Celtics

Perkins rejects Celtics' preliminary offer

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Perkins rejects Celtics' preliminary offer

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Kendrick Perkins is still focused on remaining a Boston Celtic after he becomes a free agent this summer.

Just as important, he wants to get a contract that he deems fair market value.

And the preliminary offer made by the Celtics, according to Perkins, won't cut it.

Perkins told CSNNE.com prior to Boston's 94-89 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats that the offer made to him was for four years around 22 million.

An earlier report by the Boston Herald cited two unnamed sources that indicated Perkins turned down a contract extension that was for four years and worth slightly less than 30 million.

"That wasn't it. They offered me four years, but it was closer to like 22 million," Perkins said. "You talking four years, 30 million! Shoot, that's different. That's a big difference."

When the offer was made, the C's had no idea as to when Perkins would return to the floor after having knee surgery, or how he would perform.

Needless to say, the 6-foot-11 center has exceeded everyone's expectations.

When he suffered a torn MCL and PCL right knee injury in Game Six of the NBA Finals last June against the Los Angeles Lakers, there was some concern that he might not be able to return at all this season.

Seven months later, there was Perkins, on the floor in his first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 25.

It wasn't one of his best games - he had seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

But it was good enough to show the Celtics and any other potential suitor, that he was still able to do many of the things he did prior to the injury.

And as he gets in better basketball shape as far as running and timing and such, Perkins' impact on games will only increase.

We saw some of that in Monday's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

One of Perkins' biggest concerns since he has been back has been his timing on blocked shots.

In his first six games back, he had just one rejection.

Perkins has racked up five blocked shots in the last two games, including a season-high three against the Bobcats.

Because of the intense conditioning Perkins has put his body through while rehabilitating his knee, he's arguably in the best shape of his career.

"I feel like it," he said in a recent interview with CSNNE.com. "I feel good; real good."

It shows in his play, which has been instrumental of late as the Celtics try to withstand another storm of injuries to their frontcourt.

Shaquille O'Neal remains out with an Achilles tendon injury, an injury that Celtics coach Doc Rivers said might keep him off the floor until after the All-Star break. Jermaine O'Neal recently had surgery on his left knee, and he's not expected back until sometime in late March or early April. And then there's Semih Erden, who has battled an assortment of injuries all season. Erden did not play on Monday because of a sore right adductor injury.

Although Perkins was supposedly on a minutes restriction after returning to the lineup, his play has made it difficult for Rivers to keep him off the floor.

After being limited to around 20 minutes in his first four games, Perkins has played at least 33 minutes in each of Boston's last three games.

In the eight games Perkins has played, he has averaged 6.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. In his first start, he tallied a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 101-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 4.

He understands that his contract situation is something that will generate a lot of interest throughout the season, but it's not something he thinks about a lot.

"It's important, don't get me wrong," Perkins said. "But my biggest priority is getting out there, doing what I can to help this team win a championship. All that other stuff, the contract, the money . . . it'll all work out how it's supposed to, just as long as I go out there and do my job."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
 
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
 
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.

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 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
 
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
 
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
 
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
 
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
 
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
 
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
 
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
 
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
 
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
 
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
 
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
 
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
 
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
 
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
 
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Boston’s Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
 
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
 
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
 
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
 
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
 
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
 
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
 
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
 
And even that might not be enough.
 
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
 
“Here in this league,” he said. “You have to love challenges.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE