Celtics

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.

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Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Those pesky Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around even before Yahoo's Chris Mannix mentioned the Celtics were "scared" of Kyrie Irving heading there next summer. They picked up steam this week with another report of The Big Apple as a destination for Irving and Jimmy Butler to join forces.

Now, ESPN's NBA Forecast Panel gives the Knicks a slight edge over the Celtics to land Irving, 46.9 percent to  43.8 percent.

Here's part of the panel's explanation on ESPN's "The Jump": 

It would take some salary-cap machinations for New York to lure Irving to play close to where he grew up in West Orange, N.J. They would likely have to risk losing Kristaps Porzingis in free agency next summer by not giving him a big-money extension this season. 

There's also a potential pursuit of Kevin Durant in free agency next summer as the Knicks - playoff-less since 2013 and title-less for 45 years - make another attempt to spend their way back to relevance. 

Irving has made it clear he's not going to cost himself millions by signing an extension with the C's this season ("Contractually, financially, it just doesn’t make any sense”) and is headed to free agency, so, with training camp more than a month away, get used to a season full of questions about his future. And expect the Knicks speculation to heat up before the four C's-Knicks games (Oct. 20 and Feb. 6 in New York and Nov. 21 and Dec. 6 in Boston). 

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Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge was busy on Twitter late last night poking a little fun at a couple of his players.

Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, wondered where the defense was in a video of "Scary" Terry Rozier playing in a pickup game with Wizards guard John Wall and other NBAers. 

A little good-natured payback for Rozier's FaceTime interruption of Ainge's drafting of Robert Williams back in June?

A few minutes before his Rozier tweet, Ainge saw a video tweeted by Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton of Jaylen Brown showing his skills on the piano at the Berkeley campus' Sproul Plaza. Brown spent a year at Cal before being drafted by Boston in 2016.

Ainge couldn't resist a jab at Brown's ball-handling skills. 

So, Celtics players, post those Twitter videos at your own risk because the boss is watching.

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