Celtics Rumors

Latest On Darius Garland

While Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are viewed as virtual locks to follow Zion Williamson off the board on draft night, point guard Darius Garland is still receiving serious consideration at No. 3, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). A source tells Givony that Garland will be conducting a last-minute workout with the Knicks tomorrow.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), there are people around the NBA who believe it’s a mistake to view this as a three-player draft, since that view discounts Garland. There are even some evaluators who consider Garland 2019’s second-best prospect, Smith adds. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) has also heard rave reviews for Garland from various league sources.

A source tells Givony (Twitter link) that Garland is 100% healthy again after undergoing knee surgery in November, and should be fine to participate in Summer League play. Garland’s private pre-draft workouts have been impressive, per Givony, who names the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Bulls that have worked out the 19-year-old.

Despite his rising stock, Garland is still unlikely to crack the top three ahead of Morant or Barrett. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the Knicks are doing their due diligence on the former Vanderbilt point guard.

However, Garland is also receiving plenty of interest at No. 4, Givony notes. According to Givony, the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Bulls are among the teams that have considered the possibility of trading up to No. 4, with Garland in mind. The Pelicans currently hold the fourth overall pick as a result of the Anthony Davis blockbuster with the Lakers.

The Hawks are also among the teams that have aggressively explored trading up, using the Nos. 8 and 10 overall picks, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Givony writes that the Knicks rebuffed that package for No. 3, but the Pelicans may be considering it for No. 4. It’s not clear which player the Hawks, who have promising young point guard Trae Young under contract long-term, would be targeting.

Al Horford Won’t Exercise 2019/20 Player Option

Celtics center Al Horford won’t pick up the 2019/20 player option on his contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Horford is on track to reach unrestricted free agency.

If Horford had exercised his option for next season, it would have locked in his $30,123,015 salary. Instead, he’ll negotiate a new deal with Boston or a new team. Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that Horford and the Celtics have mutual interest in working out a new agreement in free agency.

While there has been an expectation all along that Horford and the Celtics will continue their relationship, either via his player option or a longer-term deal, the new level of uncertainty about the future in Boston has rival teams feeling more optimistic about making a run at the veteran big man, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The Celtics’ original Plan A for this offseason was to lock up Kyrie Irving on a new contract and swing a deal for Anthony Davis. However, with Davis headed to Los Angeles and Irving’s future in Boston looking more tenuous than ever – Kyrie seems to have “essentially ghosted” the team, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe – the franchise’s direction is no longer clear.

Retaining Horford will be crucial for the Celtics after another season in which he served as the roster’s frontcourt anchor. He was limited to 68 games due to injury and his numbers (13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, and a .535 FG%) don’t necessarily jump off the page, but the 33-year-old was a linchpin on defense and an important screen-setter and pick-and-pop weapon on offense.

If the Celtics and Horford can work out a longer-term agreement that starts closer to $20MM, it should allow the team to re-sign Terry Rozier and have access to the full mid-level exception this offseason, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. As Marks points out (via Twitter), the club could also clear up to about $27MM in cap room, but that would mean renouncing Horford and Rozier along with Irving and Marcus Morris, which probably isn’t realistic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Horford, Rozier, Draft

The Celtics might have been willing to include Jayson Tatum in a trade for Anthony Davis, but they never would have matched the offer that the Lakers made for the Pelicans’ star, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Acquiring Davis was less risky for L.A. because of the likelihood he will re-sign there when he opts out of his current contract.

Boston was among the teams trying to work out a deal for Davis, but the offers never matched what was speculated when it seemed there was a chance to pair him with Kyrie Irving, Bulpett adds. With Irving believed to be headed for Brooklyn, the Celtics were wary about mortgaging their future when Davis had the option to leave after one season.

