Celtics

NBA trade rumors: Celtics "will be in on" Grizzlies star Mike Conley

NBA trade rumors: Celtics "will be in on" Grizzlies star Mike Conley

The Boston Celtics will need to find a new starting point guard if Kyrie Irving leaves the franchise in NBA free agency over the coming weeks, and one option for the C's to consider is making a trade for Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley.

The Grizzlies point guard has been linked to trade rumors for months, and those reports have surfaced with more frequency ever since Memphis won the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery, which gives them the chance to select Murray State's Ja Morant as the team's new point guard of the future.

The Athletic's Jordan Brenner reported Tuesday an update on Conley's situation, and that Boston will at least be in the mix for his services.

The Celtics will be in on Mike Conley, but Utah, Indiana and Detroit are all lining up trade offers too. And they’ll likely have the full mid-level exception to work with, which starts at $9.2 million. They could use that to add a veteran point guard to pair with Rozier—Darren Collison, Delon Wright, Patrick Beverley and Tomas Satoransky could be available at that price range, while Cory Joseph should come cheaper. If they end up dealing frontcourt pieces for Beal or Conley, and Marcus Morris walks, they could use the midlevel to land a forward from a group that includes Ariza, Gay, Maxi Kleber, Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood, says a league source.

Conley is a good player and had a solid season for a disappointing Grizzlies team in 2018-19. He averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists and shot 36.4 percent from 3-point range. 

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The problem with Conley is two-fold. He'll be 32 years old in October, and his contract is not team friendly. He's set to make a little more than $32 million next season, and he has a player option for 2020-21 worth more than $34 million, per Spotrac.

Conley has never averaged seven or more assists per game in a season, and he's scored 20-plus points per game in just two seasons. The 12-year veteran has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point land only twice. The Celtics shouldn't give up valuable trade assets for a 31-year-old veteran who's not a great shooter or playmaker and also makes a ton of money. It just doesn't make much sense. Re-signing backup point guard Terry Rozier is a better option for Boston than pursuing Conley. 

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Celtics' Kara Lawson accepts Duke women's basketball head coach job

Celtics' Kara Lawson accepts Duke women's basketball head coach job

UPDATE (1:40 p.m. ET): Duke officially announced Kara Lawson as its next women's basketball head coach Saturday on social media.

-- End of update -- 

Kara Lawson indeed won't return for a second season with the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics assistant coach has accepted the Duke women's basketball head coaching job, NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely has confirmed. 

The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn first reported Saturday that Lawson accepted the Duke job, which became available after Blue Devils head coach Joanne McAllie announced last week she wouldn't return for a 14th season.

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Lawson made history last July when the Celtics hired her as the first female assistant coach in franchise history. The former University of Tennessee star and 13-year WNBA veteran -- who also served as an ESPN analyst after her WNBA career -- now can add "head coach" to her impressive basketball résumé.

Lawson also will break a barrier at Duke as the first Black head coach in the women's basketball program's history. If her comments last July are any indication, the Virginia native will work tirelessly to restore the Blue Devils to prominence after they failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

"My mindset is being the first to do something is great; I want to be the best," Lawson said after joining the Celtics. “I don’t want to be the best of my gender. I want to be the best in the league."

Enes Kanter Show: C's center gives first impressions of NBA bubble | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Why Jayson Tatum believes Celtics have 'realistic' shot at NBA title

Why Jayson Tatum believes Celtics have 'realistic' shot at NBA title

All-Star forward Jayson Tatum believes the Boston Celtics have a "realistic" chance of winning the NBA title inside the Disney bubble and isn’t surprised by how bullish those within the organization have been about their chances to contend.

"I think that's the mentality you should have,” Tatum said during a Zoom conference with reporters after Boston’s workout on Saturday morning. "I've never been on a team in my life -- whether it was high school or college or since I have been on the Celtics -- where I didn't think we should settle for like third place. 

"I always thought, that's why we played, to be the last team standing, so I think automatically we have that mindset, and we have a realistic chance. We have the talent, the experience, the depth, and we compete with the best of them. We scrap, we play defense, and our mindset is to never give up. We have a lot of guys who have been through a lot with each other, been through a lot of battles over the last couple years, so we hold each other accountable, trust each other, and we're going to fight 'til there's zero on the clock.”

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The Celtics enter the restart sitting third in the Eastern Conference but have a chance to chase Toronto for the No. 2 spot during the seeding games. Enes Kanter said the team hasn’t talked much about seeding, putting an emphasis on simply being healthy when the games matter most.

But, like Tatum, he’s bullish on Boston’s chances.

"I feel like we have enough talent to beat every team on every floor,” said Kanter. "The only thing I would care about is if my guys are healthy or not. Right now, everybody is healthy, everybody is going out, just trying to get in the best shape. I feel like, man, Celtics can beat every team on every floor, so we are not worrying about who we are going to face, or who are we not going to face. 

"We’re just going out there and just show the world because, beginning of the season, man, there was so many haters out there. There was so many doubters out there that were saying that the Celtics were not going to be the best. Celtics are not going to do it this year. I feel like we’ve proved them wrong already but our job is not done yet. We just need to go out there and finish the job and show the whole world we got what we need.”

After their initial quarantine in their Disney hotel, the Celtics held practice sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Players said it delivered a little bit of normalcy in a unique situation.

"Just being able to practice with all the guys, get after it,” said Tatum. "It’s been so long since we got to be in the gym all together. So it’s been fun. We’re all enjoying it, getting back into the rhythm. So we’re having a lot of fun.”

Tatum, who will be key to Boston’s success inside the bubble, said he focused on his body while the season was paused. Asked if had added muscle mass to his frame, Tatum got a bit coy.

“I did. But it’s not for public knowledge,” said Tatum. "I can't tell everybody my secrets.”

Enes Kanter Show: C's center gives first impressions of NBA bubble | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube