Celtics

Danny Ainge addresses Celtics' inconsistency, doesn't believe C's can 'flip a switch'

Danny Ainge addresses Celtics' inconsistency, doesn't believe C's can 'flip a switch'

The Celtics' inconsistent play throughout the 2018-19 campaign isn't lost on Danny Ainge.

The C's general manager remains optimistic about his team's chances with playoffs looming. But if the season were to end today, Boston would enter the postseason as a No. 5 seed. That's not how anyone, Ainge included, saw the season playing out.

Ainge talked to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald and expressed his concern with the current state of the Celtics.

“Inconsistent,” Ainge said regarding where the C's stand with 10 games remaining on the regular season. “We look good in stretches of each game. We look good some games. [Monday] night we just needed to make some shots in some key moments. Like, there’s two or three stretches where Denver made a couple of outside shots and we missed a couple of lay-ins. I don’t think it’s anything disastrous; I just think we need to keep working to get consistent. And we could have used Gordon [Hayward] out there, because there were some open shots to be made.”

While the C's inconsistency has been frustrating, Ainge still believes with a few minor fixes they can get back on the right track.

“There’s been a few games here and there when we’ve played really well,” Ainge said. “It’s like you take one step forward and take a step backward, and then you take two steps forward and take another step back.

“But I feel like there’s a lot of good things I see on our team. I feel like we need to be healthy. We need to be right. And I feel like our minds are getting in the right place, and that’s a good thing. [Against Denver], we weren’t thinking, but it wasn’t a lack of effort. It was falling asleep on some plays or not paying attention, but it wasn’t some deep-rooted issues that can’t be fixed. We could have played well and still lost against a team like Denver. They’re a very good team.”

C's star Kyrie Irving told reporters last month that despite the team's struggles, he doesn't see anyone beating them in a seven-game series. Ainge doesn't believe a flip can simply be switched once April comes around, though he has a more positive attitude now than he did in February when Boston was reeling.

“Yeah, I don’t believe you can flip a switch,” Ainge said, “but I see a lot of things I like on our team. I like a lot of our energy. We have lapses, but I feel a lot of it is inexperience and maybe communication that we need to get better at. At this stage of the season, we’re still playing lineups out there that probably haven’t played much together. We saw [Al] Horford and [Aron] Baynes out there more than maybe we’ve seen them all year, and that was the foundation of our defense last year. Again, I’m not making excuses. I’m not panicking. I feel much better about our team today than I did two weeks ago.”

Given how the Celtics have failed to live up to their lofty expectations, is Ainge disappointed with how the season has gone?

“I wouldn’t say disappointed, because the season’s not over yet,” Ainge said. “I’m encouraged. I mean, there’s been stretches in the season where I’ve wanted more, sure. But everybody does. Everybody wants more. But I’m encouraged, and I see a lot of good things.”

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Al Horford finishes third in voting for NBA Sportsmanship Award

Al Horford finishes third in voting for NBA Sportsmanship Award

Boston Celtics center Al Horford was up for the prestigious NBA Sportsmanship Award at the 2019 NBA Awards. However, he didn't end up getting the award.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Horford ended up finishing third in the voting.

In a tightly contested race, Horford fell just a bit short of the top two choices, Mike Conley and Kemba Walker, who received a nearly identical amount of first-place votes (Conley 96, Walker 94; Horford had 47). Conley ended up taking the award.

Finishing in third place is still solid and Horford certainly deserves this nod. He's one of the classier players in the league and has always been poised on the court. That's why the veteran big man is expected to see such a high amount of interest when he hits the free agent market later this month.

Right now, Horford seems destined to leave the Celtics. A handful of teams have been rumored to have interest in the 33-year-old and he will definitely be a good teammate wherever he lands.

Why C's should feel good about their future>>>>

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NBA Rumors: 'Chatter building' that Celtics could target Malcolm Brogdon and other restricted free agents

NBA Rumors: 'Chatter building' that Celtics could target Malcolm Brogdon and other restricted free agents

With the growing likelihood that the Celtics will lose Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency, the Celtics must pivot their plan to build a championship contender with holes at point guard and center. 

Without Irving and Horford, the Celtics have about $25.8 million in cap space with the ability to create about $34 million in space if they renounce the rights to all of their free agents in Terry Rozier Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker. So they have the money to bring in decent replacements, and while trades and unrestricted free agency are the most straight-forward methods to add to your roster, going after restricted free agents (RFA) can be beneficial in multiple ways. 

According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports and CelticsBlog, there is 'building chatter' that Malcolm Brogdon, Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky are potential targets for the Celtics in the RFA market. 

In order for the Celtics to secure the services of any RFA, they'll need to agree to an offer sheet with the player and then wait for the incumbent team to decide whether to match that contract or not, assuming they extend a qualifying offer. It typically takes a substantial offer sheet to make a team pass on keeping a young player they like, and that's especially the case with Brogdon. 

Brogdon played a major part in the Bucks rise to the top of the Eastern Conference in 2018-19, averaging 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists and became the eighth player in NBA history to post 50-40-90 shooting splits. He's a versatile defender and does everything you want on the court besides be a prolific scorer, so it would probably take a near-max offer sheet to get the Bucks to let him walk. 

At the very least, the Celtics could make the Bucks salary cap/luxury tax situation more uncomfortable if they have to pay Brogdon more than what they expected to. 

Satoransky and Bryant both played with the Wizards last year and could be easy targets for the Celtics given the Wizards more than unenviable salary figure. Bryant, who started 53 games in his sophomore season and averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, could be a cheaper option at center for the Celtics. Satoransky meanwhile could give Brad Stevens another ball handler and versatile defender as a 6-7 guard, not to mention his improved three-point shooting over the course of his three-year career. 

The Celtics have plenty of options with the cap space they'll likely have this summer, and as more reports surface about their intentions, the more it seems like they're willing to look at every avenue they can to re-tool this roster for the 2019-20 season. 

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