Celtics

Bob Cousy: 'Now I want to make it to 100!'

Bob Cousy: 'Now I want to make it to 100!'

Hall of Famer Bob Cousy, who revolutionized basketball in the 1950s and '60s, turns 90 today. And the former Celtic great feels good . . . both about himself and about the current Celtics team.

"Now I want to make it to 100!" the ex-Celtic guard told NBC Sports Boston's Paul Lucey.  "When I turned 80, the goal was to make it to 90 . . . being a goal-oriented person, I set that goal, not knowing if it was realistic. Now I want to make triple digits, with the proviso that I keep my marbles -- which, thankfully, I have to this point -- and can maintain some sort of a normal life.

"I’ll take it one day at a time, but 100 is the goal."

And he has something to look forward to: The upcoming Celtics season.

“Everything is in place," he said. "Celtics fans are in for one exciting season. The Finals" -- which Jaylen Brown guarantees they'll make -- "are certainly within reach.

"I don’t think they're quite at Golden State’s level, but that’s tough for me to judge just by watching the games on TV.  It will be a hell of an interesting year -- they'll win way more than they lose -- and they can beat any team on any given night, Golden State included.  I won't predict a title but I think they'll be in the top two."

One thing that gratifies Cousy is the way basketball has taken off in the nearly 70 years since his NBA career started in 1950.

"We used to sit in those dingy locker rooms and say if we could just get on those TV sets, this game will explode! We have the best athletes and the best game," he said. "In 1957, I was the league MVP on a championship team and I was making $20,000 a year (approximately $180,000 in 2018 dollars).  When I said the league would explode, I was thinking the players might someday be able to make $100,000 a year. But if you had told me that someday one player would make $44 million for one season like LeBron [James] just got, I would have said, 'Get that guy outta here -- he’s crazy!' But the game has exploded. It’s the number-two sport in the world [behind soccer] in terms of participation.

"Here football is No. 1, but they seem to be in the process of injuring themselves. So I think basketball is a close second.  It's good, solid entertainment . . . [but] where it is right now, I could never have predicted that.”
 

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. 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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