There’s more this morning from Boston:

  • The Celtics are trying to work out a longer-term deal with Al Horford, who must decide by tomorrow whether to opt into a $30.1MM salary for next season, Bulpett reports in the same story. The team is offering to add two years to Horford’s current deal if he agrees to accept a lower salary for 2019/20. Horford, who turned 33 this month, is one of the few veteran leaders on what’s shaping up to be a very young team next year. He is coming off another productive season, posting a 13.6/6.7/4.2 line in 68 games.
  • Restricted free agent Terry Rozier won’t have nearly the value on the open market that he would have last year, notes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. A rival executive told Mannix that Rozier could have commanded $18-$20MM annually if he had reached free agency after leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2018. Interest has fallen after Rozier experienced an uneven season while trying to adjust to a backup role again. The Celtics will have added incentive to keep him with Irving expected to leave. “I’m a big fan of Terry’s,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said recently. “I think that if Terry was in the right circumstance and the right role, I think he would love playing in Boston, in my opinion. And if not, then I think Terry would let me know that. But Terry and I have a very good relationship, as Terry does with (coach) Brad (Stevens) as well.”
  • The failure to land Davis makes it more likely that the Celtics will hold onto all three of their first-round selections, states Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). Boston has picks at No. 14, 20 and 22.

Examining Celtics' Next Steps After Losing Out On Anthony Davis

  • The Celtics’ plans have been altered in the wake of the Lakers-Pelicans trade for Anthony Davis, Jay King of The Athletic writes. Boston suddenly has an unclear future, dominated by the fact that star guard Kyrie Irving could leave the team in free agency and sign elsewhere. The team is also awaiting a decision from Al Horford, who must inform the franchise of whether he plans to exercise his $30.1MM player option for the 2019/20 season.

More On Anthony Davis-To-Lakers Trade Agreement

Just days after the NBA Finals and less than a week before the annual draft, the Pelicans and Lakers shook up the basketball world with one of the biggest blockbusters in league history. New Orleans agreed to trade disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft.

We have more details and developments regarding the trade, which can’t be made official until next month.

  • The other two first-rounders the Pelicans will receive are a top-8 protected pick in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected pick in 2024. New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and 2025, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.
  • The Pelicans are already receiving significant interest in the fourth overall pick, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Ingram is expected to get back on the court next month and be ready for training camp, according to Wojnarowski. He did not play after March 2 due to a blood clot in his right shoulder.
  • ESPN Jonathan Givony updated his mock draft in the aftermath of the deal, with Texas Tech shooting guard  Jarrett Culver going to New Orleans at No. 4, Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland heading to the Cavaliers at No. 5, North Carolina shooting guard  Coby White ticketed to the Suns at No. 6 and Virginia power forward  De’Andre Hunter winding up with the Bulls at No. 7 (Twitter link).
  • Former Lakers president Magic Johnson, who called GM Rob Pelinka a backstabber in a recent TV interview, praised his former front office partner after the deal. Johnson tweeted, “Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done.”
  • The Celtics’ chances of re-signing free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving took a major hit with Davis heading to L.A. instead of Boston, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • New Orleans will have $18.8MM in cap space after the trade is finalized, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.
  • LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, called the trade “the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life” and guarantees they won’t win another championship, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

Draft Updates: Oni, Langford, Bitadze, Bone, Harris

Yale wing Miye Oni returned to the Bucks’ practice facility for a second workout on Saturday, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Oni averaged 17.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 APG during his junior season. The 6’6” Oni is hoping to become the first Ivy Leaguer drafted since 1995, Schultz adds.

We have more draft info:

  • Indiana freshman swingman Romeo Langford is meeting with the Heat this weekend, Schultz reports in another tweet. Miami possesses the No. 13 pick and Langford is ranked No. 14 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • International prospect Goga Bitadze is visiting the Celtics, Pistons and Hornets in the days leading up to Thursday’s draft. according to a tweet from Hawks website writer Kevin Chouinard. The 6’11” Bitadze, 19, led the EuroLeague and Adriatic League in blocks on both a per-game and per-minute basis. He is ranked No. 17 overall by Givony.
  • The Wizards worked out Tennessee guard Jordan Bone on Saturday, according to a team press release. The point guard is No. 56 on Givony’s list.
  • Forward Terry Harris worked out for the Knicks on Thursday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. He also visited the Nets this week and will work out for the Mavericks and Jazz, Bondy adds in another tweet. He played for North Carolina A&T in his senior year, averaging 8.1 PPG. He is the younger brother of Sixers free agent forward Tobias Harris.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Is Pursuing A RFA Worth The Risk For Sixers?

