Smart has cemented his place in the USA Basketball pipeline in recent years, especially after helping the under-19 squad win gold at the World Championships in Prague last summer (where he averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.2 assists in nine games). Smart also attended the national team's mini camp last July in Las Vegas.
While the Celtics are confident they secured an impact player with the No. 6 pick in June's draft, USA Basketball's recent confidence in Smart speaks volume about what the national team believes his potential is.
Here's an ESPN blog entry from last summer in advance of USA Basketball's mini camp:
USA Basketball Loves Marcus Smart
Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski always have their list of unimpeachable national team selections, players like LeBron James and Chris Paul. But they are always on the lookout for young talent, too. This is especially true in off-years, when there are no Olympics on the immediate horizon. The net ends up being a win both for USA Basketball and for basketball in the U.S. The number of young players that emerged from the 2010 FIBA World Championships as bona fide NBA stars is a perfect example. This confluence can work for everyone.
From July 22-25, Team USA is holding its annual minicamp in Las Vegas, which will include a handful of closed practices followed by an event-ending showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV. Still one year removed from the 2014 FIBAs, and three years away from the next Olympics, this summer is all about young talent -- collecting it in one place, drilling with Coach K and the rest of Team USA's staff, and starting to think about which group should make up the next young-ish batch of players at the FIBA World Championships.
Naturally, all of these players are in the NBA. There is just one exception: Marcus Smart. [Note: Creighton's Doug McDermott, who is the other rookie on this year's select team, was later added to the minicamp]
Yes, the Oklahoma State rising sophomore -- national freshman and Big 12 player of the year in 2012-13 -- is the only non-NBA player invited to take part in minicamp in Las Vegas this month. Even more impressive: Team USA didn't invite a single player from this year's draft. Everyone else on the list -- which you can see in full here -- has played at least one full season in the NBA, and oftentimes several.
Naturally, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is thrilled with this development.
"We're very excited for Marcus," Ford said in a release. "It's an incredible honor to be the lone college player to be selected. It's a great honor for him and our program. He continues to represent us in a first-class manner, both on and off the court."
And there were plenty of stories like this last summer. From CBS Sports: "Easy to understand why USA Basketball loves Marcus Smart" and from Sports Illustrated: "With USA Basketball, Marcus Smart gets a taste of the dream he deferred."
Much like with Kelly Olynyk getting international game reps with Canada's men's national program during its 11-game exhibition slate overseas, it can seemingly only help Boston's young talent to get national team exposure this early in their NBA careers. Yes, there's always the risk of injury, but the experience almost certainly outweighs that danger.
[Related reading: Marcus Smart is outhustling his demons]
• Young C's in gym: The Celtics offer a behind-the-scenes video look at strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo putting the team's younger players through summer workouts.
• Decisions, decisions: CeltisHub contributor Michael Pina examines Rajon Rondo's uncertain future for Sports on Earth.
• View from LaLaLand: The Lakers have offered their head coaching job to Byron Scott. An ESPN panel examines L.A.'s offseason.
(h/t: @ByJayKing on Faverani story)
Boston Celtics second-year forward Kelly Olynyk is expected to get additional offseason game reps as a member of Canada's senior men's basketball team.
Olynyk reported for camp earlier this week in Toronto before the team, which did not qualify for this year's World Cup in Spain, instead traveled to Slovenia to open an 11-game European exhibition schedule on Thursday.
Olynyk, a Toronto native who grew up in Kamloops, British Columbia, did not play for the national team last summer while sidelined by a case of plantar fasciitis. He did attend camp with the national team and expressed a desire to compete for his county.
"They had me in there for a week or so, just to be and feel a part of [the national program] and to have that chemistry and bond," Olynyk said last summer. "I would love to [compete for Canada]. It's a real sense of pride and passion to play for your country and have your country across chest. It's something I want to do in the future."
With basketball in Canada experiencing a bit of a boom, Olynyk has potential to be part of a senior national team that's being infused with young NBA talent (though the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Nik Stauskas, and Tyler Ennis were not expected to participate in this year's exhibition slate).
