Celtics

Stephen A. Smith: 'The Celtics are planning on acquiring Butler'

Stephen A. Smith: 'The Celtics are planning on acquiring Butler'

Stephen A. Smith said on “First Take” Monday that the trade between the Celtics and 76ers that will send the first overall pick to Philly is tied Boston’s pursuit of Bulls forward Jimmy Butler. 

Smith said that the Bulls offered Butler to the 76ers in an attempt to acquire the third overall pick in the draft, but that Philadelphia wasn’t interested. Now that Boston has the pick after trading the top selection for No. 3 and a future first, Smith believes the C’s intend to trade for Butler. He added that the Celtics would then sign Gordon Hayward in free agency. 

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“The Boston Celtics are planning on acquiring Jimmy Butler,” Smith said. “They don’t know if they’ll be able to, but their hope is they’ll be able to use the No. 3 pick, get themselves Jimmy Butler, go into free agency, get Gordon Hayward, and then combine Butler with Hayward, keeping Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and those boys in tow, and making a legitimate run at the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown knowing that they then get to come back the following year and likely get another first-round pick on top of the one that they will have, etc. etc. 

“So that’s their belief right now for the Boston Celtics, the No. 3 pick, worst-case scenario that they find themselves in a position to draft somebody like a Josh Jackson out of Kansas, but the hope is that they’ll be able to use the No. 3 pick to get their hands on Jimmy Butler. They believe they’ve got a better shot than anybody at getting Gordon Hayward from Utah to come and play for his old college coach at Butler, Mr. Brad Stevens, and as a result, the combination of those two additions to the squad along with keeping the nucleus of their team intact will make them on par, at least in most folks’ eyes, to legitimately compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown again.” 

Butler, 27, has two more years on his contract with a player option for the 2019-20 season. 

Kemba Walker rated 17th overall in NBA 2K20, trails 11th-ranked Kyrie Irving

Kemba Walker rated 17th overall in NBA 2K20, trails 11th-ranked Kyrie Irving

Kemba Walker is likely going to be compared to Kyrie Irving during his tenure with the Boston Celtics. Walker will be replacing the mercurial point guard who left the Celtics for greener pastures to team up with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets in free agency this offseason. And while Boston fans may not exactly be sad to see Irving go, there's no denying that Irving is a talented player.

In fact, Irving is so talented that he almost cracked the top 10 in this year's "NBA 2K20" ratings. The popular video game recently released some of the ratings ahead of the game's launch, and Irving placed 11th overall in the league with a 91 overall rating.

Meanwhile, Walker isn't far behind Irving, as he ranks 17th in overall rating for the game's initial release. He is the Celtics' highest-rated player with a mark of 88 overall.

This isn't much of a surprise, as the league has seemingly viewed Irving as the superior player to Walker throughout their respective careers. And their stat lines from last year would seemingly indicate that as well.

In 2018-19, 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.9 assists last season while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Walker scored more points per game (25.6) but had worse rebound (4.4) and assist (5.9) numbers and shot just 43.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range. So, that's likely why Irving was given a slight advantage in the video game.

Of course, NBA 2K ratings don't take chemistry into account with their overall player ratings, and that seems to be an area that most would give Walker the advantage in. And playing with a better supporting cast could also improve Walker's numbers and demonstrate that he is truly on par with Irving as a player.

But either way, Celtics fans won't care much about which player has the higher 2K rating, especially if Walker can help iron out some of the issues that percolated last season in the Celtics' locker room.

Walker will be holding his introductory Celtics press conference this Wednesday, July 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The press conference can be seen on NBC Sports Boston or streamed via the MyTeams App.

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Celtics open up additional cap space by rescinding Daniel Theis' qualifying offer

Celtics open up additional cap space by rescinding Daniel Theis' qualifying offer

The Celtics have grown accustomed to massive roster changes since the team dealt Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets in 2013, and with that comes familiarity with sequencing moves perfectly to maximize their roster under the current CBA. 

On Monday, the Celtics rescinded Daniel Theis' qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent according to Keith Smith. Theis agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Celtics two weeks ago, so the only change here is the mechanism in which the Celtics will retain him. 

Since Theis is now an unrestricted free agent, the Celtics can use Early Bird Rights to re-sign him to the agreed-upon $10 million. This, in turn, frees up additional cap space for Boston to use on their open 15th roster spot, which was opened when the team waived and stretched Guerschon Yabusele earlier this week.

Boston now has about $1.1 million in cap space to use on the last spot, and the series of moves made in order to create that space could clue us in on the Celtics' plans for the final roster spot. 

One way the Celtics could go about this is to use the space to secure Tremont Waters on a four-year contract above the minimum salary. Signing a rookie above the minimum in this situation allows Boston to ink Waters for longer than two years. 

The rookie second-round pick agreed to a two-way contract with Boston recently, so this could free up a two-way slot for someone else. Tacko Fall and Javonte Green both had strong Summer Leagues and could be worth a longer look in Maine next season. 

Waters was a pleasant surprise in Summer League after he was selected with the 51st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. While undersized at 5-10 and 172 pounds, there isn't much he can't do on the basketball court. Waters is shifty and smooth getting to the rim, has excellent skills in running an offense and is a pesky defender with quick hands and terrific instincts.

While he most likely won't get much of any playing time in his rookie season playing behind Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards, that's a great group to work with every day and learn from. Waters won't have a limit on the amount of time he spends with the Celtics or Red Claws either. 

The Celtics could go a number of different ways with their 15th roster spot, including bringing on an unrestricted free agent using a veteran minimum. But given the way they've worked to free up cap space by rescinding Theis' qualifying offer, it most likely points to Waters earning the last spot. Their next move would be finding a player to fill a vacated two-way slot along with Max Strus. 

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