Celtics

NBA Rumors: Grizzlies' Mike Conley trade talks heating up; Jazz a front-runner

NBA Rumors: Grizzlies' Mike Conley trade talks heating up; Jazz a front-runner

Anthony Davis was the first NBA trade domino to fall. Could Mike Conley be next?

The Memphis Grizzlies "are intensifying talks" to potentially trade their veteran point guard, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday.

While Conley hasn't been tied to the Celtics, the 31-year-old could be on Boston's radar if Kyrie Irving departs in free agency and Terry Rozier goes elsewhere in restricted free agency.

But Charania reports Memphis has "been in conversations" with the Utah Jazz, who are "a front-runner" to land Conley if the Grizzlies trade him before Thursday's NBA Draft.

Conley is set to make $32.5 million next season, so any team would need to clear serious cap space to acquire him. A Conley trade with Boston would involve the Celtics moving either Gordon Hayward or Al Horford, or the far-fetched option of a sign-and-trade with Irving.

If the Jazz do trade for Conley, it essentially guarantees current point guard Ricky Rubio will sign elsewhere in unrestricted free agency. Rubio recently mentioned Boston as a potential free-agent destination, so Conley-to-Utah might add more fuel to that fire as the Celtics explore their options after missing out on Anthony Davis.

Either way, the C's will be monitoring Memphis' movements closely, as Boston owns the Grizzlies' first-round pick in 2020 that transfers to an unprotected first-rounder in 2021 if they land a top-six pick.

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Why Brad Stevens' letter was so important to Semi Ojeleye, Celtics

Why Brad Stevens' letter was so important to Semi Ojeleye, Celtics

Brad Stevens made the effort to create an open dialog with his players, and it didn't go unnoticed.

The Boston Celtics head coach wrote a letter to his team over the weekend following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last Monday when Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The intent of Stevens' letter was to tell his Black players that while he can't pretend to know their pain, he supports them as they attempt to combat racial inequality and police brutality.

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Stevens' intent rang true for Celtics wing Semi Ojeyele, who joined NBC Sports Boston's "Arbella Early Edition" on Wednesday night to say he appreciated his coach's letter.

"It's everyone's issue," Ojeyele said. "We're all together on this. ... Having him be able to reach out to us -- he didn't have to do that -- to take the time, the thought, the energy to let us know that he's with us in any way that he can help is big. We know that we have his support and we're going to need it if we're going to change this thing."

The Celtics have actively participated in calling for change in the past week: Jaylen Brown helped lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta last weekend, while Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier joined a protest Sunday in Boston.

They've been so active in part because they know their coach supports them -- not just with empty gestures but with real conviction, according to Ojeleye.

"For me it just means that he's actually what he talks about," Ojeleye said. "He talks about family, he talks about being together, he talks about having each others' backs in more than just basketball, and this was a great moment for him to show the kind of character that he has.

"Obviously he didn't have to take the time to do that. The letter was real. It was something that, you could tell he took the time to think about, 'How can I show these players I support them?' When he did that, I think everyone knew that Coach has our back. The organization has our back, and the city is thinking about how we can make a change as well."

Check out the video player above to hear Ojeleye's full comments about Stevens.

Danny Ainge reflects on talk with Celtics players after George Floyd's death

Danny Ainge reflects on talk with Celtics players after George Floyd's death

The Boston Celtics are presenting unified front amid the wave of protests that have followed George Floyd's death.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tweeted Wednesday night that he had a positive phone conversation with his team that led him to observe how proud he is of his players.

Ainge tagged Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward in the tweet, which included the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

The Celtics have actively participated in protests to demand an end to racial injustice and police brutality after a Minneapolis police officer murdered Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed African-American man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

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Brown drove 15 hours to his home state of Georgia last weekend to help lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta,  while Smart, Kanter and Vincent Poirier joined a protest in Boston on Sunday.

Tatum, Ojeleye, Walker and Hayward all have been active on social media calling attention to racial inequality and standing in solidarity with their teammates.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has supported his players' activism, as well, expressing that support in a letter he gave to the players last week.

It appears Ainge also has communicated with his players as the C's continue to show cohesion and unity during a divisive time in America.