Celtics

Thomas reached out to Ainge for possible return to Celtics

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Thomas reached out to Ainge for possible return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas is a Denver Nugget now, having signed a one-year, $2 million veteran's minimum contract to re-establish his value in hopes of getting his free-agent payoff next year.

But he almost did that re-establishment in a very familiar place.

In an extensive interview with ESPN's Adrian Wojnaowski, Thomas said he reached out to Danny Ainge and, in the course of their 15- to 20-minute conversation said: "If the opportunity is there, I would just like to let you know that I'd love to come back" to the Celtics.

(He told the same thing to our own A. Sherrod Blakely just before signing with Denver.)

According to Wojnaowski, Ainge "was open to the idea" but had to wait until Marcus Smart's restricted-free-agency situation was settled. By the time it was -- last Friday -- Thomas had joined the Nuggets.

"S---, I'd have gone back," Thomas told Wojnaowski. "I don't hold grudges."

The ironic part is, it was his last games in a Celtic uniform that probably prevented from getting the money he thought he'd be getting in free agency this summer.

"If I didn't play in the playoffs (in 2017, when his hip injury became worse), I'd be OK," Thomas told Wojnaowski. "I'd be getting paid. I'd be who I am -- who I was. But you couldn't tell me in that moment in time -- with everything I was going through -- that, OK, I should just sit out. I don't think Boston went about it the right way, as well.

"But at the same time, it was hard for me to sit out. I just lost my sister, one of the closest people in my life. Basketball was the only thing that was going to help me out. I played until I literally couldn't play anymore. And that was not a good business decision if I was looking in the long term, but I was looking in the 'right now.' That's just what it was.

"They probably would've traded me anyway. But I would've been in position to show my worth, and last year I was never in position to show my worth."
 

Has Brad Stevens finally found his 'microwave' in Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards?

Has Brad Stevens finally found his 'microwave' in Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards?

Maybe fellow rookie Tremont Waters best summed up what it was like to watch Carsen Edwards erupt for eight third-quarter 3-pointers in the Celtics' exhibition finale Tuesday night in Cleveland.

“I didn’t want to get burnt, so I tried to stay away from him,” Waters (half-) joked to reporters.

Edwards scored 26 third-quarter points behind his 3-point barrage, all of which came in little more than a five-minute span. Maybe more staggering was the distance of his 3-point makes in the quarter, including four of 30-plus feet and an average distance of 29.1 feet on the eight makes.

Edwards nearly matched Klay Thompson’s regular-season record of nine 3-pointers in a quarter. He did match Boston’s regular-season record of nine 3-pointers in a game, a feat accomplished by both Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was present for Thomas’ outburst and Edwards’ offensive explosion still left him searching for the right words.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that,” Stevens told reporters in Cleveland. "Those were deep, hard 3s. And how many? Eight? In like five minutes? I've never seen anything like that. I don't know that I have any reference points. He was pretty special.”

For his part, Edward shrugged off his part. He credited his teammates with finding him open shots. He suggested that he slipped into a similar shooting zone against top-seeded Virginia during the NCAA Tournament (that day, Edwards scored 42 points on 14-of-25 shooting with ten 3-pointers as Purdue nearly produced the upset).

What Stevens liked best was how Edwards, who took a hard shot to the nose in the opening minutes of the game, shook off an uneven first half to erupt in the second.

"I think the most encouraging part of the whole performance was I didn't think he was very good in the first half. And for him to be able to recenter and play and come out of the gates like that in the second, that's a great thing for a coach to learn about somebody,” Stevens told reporters. "Sometimes guys don't have it on a given night ... but you always know that he's probably one time from hitting the net away from getting hot.

"He lives on heat checks.”

The bigger picture here for the Celtics is that, in summer league and the preseason, Edwards has shown that his scoring skills should translate to the NBA. He might just be the microwave bench scoring option that the team has long coveted in the Stevens era.

It’s fair to want to see it in regular-season play. But it would also seem logical that Edwards might see even easier shots if he’s got talents such as Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward on the court and opposing teams can’t send their best defenders at him.

Not that it would deter him, anyhow. In the preseason, 31 of Edwards’ 43 field goal attempts came beyond the arc. He shot 45.2 percent from 3-point land and 51.2 percent overall. He scored 61 points in 73 minutes and the Celtics had an offensive rating of 112.6 when he was on the court.

Edwards’ usage percentage was 28.8 percent this preseason, a number driven slightly higher by his six turnovers. Still, he accounted for a staggering 34.1 percent of Boston’s points in his floor time.

This suggests that he won’t be particularly bashful when Stevens puts him into regular-season games. There’s backup guard minutes to be had with the departure of Terry Rozier and Edwards will get plenty of reps if he shoots like he has since arriving in Boston.

It’s a good sign for Boston if players like Waters need a bit of zinc oxide to combat any burns they get from being too close to Edwards moving forward.

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Injury bug (concussion-like symptoms) bites Celtics' Robert Williams at worst time again

Injury bug (concussion-like symptoms) bites Celtics' Robert Williams at worst time again

Boston Celtics second-year center Robert Williams displayed concussion-like symptoms after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face in the first quarter of Tuesday’s preseason finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love smacked Williams with an elbow as the two chased a rebound and Williams hit the ground hard, where he remained while play continued back up the court.

The team announced Williams will be re-evaluated on Wednesday in Boston.

"Robert was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters in Cleveland. "I don't know what that means. Obviously, we're concerned about his health. He’ll get with the doctors one more time before we take off here.”

Williams was getting his second start of the preseason but played only 3 scoreless minutes. In a new-look frontcourt, Williams had a chance this preseason to really state his case for available playing time, this after a summer in which coaches raved about his progress, but the injury derailed his best chance to assert himself.

It continues a trend from last season where minor ailments seemed to prevent Williams from having a chance to pounce on available minutes.

Williams registered 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 33 preseason minutes. He looked overly amped in his first start against Charlotte and played in only small bursts while coming off the bench in the two games that followed.

It would seem Daniel Theis best positioned himself for starter minutes if the Celtics ultimately elect to utilize Enes Kanter off the bench. A healthy Williams can distinguish himself with not only his raw athleticism but his passing abilities. Rookie Vincent Poirer, a French import this summer, logged some quality defensive minutes this preseason that could help his case for immediate floor time.

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