Celtics

Irving picking new agent paving the way to team up with Durant?

Irving picking new agent paving the way to team up with Durant?

BOSTON -- Every move, every decision made by Kyrie Irving will be scrutinized to the nth degree. 

So, it stands to reason Irving’s decision to part ways with his longtime agent Jeff Wechsler is a really big deal any time of the year. 

But it’s timing comes just days before free agency begins.

The move was first reported by ESPN'S Adrian Wojnarowski
 

And his new representation - Roc Nation - will only further fuel speculation that Irving will indeed be looking to pair up with Kevin Durant who is represented by - you guess? - Roc Nation. 

Now there are other NBA clients under the Roc Nation umbrella, but let’s be honest.

Does anyone think Irving is looking to team up with … Jeremy Lin? Justise Winslow? Willey Cauley-Stein?

Didn’t think so. 

But the torn Achilles injury suffered by Durant in Game 5 of the NBA Finals has on the surface at least, complicated things a bit. 

The injury will keep Durant sidelined for most if not all of next season, meaning whoever’s roster Durant is on next season will get little or nothing from him in terms of actual games played. 

It’s too soon to tell what impact, if any, will the injury have on Durant’s suitors for next season. 

Still, multiple league sources contacted by NBC Sports Boston since Durant suffered his injury, anticipate his injury will have no impact on the number of teams that will be willing to offer him a multi-year, max salaried contract this summer. 

And then there’s the Golden State Warriors who will certainly offer him a max-salaried deal and potentially more years than any other team when he becomes a free agent. 

As far as Irving aligning himself with Roc Nation, the biggest takeaway besides the Durant connection is how this could be the first step towards Irving creating a fresh start/clean slate for himself. 

And that does not bode well for the Celtics in their efforts to re-sign the six-time All-Star, knowing the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets are both positioning themselves to acquire both Irving and Durant. 

But as much as the Celtics have made no secret about wanting Irving back in the fold, they have made inroads with potential replacements for him, with Terry Rozier being at the top of that list. 

Rozier, drafted by the Celtics with the 16th overall pick in 2015, will become a restricted free agent this summer. 

Despite Rozier indicating when the season ended that he was ready to move on to another team, no Irving in the picture will change his stance dramatically. 

Rozier wanted out because he didn’t want to be a backup to Irving anymore. 

With no Irving in the picture, a league source tells NBC Sports Boston that Rozier would be “more than open” to a possible return to Boston next season. 

As a starter for Boston, Rozier has a record of 22-8 while averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. 

 

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Tremont Waters remains patient, prepared for his time as a Celtic

Tremont Waters remains patient, prepared for his time as a Celtic

BOSTON -- Like many youngsters, Tremont Waters has wanted to play in the NBA for most of his life. 

Hanging out with his family in New Haven, Connecticut, as a kid, Waters would watch NBA games and envision one day hearing his name being introduced as he jogged onto the parquet or the floor of some other NBA arena. 

That little boy has grown up, been a standout at LSU and is now a member of the Celtics. 

That same drive and motivation to be in the NBA remains alive and well. 

But as eager as Waters is to prove his worth to the Celtics and the rest of the world, he’s patient with the process, knowing that just to be where he is now is a tremendous accomplishment not to be taken lightly or for granted. 

As a two-way contract player, Waters will be with the Celtics this season for no more than 45 days while the rest of his time will be spent with Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

That’s why a lack of playing time, on the immediate horizon due to Boston's logjam of guards, only strengthens Waters' resolve to make sure when opportunities to play present themselves, he’s prepared for the moment. 

So, when Celtics coach Brad Stevens decided to keep most of his regular rotation back in Boston while the rest of the players traveled to Cleveland for the preseason finale on Tuesday night, Waters thrived in his enhanced role.  

His 24-point, seven-assist, two-rebound performance was one of the many that stood out in a 118-95 win over the Cavs. 

In addition to finding the red-hot Carsen Edwards on 3’s, Waters also made a point of connecting with teammates cutting to the basket or moving without the ball to open spaces where the ball would meet them in stride, from Waters. 

But he also can get his own shots, too. 

Ask Cleveland’s Kevin Porter Jr. who found himself in spin cycle mode when a switch defensively had him trying to guard Waters. 

Waters drove to his left past Porter Jr., but slowed down just enough for Porter Jr. to catch up. 

Keeping his dribble, Waters made a hesitation move as if he was going to stop his dribble and look to shoot - he didn’t - and blew past Porter Jr. for a right-handed lay-up amid a small chorus of oohs and ahhs. 

This was one of the many moments that contributed to a win that kept Boston's preseason record unblemished at 4-0. 

And for Waters, a second-round pick taken 51st overall last June, it was yet another game when he was able to showcase his talents and skills before the Celtics and his teammates.

“Tre, he’s going to be a really good player in this league,” Celtics guard Kemba Walker told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s got a really good feel for the game, works hard, crafty with the ball and is a good defender. Sooner or later, his time is going to come to shine.”

