney Lee: Of the returning players, Lee is the one most in need of a new beginning. He fell out of favor with Rivers late last season after starting out as a major part of the rotation. On the surface it looked as though Lee meshed well with Rondo and Bradley and could play in an up-tempo system. Poor 3-point shooting early (.182 in November) sunk Lee somewhat. Maybe Stevens can figure out a better way to use him.

-- Identify his starters: This doesn't mean set a starting lineup. Stevens has a different approach to basketball than Rivers, and he's likely to view the same players in a different light. It's important for Stevens to determine who his best players might be, then start formulating lineups based around them. Stats guru Cannon is known for his analysis of various lineups and can help there.

-- Establish a team identity: What's going to define a Brad Stevens NBA team? Will they be defensive-minded like the teams of Rivers and his former assistant, Tom Thibodeau? Will they push the ball? Will the offense center around Rondo, or will it be more free-flowing? (Remember, that was a problem last season with Rivers.) The Celtics haven't been a particularly good offensive basketball team for years, ranking 24th in the league in offensive efficiency last season. Stevens can make them much better.

-- Turn Jeff Green into a No. 1 option: Green played his best basketball when Garnett or Pierce were off the floor last season. In the playoffs Green averaged 20.3 points, substantially higher than his averages of 11.8 and 7.3 in two seasons in Oklahoma City. Green has never been the focal point of any team, but he's going to have the chance to be that now. Stevens can help him him greatly in that regard.

-- Preach rebounding: Rebounding suffered in Rivers's system. The Celtics were 22d in the NBA in total rebounding in 2013, which is right about where they've been the last few seasons. Using Sullinger more this season should help, but the Celtics need others to get on board. They need to rebound effectively even when they play small. Even if they decide to get out and run, they need the ball to be able to do so.

-- Give his input on Fab Melo and the end of the roster: Melo has had one year of seasoning in the D-League, where the Celtics have had a good chance to look at him. Now Stevens gets his turn in the Summer League and in training camp. Melo clearly isn't ready for the NBA, but Stevens and his staff will determine whether or not he's worth putting more time into. The end of the roster, where Jordan Crawford, rookie Colton Iverson, and any number of players from the Summer League could reside, also needs sorting out.

Watch: Celtics beat Pacers in Summer League

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 9, 2013 09:06 PM




Here are highlights from the Celtics' 76-74 victory over the Pacers on Tuesday in the Orlando Summer League.

Drew Cannon, Brad Stevens' analytics guru at Butler, to join the Celtics

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 05:48 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Drew Cannon, a 23-year-old who was Brad Stevens' analytics guru at Butler, will be joining the Celtics, he told the Globe Monday.

It's unclear exactly what Cannon's role will be on Stevens' staff, but Stevens said Cannon "will be on board in some capacity." Cannon was considered to be the first pure statistics-based hire on a college basketball staff when he joined Stevens' staff at Butler.

Cannon sat baseline during the Celtics' 93-63 summer league win over Detroit at the Amway Center here. He sat next to Miami (Fla.) basketball coach Jim Larranaga and was near a slew of Celtics executives.

Celtics crush Pistons in Summer League game, 93-63

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 04:11 PM





ORLANDO, Fla. -- Behind 22 points from Darius Johnson-Odom and a strong defensive performance, the Celtics crushed the Detroit Pistons, 93-63, Monday at the Amway Center here, evening the Celtics' summer league record at one win and one loss.

Celtics rookie 7-footer Kelly Olynyk finished with 13 points (5-9 shooting), 6 rebounds and 5 steals in 21 minutes. Phil Pressey also scored in double figures with 12 points. Johnson-Odom made 8 of 14 shots, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

The Celtics opened the game on a 20-5 run and led 30-9 after the first quarter, leveling the Pistons in every facet of the game. At halftime, the Celtics led, 45-30, and rookie forward Kelly Olynyk, who was coming off a 25-point game Sunday, had 6 points on 3-of-7 shooting. Johnson-Odom led the Celtics with 9 points at intermission.

Boston led 70-43 entering the fourth quarter, and it wasn't close after that.

Olynyk again looked a bit more hesitant to shoot at times, and the Celtics' coaching staff was urging him not to pass up open looks. The 7-footer who played at Gonzaga did earn a technical foul in the third for pushing away a player after a hard foul.

Fellow rookie 7-footer Colton Iverson had 3 points and 5 rebounds in limited minutes.

