Celtics want to move up in draft, but need a trade partner


Celtics want to move up in draft, but need a trade partner

It takes at least two teams to get a deal done, which may be the only factor keeping the Celtics from moving up in the June 25 NBA draft.

The Celtics have the 16th overall pick but has made it known to fellow executives that they would like to get into the lottery area (top 14).

Still, there are challenges on multiple fronts in making that happen.

The Celtics have to lock in on a particular player who they want to draft, and get as good a feel as they can as to where that player will be selected, so they know which teams to target as potential trade partners.

Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, confirmed to CSNNE.com that the Celtics have some interest in moving up in the draft but added that there’s no one specific player they're looking to draft.

“There are some guys I’d like to acquire, sure,” Ainge said.

If the Celtics get to a point where they lock in on one specific player and have an idea as to where he should fall, then comes the challenge of convincing the team pegged to draft at that spot to make a deal.

“That’s where it gets really, really tough,” said one league executive. “Lottery picks are like lottery tickets. You don’t just give those away, to give away. Danny’s a smart guy. He knows this. But he also has a lot of assets to help his chances. But how far up does he want to go? And how much will that cost? Is the player worth it at that point? Those are the kind of questions, the kind of issues Danny and his staff have to hammer out.”

As the Celtics’ director of player personnel, Austin Ainge spends a decent amount of his time dealing with agents as well as fellow team executives.

“It’s hard to move up or ask a team to move down until they know who they like,” Ainge said.

So, the Celtics will continue to bring in players slotted in the range of their fourth picks – 16th, 28th, 33rd and 45th overall – and hope to convince a few players expected to go higher than that to come in for workouts.

While having so many picks has helped Boston’s cause in arranging workouts, convincing agents of players expected to be in the lottery to have their clients workout for the Celtics is not going to be easy.

“When I call an agent and say we’d like to have your guy in and he says, ‘you’re not in our range’ and I say, ‘well we’ll move up...We all tell them we’ll move up,” quipped Austin Ainge. “They’ve heard that line before. But I do think there’s some more credibility with us having four picks.”

Some of the players projected as lottery picks that the Celtics have expressed interest in drafting are Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, Arizona forward Stanley Johnson, Kansas forward Kelly Oubre, Texas forward/center Myles Turner and one of the fastest risers in the draft, Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker.

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

The Boston Celtics will move one step closer towards preparing for the remainder of this season, with voluntary individual player workouts beginning at the team’s practice facility on June 1. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday that professional teams in the state could resume practicing soon. 

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“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said in a press conference at the State House. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, echoed similar sentiments on Friday. 

“We’re happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center,” Ainge said. “And we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again.”

The Celtics added that the workouts will adhere to strict protocols that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Workouts are voluntary & will be conducted in strict accordance with city, state, CDC, and NBA requirements and guidelines.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.
  • Workouts will be limited to individual (1-on-0) shooting, strength and conditioning work, and medical evaluation and therapy as needed.
  • Only essential areas will be accessed. There will be no access to locker rooms, showers, hydrotherapy, medical exam rooms, cafeteria, and offices.
  • Only four players will be able to work out at a time, each working with only one staff member at a time. There will be no more than one player per half court at a time.
  • All staff members will wear masks in the building, and any staff member working with a player must wear gloves. Players will wear masks except while engaging in physical activity. Players and staff will adhere to CDC and NBA compliant social distancing standards at all times.
  • Social distancing will be required in the building except in limited specific instances  (e.g. physical therapy), when PPE will be used.
  • A thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
  • Only staff members essential to these workouts will be present at the Auerbach Center. There will be no access for general staff, public, or media. 

While no definitive date has been set for the NBA to resume play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly told owners that the league is targeting July 31 as a return-to-play date. 

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NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

Could we see the return of NBA basketball at the end of July?

The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported the league told its Board of Governors on Friday that July 31 is a potential target date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Charania also reported the league discussed four return to play scenarios ranging from going directly to the playoffs with 16 teams to bringing back all 30 teams and having them play 72 regular season games (most teams already have played around 65) before the postseason. The latter scenario doesn't seem likely, though.

If the season does resume, the remaining games (including the playoffs) could be played at one location to minimize travel and maximize the safety and health of players, team employees and everyone else involved. One such location reportedly being considered is Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

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It's important to remember nothing has been announced by the league, and plenty of details must be sorted out before games can start up again. This news of a potential target date for a season return is encouraging, though.