But even when he’s not on the floor playing, Waters says he’s grateful to be in a position to fulfill a childhood dream that so many have but only a handful ever truly get to experience. 

“A lot of people don’t get this opportunity,” Waters told NBC Sports Boston. “So for me to sit there and watch a game live…when I was younger I sat on my couch watching NBA games, wishing, hoping that I could play in the NBA one day. I get to watch it live, sitting on the bench or sitting on the floor at the end of the bench. I’m not taking it as a bad thing. I’m living the life; I don’t have anything to complain about.”

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Celtics' Jaylen Brown is smart to bank on himself for next contract

Celtics' Jaylen Brown is smart to bank on himself for next contract

That Jaylen Brown is not interested now in a reported four-year, $80 million extension offer from Boston Celtics is not surprising.

Brown is eligible for a five-year extension worth up to roughy $170 million based on the league's salary-cap projections. The Celtics can also offer Brown a four-year pact worth up to a maximum of roughly $130 million.

Any extension would start with the 2020-2021 season and neither player nor team should be in a particular rush to hammer out a deal. The Celtics can extend a modest offer knowing that Brown is in line to be a restricted free agent next summer and the team will have the opportunity to match any deal he might receive. Brown can bank on himself knowing that a solid fourth-year season could drive his price tag way up.

Brown, the No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft, is scheduled to earn $6.5 million this season. The Celtics can extend an $8.5 million qualifying offer next summer which will position Brown to test those often murky waters of restricted free agency.

The Celtics have a long history of treading cautiously with rookie extensions, having not completed one since Rajon Rondo in 2009. Boston routinely offers aggressive-but team-friendly deals that players have been reluctant to pounce on.

Ben Simmons and Jamal Murray are the only two members of the 2016 draft class to have negotiated maximum-salary extensions, with their respective teams essentially designating them as franchise cornerstones. That’s not to say that the Celtics don’t view Brown in the same light; they are simply putting a premium on cap flexibility while knowing they have options regardless of how the 2019-20 season plays out.

Scoff if you’d like at the notion that Brown considers himself more than a $20 million-per-year player given what he’s displayed through his first three NBA seasons. The reality is that rookie extensions are negotiated based on what a player should become and not what they are in the moment.

Brown can bet on himself knowing that the 2020 free agent class projects as one of the weakest in recent memory. Not only have Simmons and Murray already inked extensions, Draymond Green signed a four-year, $100 million extension with the Golden State Warriors this summer. That leaves Brown as one of the glitziest young names available, maybe only behind Pascal Siakam.

Many NBA teams will look to save their pennies for the potentially bountiful 2021 free agent class. The 2020 market only becomes more robust if Anthony Davis opts out and elects not to re-sign in L.A., or if Gordon Hayward opts out of the final year of his current Celtics pact in hopes of a bigger deal.

Even if Brown shows limited advancement next season, someone will almost certainly offer him a deal in the neighborhood of four years, $80 million. There are more than 50 players in the NBA this season making $20+ million. What Brown displayed in the 2018 playoffs is tantalizing enough for teams to splurge on a player who turns just 23 later this month.

Remember that the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Otto Porter Jr. eventually got maximum-salary extensions, so teams will spend on the mere hope of what a player might eventually become.

While the Celtics could splurge on Brown now, it’s not the worst thing for the player to have some additional motivation to prove himself. Yes, players can sometimes press too hard in contract years, but Brown handled last year’s train wreck of a season better than most anybody else on the Celtics’ roster and that bodes well for how he’ll respond this season even as he attempts to establish himself as a star.

The reported four-year, $80 million offer is likely just a starting point for the Celtics. The team might be willing to creep higher but Brown, who recently hired Al Horford’s agent, might ultimately be content to wait until next year in hopes of maximizing his payday.

What the Celtics elect to spend next summer might be dictated by Hayward’s future. A bounce-back year could encourage Hayward to opt out and seek a monster payday now with 10 years of NBA service. Conversely, if Hayward struggles again, the team must decide what to do with him set to earn $34.2 million in the final year of his deal.

Remember, too, the Celtics must brace themselves to offer Jayson Tatum a potential maximum salary extension next summer as well.

Boston can get a gauge on Brown’s development early this season and then either ready itself for the financial commitment it will require to keep him, or examine trade possibilities.

Remember that a player not agreeing to an extension doesn’t necessarily mean they will walk after the season. Marcus Smart turned down a strong offer and got slightly more money from the Celtics the summer after. Boston moved Terry Rozier to Charlotte in a sign-and-trade and recouped assets for his departure.

Brown has repeatedly stressed he wants to “just play basketball” this year and not get caught up in any drama.

"To be honest, I haven’t put too much thought into [an extension],” Brown said on Media Day last month. "I’m not losing any sleep over it. I think stuff like that will end up working itself out in the end, or however. 

"So I’m just focused on this season and playing basketball. I think that’s my No. 1 emphasis, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Key numbers that defined Celtics preseason>>>>>

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