Also, Fab Melo, the Celtics' second-year center out of Syracuse, took several charges, was dunked on several times, had at least one of his dunk attempts blocked quite fiercely by Pistons center Viacheslav Kravtsov, had a nice dunk near the end of the game and then later a nice hook shot.

Melo finished with 6 points and 3 rebounds.

Bird calls Paul Pierce: 'One of the better ones to ever come through Boston'

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 8, 2013 03:18 PM

ORLANDO – Larry Bird does not talk much to the media, but when he does, he is brutally honest, engaging, and entertaining.

He was after the Pacers' game at the Orlando Summer Pro League, when he was asked about a variety of topics, since time with Bird is so precious. He addressed the end of the Big Three Era in Boston and reflected on his own Big Three Era, and how he, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish were allowed to age in Celtics uniforms.

"It's tough. I knew I was on my way out. Actually I was going to leave a couple of years earlier and (former president) Dave Gavitt talked me into staying," Bird said. "It was tough. There was always talk about should Red (Auerbach) trade us early, but there's loyalty there in that organization and he decided to keep us.

"But you always gotta look out for the franchise. You always do."

Bird said seeing Paul Pierce not finish his career with Boston is difficult.

"I would have loved to see it," he said. "I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he's not going to play another four years? It's a tough situation."

When asked if Pierce and Kevin Garnett had something left to offer the Brooklyn Nets, Bird said: "Well I think they've both been pretty healthy throughout their careers. They haven't had the major, major injuries that I had. Yeah, I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah. they'll pick their spots., but when the time comes, they'll be there."

Bird had nothing but compliments for Pierce, the franchise's second all-time leading scorer.

"He's one of the better ones to ever come through there. He really is."

Of course, Bird couldn't end the interview without taking a jab at his buddy Danny Ainge.

"Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he's doing," Bird said. "He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. I only doubted him when he had the ball in his hands and three seconds to go. Not in the position he is in now. Danny does a good job. You know you do get older. You can't beat Father Time and I'm sure things will work out."

Bird, who took over the Pacers as a first-year coach in 1997, had positive comments about new Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

"I don't know Brad Stevens personally, but I know he did a good job in Indianapolis [at Butler University]," Bird said. "The people really like him there. I'm not surprised [he took an NBA job], I know two or three years ago, he wasn't, but he had a guy sniffing around the NBA seeing what was out there, so I'm not surprised by it. But I think he'll do fine. But it takes time.

"[Stevens is] very patient. He don't get too excited. When the players watch their coach and they don't get excited, they play with a demeanor and keep pushing and pushing and everything is going to be all right. It carries over to his players. And that's why [Butler] got so far in the last few years."

Ex-Butler C Andrew Smith explains Brad Stevens' talents as a coach

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 05:10 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Andrew Smith hails from the same town as Brad Stevens: Zionsville, Indiana. Smith pursued Butler before they were interested in him, and the selling point, the center said, was their coach, Stevens, who is now the head coach of the Boston Celtics.

It's a whole different level of basketball, but Smith, who is a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder's summer league team here, is confident that Stevens will do just fine.

"He’ll be great," Smith said. "That’s one of his best things: Dealing with different situations. It might take him a little bit of time to get adjusted, college is a lot different than the NBA, but with a talent like him, it’s only a matter of time before he’s able to figure it out. I think he’ll be pretty good in a few years."

Leaving Butler wasn't easy for Stevens to do, as he and others have stated.

"I’ve talked to all the guys on the team," Smith said, "They said that locker room meeting was pretty emotional, and they were on break, so some of the players weren’t even in town, were not able to hear about it until the media.

"A situation like that is tough, but we’re all excited for him. We know this is a pretty unique opportunity and he’d be pretty foolish to pass it up."

Smith also thought the NBA would be Stevens' next step, even if it seemed like Stevens would never leave Butler, where he signed a 12-year contract extension in 2010.

"I didn’t think he would ever leave Butler for another school," Smith said. "He was pretty committed to us, and yeah, I know he’s had a couple of opportunities to go to some pretty big schools, and turned them down. So I thought the NBA would be the only thing he would move on for."

Stevens' attention to detail is one trait that many cite as perhaps his strongest, and Smith noted that Stevens hired a statistical guru named Drew Cannon as evidence of that.

Cannon is considered to be the first pure statistics-based hire on a college basketball staff.

