Celtics

Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday

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Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday

Today is the first day that NBA teams can talk potential contract terms with player agents.

As you can imagine, the Boston Celtics are eager to get the process started and sign as many talented players as they can. But patience, as well as preparation, will be needed.

Even with a compressed free agency period that doesn't officially begin until Dec. 9, the C's will, to some degree, be in wait-and-see mode.

Armed with a 3 million mid-level exception and the veteran's minimum, the C's aren't in position to be major players on the free agent market.

While the Celtics would love to add a player like Tyson Chandler, Nene or Jamal Crawford, a more realistic pool of players they'll choose from involves players such as Kwame Brown, Josh Howard and Michael Redd.

That's why Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has been so vigorous in exploring potential trades that, in all likelihood, would involve moving at least one of the Big 4.

Point guard Rajon Rondo's name has been the one most talked about, for obvious reasons. He's 25 years old, a two-time all-star, and of the Big 4, the only one with significant room for growth at this stage in his career.

The other three -- Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- are all in the final stages of their illustrious careers.

But moving Rondo is not guaranteed to happen, so Ainge must do what he can on the free agent market as well.

However, his work to some degree depends on what other teams that are under the salary cap, can do.

Take a team like Indiana, for example.

While Boston might be a more attractive free agent destination, the Pacers have more than 20 million of salary cap space to spend and only a handful of available roster spots which gives them the ability to pick and choose who they want, and not be overly concerned about the cost.

However, the one thing the C's do have going for them is opportunity. Boston has six players under contract, and the majority of those players are veterans whose minutes will be reduced this season.

The C's roster will increase to eight when they sign their picks from last June's draft, forward Jajuan Johnson and combo guard E'Twaun Moore who both played at Purdue. Throw in the expected re-signing of Jeff Green, and you're up to nine.

That still leaves 4-6 roster spots to be filled, most likely by at least two big men and one perimeter player.

While this free agency class is void of superstar talent, there are a number of solid role players on the market. The C's recognize this, and are ready to reach out to them in an official capacity as early as today.

No deals can be consummated today, but that has no bearing on the Celtics. Either way, free agency for the C's will involve playing the waiting game.

Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

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Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

Just when all the video tribute controversy between Isaiah Thomas and Paul Pierce seemed to be dying down, Jalen Rose heated it right back up.

Live on ESPN's "NBA Countdown," Rose called Pierce "petty" for his comments on the Celtics potentially holding a video tribute for Isaiah on Feb. 11 when Pierce gets his jersey retired.

Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce petty right to his face... 😳

A post shared by DIME on UPROXX (@dimemagazine) on

Thomas tweeted on Tuesday that he (again) declined the Celtics' offer to hold the tribute for him so it wouldn't interfere with Pierce's night. But if you look at the likes on the Instagram video above, posted by dimemagazine, you'll see Thomas appears to agree with Rose on the matter.

It doesn't look like the video tribute drama is going to end until the Feb. 11 matchup between the Celtics and Cavaliers is over with.

Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

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Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three Houston Rockets players entered the Los Angeles Clippers’ training room before being stopped by security but not before a profanity-laced exchange that’s sure to result in fines and possibly some suspensions.

Orlando’s Arron Afflalo threw a punch – and barely missed – hitting Minnesota’s Nemanja Bjelica which led to both players being ejected and for Afflalo will likely result in a suspension of some kind.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons got into it with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, resulting in both players being tossed and apparently leading to Simmons signaling to Lowry that they could continue having their “discussion” in the hallway.

That hallway encounter never happened (Lowry said he was there, Simmons said he didn’t see Lowry so you believe who you want to), but the fact that it was even a possibility speaks to this being one of the more bizarre weeks in recent memory when it comes to potential fighting in the league. 

And remember … it’s only freakin’ Wednesday!

I asked Boston’s Al Horford about this.

“It’s very, very bizarre,” said Horford, now in his 11th NBA season. “I don’t think I remember any period of time, (with) all this chippiness going on. You want to compete, you want to play hard; that’s fine. But all the extra stuff, I think needs to stop. At the end of the day you need to focus on basketball. We’re here to play.”

Horford added, “I’m sure the NBA will address those things and fix them.”

No one was shocked that things got a little testy in the Houston-Los Angeles Clippers game which was played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the first time Chris Paul, now with the Rockets, returned to Los Angeles to face his former team. 

The Clippers won 113-102, a game filled with trash talk from both sides. But apparently the chatter soon turned to chippy play with hard fouls delivered and taken in the latter stages of play with a total of five technical fouls called, two of which were on Blake Griffin which is an automatic ejection. 

Talking trash gone bad was a factor in the Simmons-Lowry bruhaha with the Sixers emerging with the victory. 

And on Tuesday, Afflalo and Bjelica had already been assessed a technical for an earlier run-in. Soon after, there was a collision between the two which pissed off Afflalo who swung with great force at Bjelica’s face. 

“We’re professionals,” Horford said. “We can’t get caught up in that stuff.”

Horford plays around the basket and is no stranger to banging around with the big, bad angry bodies. 

But as much as there will be times when he’ll want to snap, Horford has consistently resisted the urge. 

“It’s hard; it’s hard,” he said. “But we have to remember what we play the game for; I play to win. I’m playing for my teammates and sometimes you need to take a step back before you do something you regret. That’s the way I look at it.”

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