Tag: Jared Sullinger

Kevin Love

Report: Celtics to sell Kevin Love on teaming with Robin Lopez and Paul Pierce


Now that Kevin Love is opting out of his contract, the free agency courting process begins. The Cavs are still the frontrunner to re-sign him — the ability to play with LeBron James and compete for a title every year is probably too much to pass up. But plenty of other teams will make their pitches, not least of all the Celtics, who have been linked to Love for some time. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has some interesting new details on the pitch the Celtics are planning to make to Love, which involves the potential return of Paul Pierce to Boston.

There’s a lot going on here. Putting aside the idea of Pierce returning to Boston, which is its own discussion, it’s still difficult to see how this scenario the Celtics are pitching is more appealing than the situation Love already has in Cleveland. Robin Lopez, if he were to sign in Boston, is pretty much the ideal big man to pair with Love, a rim-protecting rebounding machine who doesn’t need the ball and can cover up a lot of Love’s defensive deficiencies. But you know who else is an ideal rim protector and offensive cleanup man to pair with Love? Timofey Mozgov.

Phoenix is more of a long-shot, but he’d be a good fit there, too. They took a step back last year after the loss of Channing Frye, and Love can give them a better version of that same skill set.

What Love does in free agency will come down to how much he values being the No. 1 option on a team versus playing on a contender. If winning is the most important objective, you don’t walk away from playing with the best player in the world, especially in a weak Eastern Conference where you’re more or less guaranteed to make the Eastern Conference Finals at a minimum every year — and probably the Finals. But the Cavs will never be Love’s team, and if he wants that, the Celtics would be a better option. The Celtics have plenty of assets and cap space to chase other players to put around him, as well as a nice young core with Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger. And if playing with Kelly Olynyk is a problem, Olynyk won’t be difficult to move. It’s not unthinkable that this happens.

Still, the Cavs should be considered the frontrunner to keep Love unless something crazy happens.

Matthew Dellavedova is the most improbable leading scorer of these playoffs

Matthew Dellavedova, Derrick Rose

LeBron James – at a level rivaled in the last decade by only the pre-Heat version of himself – has carried the Cavaliers throughout these playoffs.

Cleveland seemingly needed him more than ever in Game 6 against the Bulls on Thursday. Not only was Kevin Love obviously still out, Kyrie Irving left the game with a knee injury.

But LeBron was just 2-for-9 and hadn’t made a 3-pointer or gotten to the free-throw line midway through the second quarter. Cleveland trailed by one.

Enter Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova – an undrafted second-year player best known for leg-locking Taj Gibson – led Cleveland with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers, in the 94-73 series-clinching win.

How improbable was it that Dellavedova would lead a team in scoring during an NBA playoff game?

He averaged just 4.8 points per game during the regular season, and even with this outburst, he’s still averaging just 6.0 points per game in the playoffs.

None of the other 134 players, counting ties, to lead a team in scoring this postseason (gold) scored fewer points per game in the regular season than Dellavedova (wine):


Or in the playoffs:


Player Games as team’s leading scorer Points per game (regular season) Points per game (playoffs)
James Harden (HOU) 9 27.4 26.3
Stephen Curry (GSW) 7 23.8 27.8
LeBron James (CLE) 7 25.3 26.5
Blake Griffin (LAC) 7 21.9 25.4
Jimmy Butler (CHI) 6 20.0 22.9
Bradley Beal (WAS) 6 15.3 22.8
Marc Gasol (MEM) 6 17.4 19.6
DeMarre Carroll (ATL) 5 12.6 16.4
Anthony Davis (NOP) 4 24.4 31.5
Monta Ellis (DAL) 4 18.9 26.0
Chris Paul (LAC) 4 19.1 21.7
Derrick Rose (CHI) 4 17.7 20.3
Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 3 16.5 20.3
Brook Lopez (BRK) 3 17.2 19.8
Tim Duncan (SAS) 3 13.9 17.9
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 3 16.4 17.5
Jeff Teague (ATL) 3 15.9 14.8
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) 2 23.4 21.8
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 2 17.3 21.2
Klay Thompson (GSW) 2 21.7 20.8
DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 2 20.1 20.3
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 2 21.7 19.8
Dwight Howard (HOU) 2 15.8 17.3
Khris Middleton (MIL) 2 13.4 15.8
Paul Millsap (ATL) 2 16.7 15.3
Mike Conley (MEM) 2 15.8 14.9
Damian Lillard (POR) 1 21.0 21.6
C.J. McCollum (POR) 1 6.8 17.0
Joe Johnson (BRK) 1 14.4 16.5
Al Horford (ATL) 1 15.2 15.8
Paul Pierce (WAS) 1 11.9 15.8
Zach Randolph (MEM) 1 16.1 15.7
J.J. Redick (LAC) 1 16.4 15.2
Pau Gasol (CHI) 1 18.5 14.4
Nicolas Batum (POR) 1 9.4 14.2
Marcin Gortat (WAS) 1 12.2 13.6
Courtney Lee (MEM) 1 10.1 13.4
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 1 11.5 12.8
Lou Williams (TOR) 1 15.5 12.8
Jarrett Jack (BRK) 1 12.0 12.3
Kyle Lowry (TOR) 1 17.8 12.3
Jared Sullinger (BOS) 1 13.3 12.3
Michael Carter-Williams (MIL) 1 14.6 12.2
Kyle Korver (ATL) 1 12.1 12.1
Deron Williams (BRK) 1 13.0 11.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 1 12.7 11.5
Amir Johnson (TOR) 1 9.3 11.5
Alan Anderson (BRK) 1 7.4 11.0
Mike Dunleavy (CHI) 1 9.4 10.9
Evan Turner (BOS) 1 9.5 10.5
Otto Porter (WAS) 1 6.0 10.3
Dennis Schroder (ATL) 1 10.0 10.2
Marco Belinelli (SAS) 1 9.2 9.3
O.J. Mayo (MIL) 1 11.4 9.0
Nene (WAS) 1 11.0 8.2
Ramon Sessions (WAS) 1 6.3 8.1
Beno Udrih (MEM) 1 7.7 8.0
Zaza Pachulia (MIL) 1 8.3 6.7
Matthew Dellavedova (CLE) 1 4.8 6.0