"And I think they went over like a 10-hour report before and after every single game," Smith said. "That alone proves it, and that’s just part of what he does. And his ability to congest all that and give it to us in a way that’s understandable, and just give us 3 or 4 key things that we can focus on each game, and not just be overwhelmed. His ability to do that, is very impressive."

Jared Sullinger on Celtics 'tanking' talk: We just want to play and shut everybody up

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 05:01 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Next year's draft is loaded and the Celtics are rebuilding, which would lead any logical soul to believe that they may well "tank" -- or whatever you want to call it; "experiment" is another word that will suffice -- next season.

This theory has been making the rounds, and Celtics forward Jared Sullinger seems to be more than fed up with it.

"When you have Celtics pride, you really don’t have time to rebuild," Sullinger said after his team's summer league game here, which he didn't participate in as he's still recovering from season-ending back surgery.

"You gotta play hard, you gotta play smart. I think with the veterans we have like Gerald Wallace coming from Brooklyn… and we have Jeff (Green), everybody counts us out, but we still have (Rajon) Rondo. He won a title in ’08. He know what it takes.

"And also with Kevin (Garnett) instilling the will, the power, the intensity in all of us, within that one year, especially with me, that 'rebuild' word we really don’t like it."

Sullinger, who will be entering his second season, admitted that he needs to take on more of a leadership role.

"For sure, I gotta step up, gotta do a little bit more. Gotta probably play a little more. At the same time, we just want to play. Everyone’s talking about how we’re going to tank and how we’re going to do this, we just want to play and shut everybody up."

That one season Sullinger spent with veterans -- and specifically Garnett -- was "vital in his development," the forward said.

"I just think it showed me how to be a pro," Sullinger said. "Kevin has been in this league since the Jordan era, then 2000s, he’s played every era you can play in the past 20 years. He's shown me things. How to approach the ref, how to approach your body, knowing when to go and when to stop, and having a routine. Have a daily routine, stretching when you’re not doing nothing. Kevin taught me just the little things."

But, new teammates or not, Sullinger said the approach to next season doesn't change.

"Nothing changes; we just got new teammates, that’s about it," he said. "Other than that, it’s still the same game. You still gotta put that orange basketball in the hoop and whoever has the most points wins."

Former Butler star, current Jazz forward Gordon Hayward gushes on Brad Stevens

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 04:49 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Did Brad Stevens teach Gordon Hayward anything when the two were at Butler University together, Stevens as the basketball coach, Hayward as his star forward?

Why, yes. Yes he did.

"He was the first person to tell me he thought I could make it to the NBA," said Hayward, who now plays for the Utah Jazz, who are playing in summer league here.

"We sat down my freshman year, and he said, ‘I think you can play at the next level.’

"It was always a dream of mine, but I didn’t really think that was going to happen. I wasn’t highly recruited. I wasn’t anything big in high school. That’s one thing he showed me, that it’s going to take a lot of work but that I could get there."

Now, Stevens has left his post as the head coach at Butler to become the 17th head coach in Celtics' history.

And Hayward has plenty of faith that Stevens will do just fine in the NBA, even though he has no prior experience in the league.

"He knows what he’s doing," Hayward said. "He realizes everything that everybody is saying about it, the challenge that he’s going to face. It doesn’t matter. He’ll be successful wherever he’s at."

Obviously, one personality trait that sticks out about Stevens is his poise, his calm.

Where does that come from? From his extreme preparedness, Hayward said.

"He does his research on guys and knows what he’s doing before the ball even goes up," Hayward said of Stevens. "Even if they make an adjustment, he’s already prepared in his mind what he’s going to do, what he thinks is going to work. He’s got a backup for that and a backup if the backup doesn’t work. That’s why he’s so poised, in my opinion, because he had done his homework early. He knows basketball as well. He’s been in it his whole life and he’s been a student of the game. He knows it inside and out."

But, make no mistake, Stevens can show emotion if need be, Hayward said.

"He can get after it, for sure, if we didn’t have a good practice or we’re not doing things the right way," he said. "But for the most part, he’s definitely even-keeled on good things and bad."

Celtics drop summer league opener; Olynyk scores 25

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 7, 2013 02:16 PM

ORLANDO -- The Celtics dropped their first game in the Orlando Summer League, 95-88, to an Orlando Magic club that played several players from its regular roster. The storyline, however, was the performance of Kelly Olynyk, who finished with 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting with 7 rebounds and 2 steals.

