Celtics

Larkin gets starting nod vs Bulls

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Larkin gets starting nod vs Bulls

With Kyrie Irving (knee) out, the Boston Celtics will turn to … Shane Larkin?

“Just go out there, be aggressive, do what I’ve done all season,” Larkin told reporters prior to tonight’s tip-off. “Pick up defensively, impact the ball and be aggressive; no different.”

It’s a pretty stark transition from being a seldom-used reserve to replacing a five-time All-star like Irving in the starting lineup. 

“You never know what coach is going to do,” Larkin said. “I’ve been ready all year for whatever situation’s thrown at me, so it’s just another situation. I have to go out and play aggressive and I’ll be fine.”

While Larkin has shown he can be a positive contributor for the Celtics, the move appears to be made in part because of the success of Boston’s second unit recently. 

In Boston’s 123-120 loss at Houston on Saturday, the Celtics’ bench scored a season-high 67 points. 

Since the All-Star break, Boston’s bench has been among the league’s highest scoring second units. 

Before the All-Star break, Boston’s bench ranked 23rd in the NBA in bench scoring (32.1). Since returning from the break, Boston’s second unit has averaged a league-best 56.2 points. 

And Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the two expected candidates to fill in for Irving, have been key performers with Boston’s second unit.

“Bringing them off the bench together has been effective,” Stevens said.

Larkin has appeared in 40 games this season, averaging 3.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. 

Tonight will be Larkin’s first start as a Celtic, and first start in an NBA game since April 13, 2016 when he played for the Brooklyn Nets and they played the Toronto Raptors.

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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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