Celtics

Trial over, Morris joins Celtics at last . . . to everyone's delight

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Trial over, Morris joins Celtics at last . . . to everyone's delight

WALTHAM -- The wait is finally over for Marcus Morris, who joined his new team for the first time on Thursday. 

Marcus Morris along with his twin brother Markieff were both acquitted of assault charges on Tuesday, stemming from a January 2015 incident in Phoenix. 
 
Thursday was the first time this season Morris was able to practice with his new teammates. 
 
Morris said it’s “a big relief” to have this finally behind him.
 
“For a second, I felt like it was killing my character,” Morris told reporters on Thursday. “For a lot of people that don’t know me, just to get acquitted of everything . . . now being a Boston Celtic, that’s all I’m looking forward to.”
 
The feeling is mutual. 
 
“He’s going to be a big part of the team this year,” said Mike Zarren, Boston’s assistant general manager. “We’re happy to have him back here.”
 
Even though Morris has just one practice under his belt, coach Brad Stevens said the 6-foot-9 forward will play on Friday at Philadelphia, which is Morris’ hometown. 
 
“I’ll see how he feels. This was his first practice; it was a hard practice,” Stevens said. “He also came in at nine in the morning and went through a series of drills with our younger, younger players. I thought he had a good day.”
 
And while he hasn’t been with the team very long, Stevens was pleased at how well he seemed to pick up things on Thursday. 
 
“You can tell a guy that’s played in the league for a long time; been coached really well at every level,” Stevens said. “We tried to keep him as up to speed over the last 10 days or so. I thought he transitioned pretty smoothly.”
 
Morris added: “Brad’s done a great job of sending guys down to kind of put me through the offensive and defensive principles.”
 
And it is the latter -- defense -- that should get Morris on the floor sooner rather than later, potentially as a starter.
 
“He played a large amount at the three (small forward) for Detroit,” Stevens said. “He’ll play a much bigger amount at the four (power forward) for us.”
 
Despite being a bit undersized to play power forward, the Celtics have no major concerns with putting him there. 
 
“Right off the bat, the things that stand out for him is versatility, physicalness, an element of toughness, a guy that can switch and guard different positions,” said Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry. “Also, being able to help you rebound on the defensive glass. Those things stand out right from the start.”
 
If Morris eventually becomes a starter, Al Horford would slide over to the center position while the rest of the starting five would consist of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and either Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart. 
 
Boston ranked 12th in the NBA in defense last season, but is trying to fill huge voids left by trading away Avery Bradley (to Detroit for Morris) and Jae Crowder (Cleveland).
 
But the addition of Morris will help soften that blow now that his court case is in the past and his future with the Celtics, is about to start.
 
“It was very difficult,” Morris said of not being able to be with the team the first few weeks of training camp. “I love playing basketball. Just for me to come to a new place and not be able to be one of the first guys there, just learning . . . it’s a little though but that’s behind me. I’m ready to play, ready to get going.”

Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Even with three All-Stars in Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge and the Celtics knew that, in order to win a championship, the team needed a strong supporting cast of role players.

Episode Four of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” takes a look at how Ainge constructed the rest of the roster and how one word, “ubuntu,” set the tone for a memorable season.

Giving the team a shooter off the bench, as well as another veteran presence in the locker room, Eddie House was perfect for the 2008 Celtics.

“I remember going to a practice when he was a young player,” said Ainge regarding House. “Just watching him shoot, and shoot, and just amazed at what a great shooter this kid was.”

“I saw him have his 56 and 60 back-to-back point games in the Pac-10 and it was amazing.”

Long a fan of House, Ainge went out and got his guy, but he wasn’t finished yet.

James Posey, a veteran wing who had experience both starting and coming off the bench, was nearing a deal with the Nets, but one call changed everything.

“I actually told my agent, I’ll just go to New Jersey,” said Posey. “Then Eddie House called me.”

House convinced Posey to spurn the Nets in favor of the Celtics, giving Boston another veteran off the pine.

With the roster taking shape, what the team needed now was an identity.

Ubuntu.

Mentioned to Doc Rivers at a trustee meeting at Marquette University, the word that means “I am who I am because of you,” became the team’s mantra.

“I looked this word up and I spent, no exaggeration, hours and days on this word,” said Rivers. “Everything about the word epitomized what we had to be.”

Ubuntu was the rallying cry of the 2008 Celtics and it all started with a Board of Trustees meeting at Marquette.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.

Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Those pesky Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around even before Yahoo's Chris Mannix mentioned the Celtics were "scared" of Kyrie Irving heading there next summer. They picked up steam this week with another report of The Big Apple as a destination for Irving and Jimmy Butler to join forces.

Now, ESPN's NBA Forecast Panel gives the Knicks a slight edge over the Celtics to land Irving, 46.9 percent to  43.8 percent.

Here's part of the panel's explanation on ESPN's "The Jump": 

It would take some salary-cap machinations for New York to lure Irving to play close to where he grew up in West Orange, N.J. They would likely have to risk losing Kristaps Porzingis in free agency next summer by not giving him a big-money extension this season. 

There's also a potential pursuit of Kevin Durant in free agency next summer as the Knicks - playoff-less since 2013 and title-less for 45 years - make another attempt to spend their way back to relevance. 

Irving has made it clear he's not going to cost himself millions by signing an extension with the C's this season ("Contractually, financially, it just doesn’t make any sense”) and is headed to free agency, so, with training camp more than a month away, get used to a season full of questions about his future. And expect the Knicks speculation to heat up before the four C's-Knicks games (Oct. 20 and Feb. 6 in New York and Nov. 21 and Dec. 6 in Boston). 

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