Olynyk's jumper looked smooth and he also showed some grit around the basket. Former Alabama forward Tony Mitchell added 16 for the Celtics while Phil Pressey scored 11. Fab Melo finished with 9 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes but attempted only five shots.

Celtics coach Jay Larranaga, coaching in front of his father, Jim, head coach at the University of Miami, said he was pleased with the overall effort despite 23 turnovers.

"I thought for the most part we really played unselfishly," Larranaga said. "They did what we asked of them. We knew coming in, these summer situations, turnovers are a problem for a lot of teams. I thought we competed for the whole 40 minutes and we're pretty proud with how they played."

Olynyk canned two of his four 3-point attempts and made all five free throws. He shot with relative ease but Larranaga wanted to see more.

"I think Kelly's very, very skilled," Larranaga said. "He can shoot. He can pass. He can dribble. He plays defensively. He talks. One of his biggest strengths is how well he talks the game and how he stays connected to his teammates. He's got to shoot when he's open. He had some shots that he turned down and he's such an unselfish player, we need to keep encouraging him to shoot when he's open."

Celtics introduce Brad Stevens as coach

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 5, 2013 11:46 AM
The Celtics opened a new era on Friday when they introduced Brad Stevens as the 17th head coach in franchise history.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge welcomed Stevens, who at 36 now becomes the youngest coach in the NBA, two days after formally announcing that he had hired Stevens away from Butler University.

Wearing a green tie and white shirt under a dark suit, Stevens said he was “in awe” of sitting under the Celtics banners that he is now charged with adding to.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity,” he said.

Ainge said Stevens was his “first choice” to be Celtics coach and said he’s confident Stevens can smoothly make the shift from the NCAA to the NBA.

“Yes there will be transition from college game to the NBA, but we will give him the support he needs,” Ainge said.

Stevens will lead the Celtics into a new era that will likely look much different from the final years of his predecessor, Doc Rivers.

The Celtics, having traded icons Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, are entering a rebuilding phase that will test Stevens’ ability as a basketball teacher.

Stevens arrives with a impressive record built over six seasons as head coach at Butler, where he led a small-conference school to consecutive Final Four berths in 2010 and 2011. His stature grew when his Butler teams lost two straight NCAA title games to powerhouse schools Duke and Connecticut in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

And Stevens, who cultivated Butler from a middle-of-the-pack program to the forefront of the NCAA (and oversaw its leap up as a member of the Atlantic-10 conference last year), may face a similar challenge with the Celtics.

The team is armed with nine first-round picks over the next five years after the recent departures of Rivers, Pierce, and Garnett. Stevens, who has a six-year contract worth about $22 million, will be charged with developing that influx of talent—as well as with getting incumbent building blocks like All-Star guard Rajon Rondo to buy into his program.

One of his first challenges may be developing rapport with Rondo, who as an established star may be skeptical about buying into the vision of a 36-year-old coach of a rebuilding team.

But a source close to Rondo who has talked with the guard since the Stevens hiring told the Globe that Rondo is looking at the move with a “completely open mind.”

Another challenge for Stevens will be overcoming the negative performance history that NCAA coaches have had converting to the NBA. The list of prominent coaches who’ve tried to make the transition is long (John Calipari, Tim Floyd, Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino), and the Celtics experienced some of that failure first-hand during Pitino’s four-year run in Boston. Pitino went 102-146 in parts of four seasons with the Celtics from 1997-2001.

But the Celtics, since they are entering a rebuilding phase, have the luxury of being able to take a chance on a coach like Stevens if they believe his style will translate to the NBA.

An NBA source said Stevens’ personality may make him a good candidate to succeed where previous NCAA coaches failed in the pros.

“He’s the anti-[John] Calipari, the anti-[Rick] Pitino. Those guys, they think it’s about them,” the source said. “He’s going to learn that it’s about the players and that’s going to help.

“Everything is a risk, but this is a good risk.”

Gary Washburn and Baxter Holmes from the Globe staff contributed.

Where to watch Brad Stevens introduction as Celtics coach

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 5, 2013 10:45 AM

CSNNE.com will be live streaming the Brad Stevens introduction today.

Source close to Rondo says PG looks at Stevens hire with "completely open mind"

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff July 4, 2013 07:56 PM

The first question circulating about Brad Stevens as new Celtics coach is whether he can bring his NCAA style, which was wildly successful at mid-major Butler, would adapt to the NBA style.