The Sixers have said that their primary plan this summer is to re-sign both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. But, it’s been reported that both players are open to looking at other options (the Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, and Nets come to mind).

If Butler or Harris end up signing elsewhere, Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, or Celtics guard Terry Rozier could be other options for Philadelphia. But, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes, pursuing a restricted free agent complicates matters.

In order to submit an offer sheet to Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier, the Sixers would first need to create the requisite cap space necessary to sign one of them. The cap holds of Butler and Harris combined with the 2019/20 salaries of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons eat up just under $88.5MM of a projected $109MM cap, leaving a little more than $20.5MM in cap space. Adding in the $1MM in guaranteed salary owed to Jonathan Simmons, the salaries for Zhaire Smith and Jonah Bolden, and six incomplete roster holds equates to about $99.6MM.

Therefore, even if the Sixers renounced all of their free agents besides Butler and Harris (which seems unlikely given they would ideally like to re-sign J.J. Redick as well), renounced all their exceptions, and traded the No. 24 overall pick, they’d still only have about $9.4MM in cap space, which is likely not enough to offer Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier a contract commensurate with their value.

As such, the Sixers would ultimately need to also renounce their rights to Harris or Butler in order to pursue one of the aforementioned guards. They won’t do this with Butler, so it would have to be Harris. But here’s the risk: even if the Sixers negotiate a deal with Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier right at 6:00pm on June 30, the Bucks, Nets, or Celtics (all Eastern Conference rivals to the Sixers) would have until 12:00pm on July 8 – two days after the July moratorium ends – to decide whether to match the Sixers’ offer for Brogdon.

In other words, the two-day deadline to match an offer sheet does not commence until the moratorium is over, and you can be sure Milwaukee, Boston, or Brooklyn would take all of their allotted time. During the time period between the Sixers’ agreement with Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier and the opposing team’s ultimate decision – 7 days and 18 hours – the Sixers’ cap space would be completely tied up. It’s entirely possible that both Harris and Redick sign elsewhere during this time, as deals often get done at a breakneck speed during the first week of free agency.

If the Bucks, Nets, or Celtics decline to match, no harm done. But what if they match the offer sheet? The Sixers are left with a relatively significant amount of cap space with no free agents left to sign. And even if Harris and Redick are still available, they may be frustrated/resentful by the Sixers’ decision to go after Brogdon, Russell, or Rozier at their expense.

Ultimately, a decision like this comes down to how much the Sixers like the player for whom they’re incurring the risk. If the Sixers think Brogdon, Russell, Rozier, or any other restricted free agent can put them over the top, the risk may be worthwhile. If the player being pursued is just another piece, however, the risk is probably too much to bear.

Russell Unlikely To Stay If Irving Signs With Nets

D’Angelo Russell is highly unlikely to remain with the Nets if Kyrie Irving signs with Brooklyn, sources told Ian Begley of SNY TV.

The Nets are considered the favorites to land the Celtics’ point guard, though there’s no indication that other potential suitors have been ruled out, Begley continues.

The Nets can open up as much as $66MM of cap space to sign two major free agents if they renounce Russell’s rights. They can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.16MM qualifying offer but renouncing him would clear his $21MM cap hold.

The Pacers, who are shopping for a point guard, are keenly interested in Russell, Begley adds. The Magic, Timberwolves and Jazz are also expected to pursue him in free agency.

Begley’s story contradicts a previous report that suggested the Nets were willing to pair up Russell and Irving as their starting backcourt.