James Young

Paul Pierce wore Nets shorts to final Celtics signing

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Paul Pierce signed with the Celtics to retire, a nice moment.

He made it much more fun.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

He showed up at his old haunt, the Boston Celtics practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, wearing a throwback Inglewood T-shirt and a pair of Brooklyn Nets basketball shorts.

“Hey Danny, see this?” said Paul Pierce, tugging at the silver and black of the Nets. “This is where you sent me!”

When the Celtics retire Pierce’s number, I hope Danny Ainge points out Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to Pierce. Heck, I hope Ainge brings back James Young for the ceremony.

Celtics will need to shake up roster to clear space for Gordon Hayward

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Gordon Hayward finally, mercifully, is now a member of the Boston Celtics.

The Utah Jazz forward announced his decision on Tuesday with a article in The Players’ Tribune. Multiple reports have said that Hayward will sign a four-year, $128 million max the deal with Boston.

The problem with that deal? The Celtics don’t quite have the cap space for it.

That means Boston will need to make a series of moves in order to get Hayward on the roster. ESPN’s Bobby Marks let out a detailed list of some things the Celtics might need to do in order to get the deal done.

Via ESPN:

With Gordon Hayward now agreeing to a four-year $127M max contract, Celtics management now has a series of transactions to do in order to create cap space. The Celtics would have to pull the qualifying offer on Kelly Olynyk, renounce free agents Jonas Jerebko, James Young, Gerald Green and waive the contracts of Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson (or trade). The Celtics would be left with $27.6M in room and likely need to move the contract of Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart. Trading Rozier would have the Celtics short $1M of a max salary a lot.

That’s a lot of dealing left, and the Celtics will look significantly different next year when compared to the team that took the No. 1 seed the Eastern Conference in 2017.

The most interesting thing to consider is which of the wing players Danny Ainge decides to move. It appears that Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart are the three likely big names that could find a new team in 2017-18.

Smart has already been floated as the most likely candidate to get traded.

Via Twitter:

Meanwhile, the Jazz will reportedly try to replace Hayward’s production elsewhere. Otto Porter was a target, but he signed an offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

Gordon Hayward announces he’s signing with the Boston Celtics

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We had to it wait out a little bit on July 4, but we finally have our answer. Gordon Hayward is heading east to become a member of the Boston Celtics.

In an article released on Tuesday on The Players’ Tribune, Hayward announced his decision in a letter titled “Thank You, Utah”.

In the letter, Hayward directly acknowledged just how hard of a decision it was to make and how circuitous Tuesday’s events were as the entire NBA world waited on him to make his decision.

The letter is exquisitely written, and Hayward went on for some time about the Jazz organization personally listing all the people who affected him there. It’s really quite touching.

In the end, and Hayward pointed to wanting to settle some unfinished business with Brad Stevens at his side. Specifically, Hayward said he wants to win an NBA championship with his former Butler coach.

Via The Players’ Tribune:

And now I’ve decided to sign with the Boston Celtics.

There were so many great things pulling me in that direction. There was the winning culture of Boston, as a city — from the Sox, to the Pats, to the Bruins. There was the special history of the Celtics, as a franchise — from Russell, to Bird, to Pierce, and it goes on. There was the amazing potential of this current Celtics roster, as a team — from ownership, to the front office, to a talented roster with Isaiah, and Al, and everyone else. And of course, there was Coach Stevens: Not just for the relationship that we’ve built off the court — but also for the one that we started building on the court, all of those years ago, in Indiana.

And that unfinished business we had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA … as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it:

And that’s to win a championship.

Hayward’s deal with the Celtics is a four-year, $128 million max deal with the Celtics. The contract reportedly includes a player option in the fourth year for Hayward.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Celtics still have a series of deals to get done before they will be able to sign Hayward to his deal.

Via ESPN:

The Celtics would have to pull the qualifying offer on Kelly Olynyk, renounce free agents Jonas Jerebko, James Young, Gerald Green and waive the contracts of Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson (or trade). The Celtics would be left with $27.6M in room and likely need to move the contract of Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart. Trading Rozier would have the Celtics short $1M of a max salary a lot.

After Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Paul Millsap all went west, we now finally have our first big star going east. Tonight is a major bummer for Utah Jazz fans — and for Miami Heat fans — but Hayward heading to the No. 1 seed in last years Eastern Conference playoffs should have Celtics fans thrilled.

Warriors fall at home to Celtics again: Boston wins 99-86

Associated Press
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Boston Celtics had their way in Golden State’s typically imposing building again. Last April, it was wrecking the Warriors’ record 54-game home winning streak.

This time, they spoiled Golden State’s lone appearance at Oracle Arena in a nearly three-week span.

Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points, Kelly Olynyk added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench and Boston beat the sloppy Warriors 99-86 on Wednesday night,

Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot just 4 for 17 from 3-point range as Golden State went just 6 for 30 from long range and struggled again without injured star Kevin Durant, who spoke before the game wearing a bulky brace on his injured left knee and using crutches.

“They did a good job of guarding the 3,” Thompson said. “Teams know we can kill them from 3.”

Curry had 23 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Thompson scored 25 points as the Warriors’ 10-game home winning streak was snapped – nearly a year after Boston last stunned Golden State here.

It was the Warriors’ first home defeat against the Eastern Conference this season and fifth in all out of 26 matchups.

“We’re in a tough spot in the schedule and with KD’s injury. Everybody goes through this at some point in the season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You just make your way through and you let everybody else freak out and panic. You just keep your nose down, keep working and things work out.”

Golden State took a 74-72 lead into the fourth quarter when Curry knocked down a buzzer-beating 3 to end the third over rookie Jaylen Brown, with the two-time reigning MVP pointing and celebrating at the young forward.

“I didn’t say anything to anyone to be honest,” Brown said. “I think my defense was doing the talking, I was playing good D until he beat me on that head fake.”

Golden State trailed 76-74 with 8:41 remaining before Draymond Green came slashing through the key for a pair of one-handed slams in just more than a minute. Boston, which handed Golden State one of its two home losses last season with that 109-106 victory on April 1, kept answering every big play.

Jae Crowder knocked down a 3 for the Celtics and Golden State then committed two straight turnovers that led to four more points as Boston built its cushion to 90-79.

Green made a steal in his career-best 23rd straight game, the longest by a Warriors player since Curry did so in 33 consecutive outings in 2015-16.

TIP-INS

Celtics: G/F James Young was out with a bruised tailbone. He tried to go through shootaround to no avail. … The Celtics are 4-7 against Golden State since 2010-11.

Warriors: Curry (12,656) is 14 points from tying his father, Dell, for 210th place on the NBA career scoring list with 12,670. … Matt Barnes received a rousing standing ovation when he checked into the game at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter in his Oracle Arena debut after re-joining the team 10 years after his first stint. … Golden State’s streak of 11 straight games with at least 10 steals ended. … Thompson reached 200 3-pointers, joining Curry as the only players in NBA history with 200 3s in five straight seasons.

ROAD TRIPPIN’

With just more than one day at home, Golden State considered this game almost like a road test given the Warriors are playing eight times in 13 days and already went East, then home for one before a back-to-back Friday at Minnesota and Saturday at San Antonio.

“We’re still on the road trip, that’s the way we look at it,” Kerr said. “This is Game 6 of an eight-game road trip, they just happened to send us to Oakland in between Atlanta and Minnesota. I’m still trying to figure that out.”

Kerr will consider resting players as needed this weekend after checking with the training staff. Of leaving town again, he said, “it seems kind of crazy but here we go.”

“I know every guy in that locker room wants to play,” Curry said.

A NEW CAR

Evan Meredith of Oakland hit four 3-pointers during a third-quarter timeout to win a new KIA car.

 

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas: ‘We can’t be experimenting in Game 63’

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Celtics outscored the Clippers by 17 points when using lineups that played before last night.

But Boston also spent about 30% of the game with five-man units that had never taken the court — and got outscored by 31 in that time.

The result: A 14-point loss and a displeased Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

“We should have won this game,” Thomas said following the loss. “We should have won last night [at Phoenix]. We can’t be experimenting in Game 63.”

When asked to elaborate, Thomas said, “You can watch film and you know what it is.”

Thomas wouldn’t say whether his “experimenting” comment was in regards to the lineups used on Monday, but it’s hard to imagine he was referring to anything else.

Two questions for Thomas:

When should Celtics coach Brad Stevens experiment?

Second-place Boston is three games behind the Cavaliers, 1.5 games ahead of the Wizards and 2.5 games ahead of the Raptors. They must fend off Washington and Toronto, but the Celtics are looking relatively locked into second place.

At this point, there’s value in trying new things.

Boston struggled with a small lineup last night, but perhaps that unit has untapped potential that could help in the playoffs. The Celtics got blitzed with little-used Jordan Mickey and James Young on the court, but the Spurs get lavished with praise for giving their young players minutes to develop.

It’s a long regular season. This strikes me as the right time to experiment.

What else was Stevens supposed to do?

Al Horford and Jonas Jerebko were both out against L.A. That almost necessitated strange lineups.

I understand Thomas’ frustration. He’s a competitor, and his team just lost a game he wanted to win. Maybe Boston could have done more to win it, but there was nothing particularly important about this one, which was actually game 64.

In the big picture, Thomas’ complaints seem misguided.