LeBron finished Game 6 with just 15 points on 7-of-23 shooting. He’d been 0-9 in the playoffs when scoring so little.

Of course, none of those previous nine games came with Dellavedova at his side.

Jared Sullinger recovers from "season-ending" injury, available for Celtics tonight

Jared Sullinger, Gerald Wallace

In February, the Celtics ruled out Jared Sullinger for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Today, they ruled him back in.

Celtics release (via CSN Northeast):

The Boston Celtics announced today that Jared Sullinger’s metatarsal stress fracture has healed completely and that he will be available for this evening’s game at TD Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“We are excited that Jared’s recovery progressed quicker than initially expected,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “Jared was extremely diligent in his rehab, repeatedly expressing his eagerness to help our team reach the postseason. He will be available in a limited role this weekend as he works his way back to 100 percent game shape.”

This is a major development for the Celtics, who are tied with the Heat for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. (Miami holds the tiebreaker.)

Sullinger, punctuality issues aside, had been starting for Boston. He can score inside and out, and he hits the glass hard. There are defensive issues, but at his best, he competes hard on that end.

Sullinger went down before the trade deadline, when the Celtics acquired Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome. Using those players to spread the floor, Boston has gone 14-10 since, the East’s fourth-best record in that span.

So, Sullinger will have to acclimate to his new teammates, but he’ll fit the style. And he makes the Celtics more dangerous.

Report: Celtics’ top free-agent target is Kevin Love, Greg Monroe No. 2

Kevin Love, Greg Monroe

Remember when Kevin Love showed up in Boston last summer?

It certainly didn’t seem coincidental that Love – then still with the Timberwolves – was in a city with a team interested in trading for him. Maybe he was just using the Celtics to show his desire to leave Minnesota, but I suspect he had at least some interest in landing in Boston.

Of course, the Timberwolves traded Love to the Cavaliers.

But could Love join the Celtics this summer?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

The Celtics have a ton of cash and are geared up to use it. Target number one is Kevin Love. Target number two is Greg Monroe.

Sources close to the process say the Celtics plan to swing for the proverbial fences this summer including runs at Gasol, Leonard and Butler too.

It’s most likely Love sticks with the Cavaliers – despite their apparent attempts to sabotage themselves in that regard. But it absolutely makes sense for Love to opt out. And once he opts out, that opens the door for other teams to make pitches.

Maybe the Celtics could sell Love on their up-and-coming roster and stockpile of future first-round picks to eventually provide reinforcements.

They’ll likely have much better luck with Monroe, whose agent says the money will be the same everywhere. Monroe had one foot out the door when he accepted the Pistons’ qualifying offer, and he’d fit well next to the Celtics’ young stretch fours, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.

At least Love and Monroe will be unrestricted free agents. It’s very difficult to see restricted free agents Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard escaping the Bulls and Spurs, respectively. Why not try, though? Same with unrestricted free agent Marc Gasol, who will probably stay with the Grizzlies but will also draw a ton of interest elsewhere.

Jared Sullinger out for the rest of the season with stress fracture in left foot

Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger

As the Celtics try to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race, they will unfortunately be without starting power forward Jared Sullinger for the rest of the season, according to a press release from the team:

The Boston Celtics announced today that, following further medical evaluation at the New England Baptist Hospital, it was determined that forward Jared Sullinger has sustained a left metatarsal stress fracture and will be out for the remainder of the 2014-15 regular season.

This is a brutal piece of news for the Celtics, who are just one game back in the loss column from the eighth seed. Sullinger was having a nice season, averaging a career-high 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and making strides as a scorer.

The Celtics’ goals this season were never fully clear. Danny Ainge’s asset-based approach to roster construction would suggest they’ve been tanking, but Brad Stevens has been keeping them competitive in games and Ainge just traded for Isaiah Thomas. At 20-32, they’re closer to the playoffs than they are to the bottom of the standings and any real shot at a top-five draft pick. With how bad the Eastern Conference is, they might still make the playoffs. But the loss of Sullinger makes it that much harder, and they may unfortunately be trapped in no-man’s land, which is exactly what Ainge and the rest of Boston’s front office has worked to avoid.