The second question is whether the 36-year-old neophyte NBA coach could would be able to form a positive relationship with Rajon Rondo, the Celtics' mercurial point guard and leftover from the team's major restructuring plan.

Well a source close to Rondo who has talked with the guard since the Stevens hiring said Rondo is looking at the move with a "completely open mind."

Rondo makes his offseason home in Louisville, Ky., and it's uncertain when or if Stevens will meet or speak with Rondo before training camp. Stevens is scheduled to be introduced Friday morning at a press conference in Waltham and most certainly will field his share of Rondo questions.

"They both have a lot to prove," the source said of Stevens and Rondo. "Might as well do it together."

Rondo, who has two more years left on his contract, is coming off a torn right anterior cruciate ligament and is expected to be ready for training camp. Stevens signed a six-year, $22 million deal as coach.

A quick look at the Celtics' Summer League roster

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 4, 2013 02:15 PM

The Celtics' Summer League team was scheduled to begin practicing Thursday in Orlando. It begins Summer League play there July 7, when the Celtics will face the Magic at 11 a.m. The Celtics' Summer League team will be coached by Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga.

League sources confirmed to the Globe that the Celtics' Summer League roster has been finalized, and, according to those sources, here are the 13 names on it:

F Tim Abromaitis: A 6-foot-8, 236-pound former Notre Dame forward who played three seasons for the Fighting Irish, lastly in 2011-12, when he averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds in just two games before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Unionville, Conn., native was denied a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. He finished his college career averaging 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

G/F Courtney Fells: A 6-foot-6, 210-pound former North Carolina State swingman who has played professionally overseas in the Dominican Republic, Cyprus and, most recently, Israel, where he averaged 11.1 points in 34 games last season.

G Jayson Granger: A 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard from Uruguay who played professionally in Spain last season, averaging 12.6 points in 24 games.

F Lawrence Hill: A 6-foot-8, 235-pound former Stanford forward who has bounced around the NBDL and played professionally in Israel last season, where he averaged 12.8 points per game in 27 games. He has also played for the Maine Red Claws and participated with the Sacramento Kings during their 2011 training camp.

C/F Eli Holman: A 6-foot-10, 255-pound former center/forward for the Detroit Titans of the Horizon League. He played three seasons for the Titans, averaging 10.8 points and 7.0 rebounds during his last season, in 2011-12. Was removed from all team-related activities for an indefinite period following an incident in which he allegedly assaulted a student at Detroit.

C Colton Iverson: A 7-foot, 255-pound center whom the Celtics acquired in the NBA draft. Iverson was selected by Indiana in the second round with the No. 53 overall pick, and the Celtics traded for him, giving the Pacers cash in exchange. He averaged 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds last season at Colorado State. He sat out 2011-12 after leaving the University of Minnesota after three seasons.

G Darius Johnson-Odom: A 6-foot-2, 215-pound guard from Marquette who was drafted in the second round (55th overall) by Dallas in 2012. The Los Angeles Lakers acquired him in a draft-day trade with Dallas, and he played four games with them last season before the Lakers waived him in January. He also played in 13 games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, an NBDL team, and averaged a team-high 20.6 points.

C Fab Melo: A 7-foot, 255-pound center entering his second season with the Celtics. A first-round draft pick out of Syracuse in 2012. Appeared in six games with the Celtics last season, averaging 1.2 points in limited minutes.

F Tony Mitchell: A 6-foot-6, 216-pound former Alabama standout who played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA's Development League last season, earning NBDL Rookie of the Year honors after averaging a team-high 21.9 points as well as 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 35.3 minutes in 48 regular-season games.

C/F Kelly Olynyk: A 7-foot, 234-pound center/power forward out of Gonzaga whom the Celtics acquired in the 2013 NBA draft. The Celtics traded up three spots, from No. 16 to No. 13, to select him in the first round. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 32 games last season as a junior, earning West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors.

G Phill Pressey: A 5-foot-11, 176-pound point guard who left Missouri as a junior after averaging 11.9 points and a league-best 7.1 assists per game. He was under consideration for the Bob Cousy Award as the best collegiate point guard in the country as a sophomore when he averaged 10.1 points and 6.4 assists on a team that went 30-5. His father, Paul, a former NBA player himself, was an assistant coach for the Celtics on Doc River's staff. During that time, Pressey played one year at Waltham High.

