Celtics

Knicks are keeping tabs on Celtics other than Kyrie Irving this offseason

Knicks are keeping tabs on Celtics other than Kyrie Irving this offseason

BOSTON -- For months It has been no secret that the New York Knicks have kept a watchful eye on Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving with the plan being to entice him to bring his talents to the Big Apple next season. 

Well he’s not the only Celtic free-agent-to-be that they watched closely during Boston’s postseason run, which ended last week in the conference semifinals to Milwaukee. 

Multiple league sources tell NBC Sports Boston that the Knicks, a team with plenty of roster holes to fill this offseason, have interest in at least two other Celtics players besides Irving — Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier — who like Irving, will be free agents this summer. 

New York’s interest in Rozier has been steady, only to have picked up during Rozier’s strong showing in the playoffs last year and continued through the February trade deadline, which is when Boston made the decision to keep Rozier and the rest of the team intact. 

And while Irving is the bigger priority for New York, if the Knicks are able to land the No. 1 overall pick and package that in a trade for Anthony Davis while also securing Kevin Durant via free agency from Golden State, that would take them more or less out of the hunt for signing Irving and force them to potentially swing a deal for a less-established playmaker like ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo or a young player with upside… a player like Rozier. 

Because Rozier will be a restricted free agent, the Celtics will have an opportunity to match any offer sheet the 6-foot-2 guard signs this offseason. 

Like most of the Celtics, this was a rollercoaster of a season for Rozier, who was banking on a bigger, more consistent role after turning down a multi-year extension from the Celtics that was worth about $12 million per season. 

It is unclear if Rozier will secure a deal in that neighborhood, or whether the Celtics would be inclined to match such an offer. 

But it appears as though Rozier, while appreciative of his time with the Celtics, who selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, is ready to move on to a franchise where he can have a more prominent, more consistent role than the one he has had during his time as a backup to Isaiah Thomas and most recently, Kyrie Irving. 

As for Morris, his play in the postseason will increase the number of potential suitors for him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

In nine playoff games, Morris averaged 13.7 points on 51.9 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent shooting from 3-point range, in addition to grabbing 8.1 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. 

Besides his numbers, the Knicks really liked the tough, rugged brand of basketball he played during the regular season that spilled over into the playoffs as well. 

The price tag for Morris remains to be seen, but it’s fair to expect that he will at least double (and likely triple) his $5.375 million salary from this past season. 

Boston will try and find a way to keep Morris in the fold this summer, but he’s likely to get a bigger-money offer from another team. 

And then there’s the potential for someone to offer deals to him and his twin brother Markieff, which could potentially result in him taking less than his market value in order to play with his brother once again. 

The Knicks expressed some interest in Daniel Theis as well, but they’re not anticipating making much if any pitch for him this summer with Theis set to be a restricted free agent. 

This past season, one of the issues with Boston was that it had a roster that may have had too much talent. 

Well, free agency will likely take care of that going forward. 

And you can bet the New York Knicks will be among the teams looking to cash in on Boston’s impending glut of free agents - and it ain’t just Kyrie Irving, either. 

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Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

The Boston Celtics are off to an 11-3 start to the 2019-20 campaign, which currently has them tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.

But if you're going to pick out one weakness on this year's C's squad, it's probably the frontcourt. It begs the question: Should they go out and get a legit big man on the trade market, or can they get by with the guys they have?

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely weighed in on that very subject on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast.

"I am very hopeful when it comes to the frontcourt," Chin said. "I think that we have seen Robert Williams take steps particularly on the defensive end that I wasn't sure he could make, and I think if he continues on that trajectory and kind of figures out his positioning and hustles and plays hard, I think that that's going to be a huge help to the Celtics.

"And then additionally, Grant Williams. I am high on Grant Williams. The guy is so smart, and I know he is so undersized, but he's got so much heart and he is almost like a Marcus Smart 2.0 and he just wants to make plays. He just wants to impact winning, and I think there's value in that."

"I look at their situation the way that I would look at getting a new car," Blakely said. "How much is this going to cost me? How much am I going to have to lose in order to gain this new nice shiny vehicle? And to me, that's the issue that Danny Ainge has to grapple with.

"Because right now, he can get by with the group he has and they can make a little bit of noise in the playoffs, but you know that it is a weakness. You know that if you get a certain matchup, it could spell the end of your season. So you're going to need some luck on the way if you stick with the group that you have and make no significant changes."

Listen to the full episode below (frontcourt talks begins at 10:00 mark)

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

A. Sherrod Blakely is joined by Abby Chin to break down the Celtics West Coast trip. They discuss their impressions of the Celtics now, and how they have changed from the start of the season. We also have some fun giving out some Thanksgiving superlatives. 

2:30 - How do we feel about the Celtics West Coast trip so far?  

5:00 - Has Jayson Tatum showed he can make the ‘leap’ to the next level? How much has he impacted the Celtics?

8:30 - Where do the Celtics rank in the Eastern Conference? What order is the top 3 right now? 

10:00 - Do the Celtics need some front court help? or as we confident in what they have now? 

13:30 - Is the buyout market the best spot for Danny Ainge to add a big man? 

16:00 - We give out our Thanksgiving-themed superlatives. Who’s the devourer of the drumstick? Stuffing the stats is...? Side dish superstar? 

30:00 - Who has been the biggest surprise player for the Celtics so far?

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.