Celtics

Clippers trading Blake Griffin to Pistons has ripple effect on Celtics

Clippers trading Blake Griffin to Pistons has ripple effect on Celtics

The first blockbuster major deal of the trade season went down Monday night with the Detroit Pistons agreeing to terms on a six-player deal headlined by Blake Griffin going to Detroit. Ex-Celtic Avery Bradley was among those players moved from Detroit to the Los Angeles Clippers where he will reunite with his coach in Boston, Doc Rivers.

The Boston Celtics are among the teams particularly interested in this trade for a couple of different reasons. 

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For starters, Boston is owed a 2019 first-round pick from the Clippers, a pick that’s lottery-protected (top-14). If the pick isn’t conveyed in 2019, Boston will then be owed the Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick that’s also lottery (top-14) protected. 

If the pick isn’t sent Boston’s way by 2020, it’s converted to a second-round pick in 2022. 

While the Clippers add quality depth with a pair of starters (Bradley and Tobias Harris from Detroit), they will be hard-pressed to remain anything more than a team fighting for one of the last playoff spots. 

Which brings me back to that first-round pick the Clippers owe the Celtics. 

If the Clippers believe this trade will keep them relevant as a playoff team, they may be inclined to try and re-claim the pick they owe the Celtics and use it to help add depth to their roster. 

And the cost? 

It would have to be a package (Marcus Smart? Terry Rozier?) that brings Lou Williams to Boston. 

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Williams, who is having a career season and is on the short list of Sixth Man of the Year candidates, is averaging a career-best 23.5 points per game and would address the Celtics’ biggest need – another big-time scorer besides Kyrie Irving.

And with Bradley’s arrival and ability to play both ends of the floor, the Clippers might be more inclined to part ways with Williams who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if they can get their first-round pick back and add a young prospect like Smart or Rozier to the fold.

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Marcus Smart remains cautiously optimistic on return to the Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart remains cautiously optimistic on return to the Boston Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. — Marcus Smart, less than two weeks away from becoming a restricted free agent, remains cautiously optimistic that he will be back with the Celtics this season.

“I do,” he said at his basketball camp held on the campus of Brandeis University. “I haven’t put too much thought into this off-season, the free agency thing.

He added, “my number one focus is on my family now. I have a lot of stuff going.”

Specifically, Smart’s mother Camellia Smart is battling cancer.

Smart, who has spent a good chunk of the offseason with her in Texas, said her health has been his number one priority this summer.

“Right now, she needs all the positive thinking we can give her,” said Smart who added that she has three kidney stones and has lost the ability to walk due to chemotherapy treatments. 

While basketball is certainly an afterthought for Smart at this time, both he and the Celtics will have to make some tough decisions soon. As a restricted free agent, the Celtics can match any offer he receives. 

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A number of teams, including the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns are doing their homework on Smart to determine 1) If they want to make an offer to him and 2) what’s a number they can put out there that would dissuade the Celtics from matching.”

Smart, selected by the Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, has been a mainstay in the Celtics rotation from the moment he joined the team.

Despite often being criticized for his poor shooting, Smart averaged 9.4 points per game throughout his career as a Celtic, appearing in 251 regular season games.

His impact most nights lies at the defensive end of the floor where he has emerged as one of the better on-the-ball defenders in the NBA.

And while most think of good perimeter defense as contesting shots, Smart has shown you can be a difference-maker defensively by being in the right position at the right time as well.

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After rallying back from a 26-point deficit to beat Houston earlier this season, Smart drew a pair of offensive fouls on inbounds plays against James Harden in the closing moments to help secure the win.

And there have been countless dives on the floor for loose balls, deflections, rebounds and of course forcing turnovers, that have made Smart a player that has tremendous value in the eyes of the Celtics.

But in terms of dollars and cents, how much is Smart really worth to the Boston?

There are several teams in the NBA  such as the New York Knicks and Detroit Piston s, that are making calls inquiring about Smart to determine if they will make an offer to the restricted free agent-to-be next month.

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