G/F Omar Reed: A 6-foot-6, 210-pound swingman who played for the NBDL's Maine Red Claws last season, averaging 5.4 points in 44 games. He played at Bluefield College in Virginia, a small, Christian liberal arts school in Tazewell County.

G Nolan Smith: A 6-foot-2, 185-pound shooting guard out of Duke who was drafted in the first round (21st overall) by the Portland Trailblazers in 2011. He averaged 3.3 points in 9.9 minutes per game with the Trailblazers the last two seasons. He is an unrestricted free agent. He won a national title with the Blue Devils in 2010.

5 truths about the Brad Stevens hire

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2013 11:23 PM

The Celtics hired former Butler coach Brad Stevens to be their head coach Wednesday, eschewing an experienced NBA hire for one without professional experience but with NCAA success and tremendous promise. The Stevens hire was shocking, the stealth of the move particularly surprising given the public nature of the Doc Rivers negotiations.

Celtics fans haven't had much time to dissect Stevens. Here are five things we know about his hiring:

-- He's a whiz kid

You'll see this number thrown around a lot in the coming days, so let's get it out of the way. In six seasons at Butler (located in Indianapolis), Stevens was 166-49, the most wins for any Division I coach in the first six years of his career. Stevens's teams never struggled when he was a head coach, which is why UCLA came calling this offseason.

During Stevens's tenure, Butler started in the Horizon League, moving to the Atlantic 10 in 2012-2013. That means many of those wins were against the likes of Cleveland State, Detroit, and Green Bay Phoenix. Butler made it to the final game of the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011 but did not win a national championship.

-- He's unproven

Despite his impressive college resume, Stevens could not be more unproven at the NBA level. He's never coached there. To put that into perspective, Stevens is the first Celtics coach hired from college with no NBA experience since Doggie Julian was hired from Holy Cross in 1948. Julian went 47-81. The Celtics are starting with a clean slate.

-- He's already popular

In an unscientific poll of Boston.com readers, more than 80 percent had voted in support of the Stevens hire late Wednesday night. The natural tendency for fans in general is to support the unknown. Think of Stevens as a Red Sox prospect. Fans are more likely to be excited about Jackie Bradley Jr., whom they've heard could turn into a stud, than Shane Victorino, who is a proven commodity with less upside. This Celtics writer gets more questions about Fab Melo than almost any other player, but Shavlik Randolph is the more effective NBA center now and is likely to be for the foreseeable future.


-- He's a numbers guy

Search "Brad Stevens metrics" and you'll turn up a slew of articles about the coach's use of advanced statistics. At Butler Stevens hired Drew Cannon, formerly of Basketball Prospectus, to help his team better utilize advanced stats. Lineup analysis is one of Cannon's strengths, according to a story by SI's Pete Thamel.

Another thing Stevens is very good at is in-game management. My friend Nicole Auerbach, who covers college basketball for USA Today, says Stevens is one of the best in the game at this. Watch the play-calling below as Butler upset Indiana this past season despite Butler's top players fouling out late in regulation. Rivers was known to draw up a few late-game plays himself, so this seems like a good fit.

-- He's not a band aid

The Herald's Steve Bulpett is reporting that Stevens's deal is for six years. That's one more year than Doc got, which may or may not be significant. What it does mean, is that Stevens is not a temporary patch. He didn't get a two-or-three-year deal to correspond roughly with the period the Celtics are expected to be in transition. The length of the contract makes sense, because there had to be an incentive for Stevens to leave Butler. It makes sense because Stevens may lack experience, but he's got more promise than just about any young coach out there. The Celtics may view Stevens as the choice for now, but they may also keep him around a few years down the road.

Survey: Do you like the Brad Stevens hire for the Celtics?

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2013 07:15 PM

The Celtics hired Brad Stevens Wednesday to be the franchise’s 17th head coach. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Stevens, 36, has been the coach at Butler University for the past six seasons, leading the Bulldogs to two NCAA Tournament championship game appearances, in 2010 and 2011.

Do you like the move? Vote below.


'Tanking' vs. 'building' a game of semantics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 2, 2013 11:15 AM

bradleyharden.jpg

If you can put a little emotional distance between yourself and the events of last week, the nuts and bolts of the situation with the Boston Celtics boils down to a few key points:

  • Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Terrence Williams are gone (or will be after July 12)
  • Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, and three first-round picks are coming to the Celtics
  • Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson are the team's draft picks
  • The Celtics are without a coach
  • Rajon Rondo is recovering from knee surgery
  • Up against the salary cap, it's very unlikely a major free agent is walking through that door
So what happens now? The two paths being shouted most loudly have the Celtics either tanking for a high draft pick or making trades and signing players to fit in around Rondo. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge tried to discredit the first school of thought Monday.

"We are not tanking," Ainge told the Globe. "That's ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics."

Considering Ainge said in May that Rivers would definitely be returning as his coach, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt. Just because Ainge said he won't tank the team doesn't mean it's true. But it also doesn't mean the Celtics are building around Rondo. In the offseason of transition, the most likely -- and perhaps wholly unsatisfying -- truth is that the Celtics are doing something in between.

A lot of it is semantics. In a technical sense, there's reason to believe Ainge when he says he's not tanking. The NBA does not reward that strategy in its strictest definition because the team with the worst record is not guaranteed the top pick. The team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance at No. 1. From there through the fifth pick, teams have a 19.9 percent, 15.6 percent, 11.9 percent, and 8.8 percent chance, respectively. You're much more likely not to get the top pick than to get it if you finish last, and you've got a real shot at it if you're fourth or fifth. It all depends on where the ping pong balls fall.

This is relevant to the Celtics because in the larger discussion about whether they should "tank or compete", it's easy to miss the fact that they're already doing both. Though it's a prudent long-term move, the Celtics will be worse in the short term without Pierce and Garnett. Is that "tanking"? Sort of. The Celtics didn't get equal talent in return for their Hall of Famers, at least not yet. They intentionally made themselves worse for now in the hope of getting better later.

aingeslogans.jpgDespite the deal, the Celtics have a decent collection of talent (Ainge would call them assets). Jeff Green has started to come into his own, and Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger have their best basketball ahead of them. If they stick on the roster, Humphries, Wallace, and Brooks join Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee as solid NBA players. Rondo is a perennial All-Star. As long as he's around the Celtics won't be as bad as some of you may hope.

So what's the strategy? This is just one opinion, but the guess here is Ainge believes the Celtics can improve without bottoming out. From a business perspective, that makes sense because the team can justify selling tickets at the same prices if fans can watch Rondo, Bradley, and whoever else battle for a playoff spot. From a basketball perspective, it's a calculated gamble.

The gamble is that Ainge and his staff can better identify talent in upcoming drafts than others can. To an extent it's worked so far. Rondo (21st), Sullinger (21st), and Bradley (19th) were selected with late picks. Pierce (not Ainge's pick) fell to 10th in the 1998 draft. The Celtics have had plenty of misses (J.R. Giddens, JaJuan Johnson, and it's looking like Fab Melo), but with a stockpile of draft picks Ainge has to believe he can add talent.

There's a precedent here that shows that you don't have to hit on the next LeBron James or Dwight Howard to draft talent. In 2011, the Spurs drafted Kawhi Leonard with the No. 15 pick. Nikola Vucevic, second in the league in rebounding last season, went the pick after him. Jrue Holiday went No. 17 to the Sixers in 2009.

Of course the Celtics could still actually be a lottery team, and in the lottery the best player isn't always taken with the No. 1 pick. James Harden was the No. 3 pick in 2009. Stephen Curry was 7th. Paul George was 10th in 2010. LaMarcus Aldridge was drafted second overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2006, then traded to Portland for their pick at No. 4, Tyrus Thomas.

That last trade, and the amount of trading in the first round this season, speaks to the uncertainty of the whole thing. You can target Andrew Wiggins with the No.1 pick next season, but are you certain he'll save your franchise? Are you certain teams won't regret passing on Nerlens Noel this season? Greg Oden, Andrea Bargnani, Kwame Brown, and Michael Olowokandi are notable No. 1 picks in the last 15 years who haven't worked out.

There's risk with every pick, which is why Ainge's strategy looks like a good one. You're not going to nail every pick, so acquiring more top selections gives you better odds. Maybe three of those picks turn into a Harden, a George, and a Curry, and then you've really got something. Rondo is already a proven commodity, so don't expect the team to part ways with him unless the return is substantial. There's less risk in keeping Rondo than there is trading him and expecting to draft another All-Star point guard.

None of this is going to be easy. The truth is, the Celtics are closer to being bad right now than being good. I don't envy the Celtics' marketing department (New team slogan: "I am a Celtic .. unless Danny can get a first-rounder in exchange.") Maybe a better slogan would be, "Welcome to the transition."

Danny Ainge says Celtics won't be 'tanking' in 2013-14

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 1, 2013 05:11 PM

The upcoming Celtics season hasn't yet begun, and already it's drawing comparisons to 1996-97, when the Celtics won 15 games, the second-worst record in the league behind the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Boston was believed to be "tanking" that season to land an ideal position in the 1997 draft.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was adamantly against the idea that the Celtics would tank next season in an effort to land one of the top spots in a draft that he had previously called "top-heavy," with the most-coveted player being Andrew Wiggins.

"We are not tanking," Ainge told the Globe. "That's ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics."

There's logic behind the theory about 1996-97, though. After all, a Wake Forest forward named Tim Duncan was available in that 1997 draft, and he has only turned out to be arguably the greatest power forward of all time during his long tenure with the San Antonio Spurs.

M.L. Carr was the coach and general manager of those '96-'97 Celtics, and he takes particular offense to the idea that they were tanking that season.

"We weren't 'tanking,'" he said Monday in an interview with the Globe. "That's the wrong terminology. We were 'experimenting.'"

Read into that what you will.

But, allegedly, the order came from on high – from Celtics' owner Paul Gaston, specifically – to play hard without succeeding (i.e., "tanking").

And Carr, who was paid $1 million to coach the team, was the man who had to oversee it.

"I can't tell you how many times people come up to me and say, "Hey, man. Thanks for taking one for the team,'" Carr recalled.

"It was more brutal than I expected."

There was no payoff, either. The pingpong balls bounced the other way and the Spurs landed the top pick in the 1997 draft and, thus, Duncan.

Carr, for one, said he truly believes that Ainge will lead the team back to success.

"He knows how to get to the top," Carr said. "I have all the faith in the world that he'll get it done. If anyone is capable of doing it, it's Danny. I say that without any reservation."

Carr added, "I tell you what everyone needs to do is take a deep breath, step back, watch Danny and let him do his thing."

Celtics introduce draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff July 1, 2013 04:30 PM

609olynyk.jpg

Colton Iverson (left) and Kelly Olynyk will both play in the NBA summer league for the Celtics in Orlando, Fla. (AP photo)

The Celtics were a team lacking in the department of big men, with just one center under contract for next season (Fab Melo) before the NBA draft.

But Boston used this year's draft to try and shore up its size issues by acquiring 7-footers in Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga and Colton Iverson from Colorado State.

But Olynyk and Iverson, who were introduced at a press conference in Boston Monday, are joining a Celtics' team in flux, one that is currently without a head coach and one that will also be without a pair of icons, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

"Whatever happens, happens," said Olynyk, whom the Celtics traded up three spots, from No. 16 to No. 13, to acquire in the first round. "I’m just trying to come in and work hard and help this team in whatever way I can."

Iverson, whom the Celtics acquired through a trade after he was selected by Indiana in the second round with the No. 53 overall pick, shared similar remarks about the situation, which won't be official until July 12 when Kris Joseph, one of the Brooklyn Nets players who will be coming to Boston in the blockbuster deal, is eligible to be traded.

No matter. Even with the Celtics' future uncertain, they at least know they have more size.

Olynyk, a 7-foot, 234-pound junior, averaged 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals over 26.5 minutes in 31 games for the Bulldogs last season.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he believes Olynyk, who will wear No. 41, will play more power forward than center in the NBA.

"We think he can be a 260-pound, 7-foot guy and be a great, well-conditioned player that can play some center as well, especially as small as the league has gotten, Ainge said, "and to have a guy that can play the (power forward) and (center) and step outside and shoot the 3-ball and make passes from the perimeter and a great complimentary player.

"I don’t see Kelly as a go-to guy in the NBA, but a guy that compliments the rest of the guys on the team and makes them all better."

Iverson, who will wear No. 37, is a 7-foot, 255-pound center who transferred to play at Colorado State last season.

He sat out 2011-12 after leaving the University of Minnesota after three seasons. Iverson, who is 24, averaged 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds last season.

"Colton is a kid that we’ve watched since his freshman year of college at the university of Minnesota," Ainge said. "We’ve loved his intensity since day 1 and identified him as someone we needed to keep a real close eye on."

Both players will be headed with the Celtics to Orlando for Summer League, which begins July 7.

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