Celtics

Agent denies reports, Bradley continues play in Israel

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Agent denies reports, Bradley continues play in Israel

The plan was for Avery Bradley to spend a few months overseas, get a few good runs in, and then return to the Boston Celtics once the NBA lockout was over.

But an internet report indicated his time with Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem (1-2) of the Israeli League was ending after just a couple of games played.

Not true, says Bradley's agent.

"He played last night and had 21 points," his agent, Mitchell Butler of Lagardre Unlimited, told CSNNE.com on Monday. "He's still under contract with them."

Butler added that there have not been any talks between him and Hapoel Migdal about the 20-year-old Bradley being released.

"As of now, they're happy with his performance," said Butler, well aware of how things can change quickly when American players are overseas.

In two games, both losses, Bradley has averaged 14 points while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent on 3s.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard signed a one-year deal with Hapoel Migdal, although Butler said his contract does have an out-clause that would allow Bradley to return to the C's when the NBA lockout ended.

In addition to a report indicating Bradley would be released, it also indicated that Hapoel Migdal would replace him with former Celtics guard Marcus Banks.

Dubi Pick, a senior writer for Eurobasket.com who is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, tweeted on Sunday that the deal to get rid of Bradley and acquire Banks is, "still in its diapers."

Regardless of whether Bradley is cut loose or not, the idea that it's even a topic of discussion speaks to how big a season this is for him and the Celtics. After being injured most of his first NBA season, it took a while before Bradley got an opportunity to show what he could do on the floor.

He showed flashes at times of being a dynamic combo guard who could contribute in the future at both guard positions. Bradley's defense really stood out, something the C's believe will be his calling card moving forward.

The biggest challenge for Bradley - for all young players, truthfully - is to become consistent. And that tends to come with consistent minutes. But therein lies the whole chicken-before-the-egg dilemma. Which should come first, consistent minutes or consistent play?

Depending on what the Celtics do via free agency, Bradley's playing time might not be a question of if, but how much. Especially when you consider the season will be shorter, which means there's less time for new faces to learn what Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants at both ends of the floor.

Bradley knows as well as anyone on the roster, how difficult it can be to gain Rivers' trust when he's never coached you before. The one thing Bradley does have going for him, is that his strength - defense - is exactly what Rivers loves most in a player.

Being known primarily as a defender is a role that Bradley embraces, well aware it's the best he can offer at this point to benefit the Celtics.

"Whatever they need me to do to win, I'm willing to do," Bradley told CSNNE.com this summer during the Impact Basketball League in Las Vegas. "Score. Pass. Rebound. Defend. It doesn't matter to me; I just want to help this team win, in whatever way I can."

Which is why the idea of him playing overseas during the lockout seemed like a good one for him individually, as well for the Celtics down the road.

After a less-than-stellar debut (seven points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field) in a 89-68 drubbing at the hands of Galil Gilboa, Bradley bounced back with a big game on Sunday with 21 points on 6-for-9 shooting in a 95-93 loss to Ironi Ashkelon.

"He's trying to make the adjustment over there, to everything that he's seeing because it's nothing like what he's used to in the NBA," Butler said. "But he's getting better, getting more comfortable with everything. He'll be fine."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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