Celtics

NBA rumors: Celtics not only team interested in trading for No. 4 pick

NBA rumors: Celtics not only team interested in trading for No. 4 pick

The New Orleans Pelicans appear to have several potential suitors for the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a selection they acquired as part of the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend.

The Boston Celtics reportedly are interested in acquiring the No. 4 pick, but they aren't alone. The Atlanta Hawks, the only team besides the Pelicans with multiple top-10 picks, also covet the No. 4 selection. Here's the latest update on the Hawks' pursuit of moving up in the lottery.

The Celtics have three first-round picks at No. 14, No. 20 and No. 22. Those selections obviously don't have as much value as Atlanta's first-rounders, but the C's also have talented young players (including Jaylen Brown) and future picks (including a valuable Memphis Grizzlies protected first-rounder) to offer in potential trade packages for the No. 4 selection.

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Boston reportedly is targeting Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland if it were to acquire the No. 4 pick. The other popular names for that range in the draft include Duke guard R.J. Barrett, North Carolina guard Coby White, Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver and Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter. Duke forward Zion Williamson and the Murray State guard Ja Morant are the consensus top two picks. 

The 2019 draft class has been labeled as top heavy by many experts, so it's not surprising teams outside the top five are looking to move up.

Trading up in the lottery isn't the only path for the Celtics to pursue before the draft happens Thursday night. They reportedly "will be in on" a possible Mike Conley trade, and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal reportedly is a "prime option" for Boston following its failure to acquire Davis from the Pelicans.

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Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

Amid the frontcourt makeover that the Boston Celtics underwent this offseason following the departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes, the re-signing of Daniel Theis flew quietly under the radar.

The addition of “Plan A” big man Enes Kanter, the importation of French big man Vincent Poirier, and the progress of second-year rim-rocker Robert Williams drew most of the headlines. Theis, who quietly re-signed to a two-year, $10 million deal, was a bit of an afterthought.

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But it was Theis who played the most consistent two-way ball of the preseason, positioning himself to be a potential starter even if coach Brad Stevens elects to mix and match his bigs based on matchups.

It’s a successful season for Theis if… 

… Stevens leans on the German's versatility. One of the few bigs capable of both rim running and popping beyond the 3-point line, Theis can complement mosts players he’s paired with. Theis shot 38.8 percent beyond the 3-point arc last season and, further removed from the meniscus injury that ended his rookie campaign, he seems springier when lobs come his way. Now in his third season in Boston, Theis has a head start on the rest of the big-man stable and might just parlay that into a workload that exceeds the 900 minutes he’s played each of his first two seasons.

It’s a disappointing season for Theis if… 

… he doesn’t make the sort of strides that allow Stevens to play him against the beefier bigs like Joel Embiid, who often bullied Theis last season. Theis is a solid positional defender but he can’t allow himself to get pushed around near the hoop. Ultimately, that defensive consistency might just dictate his playing time.

2019-2020 Outlook

It’s Theis, Theis, baby. His defensive rating last season was similar to Baynes in comparable minutes. Even as Stevens toys with the idea of playing his bigs in short bursts, Theis will have an opportunity to assert his claim to a much bigger role this season. It’s easy to forget how good he was playing before the meniscus injury in 2018. But he won’t be overlooked this season with the Celtics eager to find a consistent two-way option at the big-man spot.

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Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Kemba Walker hasn't been Jaylen Brown's teammate for very long; the two players haven't even played a regular-season game together yet.

But after getting an up-close look at Brown during FIBA World Cup play, training camp, and the preseason, Walker likes what he sees from Brown, who inked a four-year contract extension worth up to $115 million on Monday afternoon.

The deal comes just three and a half months after Walker signed a $141 million contract with Boston — and to Walker, this latest deal reaffirms the franchise's commitment to winning.

“I know what these guys are all about, man, and this organization, they want to win,” Walker told Jared Weiss of The Athletic Monday afternoon. “You have to invest in the players, and Jaylen, he deserves it. I’m super, super happy for him.”

Had Brown not signed on the dotted line Monday, he would've been a restricted free agent next summer. But now he can play out the season with job security instead of potentially getting distracted by questions about playing for a new contract.

“I’m not saying Jaylen would do it, but it can be hard for a guy to be playing for a contract just for one year,” said Walker, who marveled at Brown's intelligence on the court. “He could’ve not took it and played the year out to showcase himself to other teams or even the Celtics again. Now it’s just less pressure. Now he really can just play basketball, work on his game and just continue to get better without worrying about his contract situation. I think it’s a huge burden off his back.”

It sure looked like there was a burden off both Brown and Danny Ainge's backs when the pen was put to paper Monday. Brown posted a picture of the big moment on the Instagram page for 7uice, his official brand. 

Brown's big week continues Wednesday when the Celtics open the season against the 76ers — and then on Thursday, when he celebrates his 23rd birthday.

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