Celtics announce signing of Greg Monroe, keep an eye on Joe Johnson

Celtics announce signing of Greg Monroe, keep an eye on Joe Johnson

WASHINGTON – It’s official now.

The Celtics filled their 15th roster spot with the addition of 6-foot-11 center Greg Monroe, the team announced Thursday, moments after the 3 p.m. EST trade deadline.

Boston had come to terms on a one-year, $5 million deal with Monroe shortly after he became available after being waived by Phoenix, but did not make the deal official until today to maximize their trade flexibility.

Unable to strike a deal via trade, Boston now has the NBA-maximum 15 players on their roster.

But if they have their way, there’s still one more chip to be played.

Former Celtic Joe Johnson, 36, was traded from Utah to Sacramento, and is expected to be bought out before ever playing a game there. If that happens, he will be one of the more coveted players who teams will be looking to secure for the remainder of this season and the playoffs.

He is indeed a player of interest for the Celtics, who would have to waive a current player in order to have a roster spot available to add Johnson.

The most likely player to be waived is Abdel Nader, a former D-League (now G-League) Rookie of the Year who signed a multi-year deal with Boston but has limited guarantees each season.

As NBC Boston reported on Wednesday, Monroe flew from Boston to Washington on Wednesday morning to meet up with the Celtics in addition to getting in a good workout with the possibility being he would see his first action tonight against the Wizards.

If Monroe does play tonight, he will come off the Celtics bench. But beyond that, it remains to be seen if Stevens will turn to Monroe ahead of Aron Baynes in the starting lineup, or whether Stevens will keep things as-is, with Baynes starting and Monroe, who will wear jersey number 55, in the rotation that comes off the bench.

The main thing Monroe provides is a low-post scoring threat, something the Celtics have been lacking most of this season.

An eight-year veteran, Monroe has shot 51.4 percent from the field to go with 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in stints with the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.



Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

LOS ANGELES -- Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were on different teams for the NBA's All-Star game pitting Team LeBron vs Team Steph, so somebody was coming back a loser.

But considering how competitive the game was for longer stretches than usual, both players came away feeling good in a relatively close All-Star game that ended with Team LeBron edging Team Steph, 148-145.

LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists and walked away with Game MVP honors for the third time.

Irving, who played for Team LeBron, had a near double-double with 13 points and nine assists along with seven rebounds.

And Horford, who came off the bench for Team Steph, had six points and five rebounds along with two assists.  

“This was pretty fun,” Irving said. “I think that we showcased that tonight with an incredible competitive spirit. The game was kind of getting away, but I think a few of us took it a little personal that we wanted to keep the game still competitive and at a high level. Fans and everyone across so many different countries want to see the best players in the world showcase their talent.”

Horford echoed similar sentiments about the game, which had a different format this year. LeBron James and Stephen Curry picked the two teams from the 22-player pool of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

“Early, guys were making [defensive] plays,” Horford said. “Guys were making a point, they weren’t going to let it be a dunk fest.

Horford added, “Even last year and the year before, there was a lot of heat on how bad the game was. I felt like this game was, it was good.”

Irving, a five-time All-Star, also acknowledged how he and some of the players wanted to change the perception of the All-Star Game as being nothing more than a glorified lay-up line.

“I think we all took it kind of personal,” Irving said. “Individually we wanted to come out and be competitive. Last year it was (192-182), that’s just not as fun as communicating with guys that you don’t necessarily play with every single day, bouncing ideas off in the time-outs. It’s just that competitive fire that we all share.”

And then there’s the payday for winning.

Not only will various charities benefit from the game -- LeBron James’ charity of choice gets $350,000 because his team won and Steph Curry’s charity of choice gets $150,000 -- but the players on the winning team get a pretty nice check as well.

The winning team members each get $100,000 while the players on the losing team come away with $25,000.

“There was something that, something that we could look forward to if we got the win,” Irving acknowledged. “You know, they’ll probably bring up the cash prize, but . . . $100,000 to $25,000, I think everybody in this room would be doing the same things we were doing.”


LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

USA TODAY Sports Photo

LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had been mum on the process he used in selecting Team LeBron … until now.

Following Team LeBron’s 148-145 win over Team Steph, James revealed how he went about assembling is roster which included Boston’s Kyrie Irving who asked for a trade out of Cleveland last summer.

“I took Kevin (Durant) first, then I took (New Orleans) Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus (Cousins).”

While this year’s all-star game had been billed as the ultimate pick-up game, it was clear that James put a tremendous amount of thought into assembling his team akin to what an NBA General Manager might do.

“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board,” James said. “I had a process. Some of it went to … it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.”

A reporter later asked James where was this draft board.

“Ain’t none of your business,” said James, grinning. “You’re going too far, man.”