Tag: Boston Celtics

Amir Johnson

Amir Johnson struggled to pick Boston’ number because “every number 1-34 is basically retired”


Celtics fans are going to love Amir Johnson. (Toronto fans and teammates are going to miss him.) He is the definition of a hard-working, blue-collar NBA player who does all the dirty work and does it well. He could have fit in with the Celtics of any era.

But one part of his transition to Boston was difficult — picking a uniform number. Jimmy Toscano at CSNNE.com has Johnson’s quote about his new number in green.

“Number 90. Every number 1-34 is basically retired,” Johnson said. “My first initial number, I picked No. 5, but I know there was going to kind of be some controversy with that because Kevin Garnett won a championship. So I knew that was pretty much out the [window]. My number of course was retired (15, Tommy Heinsohn). And I recently posted a picture on my social network . . . it was a team back in the 90’s, like ’97, ’96, I played for my first organized basketball team which was the Burbank Celtics. It was a Celtics team. So I just kind of put that together. The 90’s were good. I was born in ’87 but the 90’s were good.”

The 90s were good if you can ignore Creed, Fred Durst and the rat-tail hairstyle.

Here are those Burbank Celtics:

#Tbt celtics squad #90s 🍀

A photo posted by @iamamirjohnson on

And his player card from that team:

#tbt been a Celtic #90s 🍀

A photo posted by @iamamirjohnson on

Report: Michael Jordan shot down Boston draft-day effort to get Charlotte No. 9 pick

Michael Jordan

It’s a common practice in the NFL draft: Teams trade down to get multiple picks. The move is almost always seen as smart. For the NFL’s annual war of attrition, having the extra bodies makes a lot of sense.

You don’t see it much in the NBA for a reason — you only have a 15-man roster and only nine of them likely play on a given night. Talent wins out, and the talent drop off going down even five or six picks can be steep. If you can get a potential star with your draft pick, you take it, he will matter far more than two guys who may be guys nine and 12 on the bench. However, there are times trading down makes sense in the NBA, if you don’t think you’re getting that star.

That was the situation facing the Hornets in this past draft. They had the No. 9 pick, and Boston wanted it (for Justise Winslow, reportedly, who fell to Miami at No. 10). Boston came knocking on Charlotte’s door with a bevy of picks, and there was a split in Charlotte about whether this was a good idea, reports Zach Lowe at Grantland. For the first time, we know what was offered, and it’s pretty impressive.

Michael Jordan was the ultimate decision maker.

The Celtics offered four first-round picks for the chance to move up from no. 16 to no. 9: that 16th pick, no. 15 (acquired in a prearranged contingency deal with the Hawks), one unprotected future Brooklyn pick, and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or Timberwolves, per sources familiar with the talks.

Some members of Charlotte’s front office liked the Boston deal, but Michael Jordan, the team’s owner and ultimate decision-maker, preferred Kaminsky to a pile of first-rounders outside the lottery, per several sources.

source: Getty ImagesThe bet Jordan made was that Kaminsky is a star. Except nobody projects him that way. He’s a quality big who can pick-and-pop and be part of the rotations, sure. He’s a solid pick. But is he better than four first round picks for a Charlotte team that needs way more talent on the roster?

This feels like something that has happened in Charlotte before: Jordan watches a lot of the NCAA tournament, falls in love with a player who performs well (Kaminsky) and hijacks the draft process. The Hornets will deny this, but it’s how it looks from the outside.

At the No. 15 and 16 picks in this draft, Kelly Oubre and Terry Rozier were taken, although guys such as Jerian Grant, Bobby Portis, and Sam Dekker were still on the board. Kaminsky is more valuable than one of them, but will he ultimately produce more than two of those guys? Plus two future picks? Not likely. Charlotte is stuck in the rut of mediocrity in the East, picking Kaminsky doesn’t move them out of this lane. Do those four picks? Maybe not, but it’s a path, a chance.

Charlotte’s decision makers defended their choice.

“You have two minutes to decide: ‘Do I want to do this trade?’” says (Curtis) Polk, one of five men atop Charlotte’s decision tree. “You don’t have a day. You don’t have hours. After all the intelligence we’d done, we were comfortable with Frank. But now you have two minutes to decide if you make this trade, who you’re gonna take at no. 16, or maybe no. 20, and we haven’t been focusing on that range. In fantasy basketball, it sounds great: ‘Oh my god, they could have gotten all those picks.’ But in the real world, I’m not sure it makes us better.”

Adds Rich Cho, the team’s GM: “If it was such a no-brainer for us, why would another team want to do it?”

Because Boston saw Winslow as a star, and at a position they need help.

On draft night when this came up and the rumors flew around that four picks were being offered, I said it’s tough to say what to do because we didn’t know what the picks were, how far out and how protected. Now that we do… if I were in the Charlotte decision tree I would have pushed to make the deal.

Now we all wait three years and then can look back to see who might have been right. It would have been a difficult decision in the moment, but I’m not sure Charlotte made the right call.

Report: Heat will pay Zoran Dragic’s full salary, Celtics will waive him

Philadelphia 76ers V Miami Heat

The Celtics were at the right place at the right time, getting the Heat’s 2020 second-round pick in exchange for taking Zoran Dragic and his $1,706,250 salary.

Turns out, the trade was even better for Boston than it appeared.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

Essentially, the Celtics got a 2020 second-rounder for nothing. They don’t even have to pay Dragic.

There’s even a very slight chance a team claims Dragic on waivers, and Boston could use its cash from Miami as pure profit.

Dragic would have cost the Heat more than his full salary in luxury-tax payments. So, it’s worth it for them to pay a team – in money and a draft pick – to take Dragic offer their hands.

Why did the Celtics still have that cap space?

They hadn’t yet officially completed the David Lee-Gerald Wallace trade. Order of transactions matters. If they had made the Golden State trade already, the Celtics wouldn’t have had space for Dragic. The Warriors, who stand to save a lot of money, didn’t mind waiting.

But with Boston’s cap space used, that trade is now official.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have acquired forward/center David Lee from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for forward Gerald Wallace and guard/forward Chris Babb.

Babb’s contract is unguaranteed. I expect the Warriors to release him, though the Celtics could have just done that themselves. Maybe Golden State will bring him to training camp.

Trail Blazers sign Cliff Alexander, Phil Pressey to contracts

Brooklyn Nets v Orlando Magic-White

Kansas big man Cliff Alexander was one of the best players not drafted back on June 25. He was considered a bubble first round guy who just plummeted off the board. He has a big, NBA-ready body as a center with fantastic athleticism. What he lacked was much of an offensive touch — he has a straight-line game that relies on his athleticism to get things done. He was a project.

The Nets gave him a chance in Summer League and he looked athletic and raw. In 22 minutes a game he averaged 8.3 points, but on 37.7 percent shooting, plus he grabbed 7.8 boards a game.

That was enough for Portland to sign him — and point guard Phil Pressey – to contracts, the team announced.

Pressey’s contract is guaranteed for one year. Alexander’s is a make-good deal — there is some buyout cash but he needs to make the roster to really get paid.

While the Trail Blazers have a couple potential roster spots available, it’s going to be hard for Alexander to earn one. They will start Mason Plumlee at the five with veteran Chris Kaman behind him, plus Meyers Leonard can play the four or five depending on the lineup.

The more likely scenario is Alexander heads to the D-League to work on his game, and if he can add some offensive versatility he will get a call-up next season. He’s got the tools; it’s just a matter of learning how to use them.


Harrison Barnes says he hopes to stay with Warriors long term

Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors could sign Harrison Barnes to an extension of his rookie contract anytime between now and Halloween.

Will they is another question. Maybe the better question is can they agree on a price? The Warriors already have five guys on the books making more than $11 million in the 2016-17 season (when Barnes’ extension would kick in) — Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry. Barnes started all 103 regular season and playoff games the Warriors had in their championship run, and during the season he averaged 10.1 points a night shooting 40 percent from three, plus pulling down 5.5 boards a game. His versatility fits perfectly with what they do. How much is that worth?

Know this, Barnes wants to stay in Golden State. Here is what he told Diamond Leung of the Bay Area Media Group:

“I mean, we just won a championship,” Barnes said. “Of course I’d love to keep this group together for many years to come, you know what I’m saying? So that’s obvious….

“(Warriors co-owner) Joe Lacob has been obviously very vocal about keeping the team together, so therefore I’m not really too concerned about how it’s going to shake out.”

You have to be impressed with how GM Bob Myers and the Warriors front office put this roster together, not just on the court but financially. Every time someone is due to get paid, a big salary comes off the books. In Barnes case, it will be Gerald Wallace (who is supposed to be coming West in the David Lee trade expected to be finalized Monday). Beyond that, when Curry’s deal ends and they look to max him out, both Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala’s salaries come off the books. They may be able to retain Bogut and/or Iguodala, but likely at more reasonable prices.

What this means is the Warriors have the money to potentially give Barnes, but what is he worth? Green just got five-years, $82 million ($16.4 million average) while Klay Thompson got four-years, $69 million last summer ($17.25 average). Barnes should make less than those guys, but in the eight-figure range? Probably.

Another question is, will Barnes take much less? If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, Barnes becomes a restricted free agent next summer when more than two-thirds of the league will have somewhere close to max money to offer (thanks to the television deal revenue flooding in). It’s a situation ripe to see Barnes get a big deal the Warriors may not want to match.

Barnes wants to stay a Warrior, and the Warriors want to keep Barnes. But that may not be enough to get a deal done. Just something to watch.