Meeting with reporters earlier this week in Toronto, Olynyk said of the national team's goals this summer: "We’re just trying to come together as a team, build chemistry, putting in a system where we’re not worried about wins and losses, as much as getting experience and trying to get better. I think we definitely have a better situation. It’s a win-win situation. [Playing in the World Championships in Spain] would have been great, but with the challenge ahead of us, we expect to tackle it."
Olynyk's father, Ken, previously coached Canada's junior national program and Olynyk asked about having a coach for a dad.
"He definitely offers me some advice," said Olynyk. "I’ve learned almost everything I know from him, so he’s definitely done his part in me being who I am, and making me the player I am."
(h/t: Red's Army for finding video of Olynyk)
If next season is heavy on development, the Celtics will have no desire to pax luxury tax, and avoiding the tax for a second straight season sets them up well to avoid stiff repeater penalties when they do launch back to contender status.
Before the start of the regular season, Boston must trim at least three bodies to get to the league maximum of 15, but must also consider giving itself some additional room -- both in terms of available salary below the tax line and roster space -- for potential in-season moves, particularly when future-minded bodies might become available at discounted rates.
So how can Boston trim the necessary space? A few options and ideas:
THE EASY ROUTE
Boston still has three nonguaranteed contracts totaling about $7 million headlined by the long-since excused Keith Bogans. If unable to cut costs in any other way, Boston could simply waive Bogans, Chris Babb, and Chris Johnson to get to 15 players and a salary safely below the tax line.
While this is the easiest route, it's not ideal. Bogans' nonguaranteed deal has potential to be a key trade asset, allowing Boston to offer a trading partner immediate salary-cap relief. Bogans got a monster raise while being a sign-and-trade inclusion in last summer's swap with the Brooklyn Nets and Boston stomached that salary because (1) it could do such in a rebuilding season and (2) that value was likely to be reimbursed in the future trade market. Simply waiving Bogans doesn't maximize his return. We'd go so far as to suggest that, if Boston can trim in other ways, it' be better to carry Bogans into the season as an invisible 15th man than to trim his deal now. The other downside here is parting ways with Johnson, a player that really endeared himself to the Celtics' coaching staff last season and who is playing on a team-friendly, long-term deal (though his minutes likely decreased with the addition of Turner and first-round pick James Young).
Tax payments are not calculated until after the season, so Boston doesn't necessarily have to trim to below the tax line to start the year. The Celtics could waive Babb and Johnson and look to make some sort of 2-for-1 trade that could get the team to 15 bodies while staying, say, $2 million above the tax line to start the season.
Because Bogans' contract doesn't become guaranteed until January, the Celtics would still have a safety net. The more difficult part might be finding a trade partner that can take on two players and willing to give back one (and that player would ideally be on a nonguaranteed deal or at the very least an expiring contract).
One option Boston ought to consider that wouldn't muddy up their books too badly and would offer some immediate relief: Utilizing the stretch provision on Joel Anthony.
Yes, the Celtics could try to find a team with the necessary trade exception or cap space to take on Anthony's $3.6 million salary in exchange for a draft pick, but using the stretch provision is a decent fallback route that could help protect draft picks or other assets like Bogans' contract. And let's face it, there's a reason Anthony triggered a $3.6 million player option to return to Boston: He wasn't getting that money anywhere else.
The stretch provision allows a team to waive a player and spread their remaining salary over twice the length of the contract plus one season. So Boston could waive Anthony and pay him a modest $1.2 million for the next three seasons. The idea of dead money on your books is never ideal and simply eating that $3.6 million this season, while rebuilding, is a more better situation. But Boston would generate $2.4 million in immediate savings and, coupled with releasing Babb and Johnson, could seemingly trim to 15 players and get under the tax line without sacrificing Bogans as a trade chip.
Smart is joined on the select team by Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Trey Burke (Utah Jazz); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks); Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).
“USA Basketball’s select teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director, in a release announcing the selections. “Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup."
Added Colangelo: "Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team."
[Read full press release from USA Basketball]
• The Celtics generated a trade exception valued at $4.25 million. They have until July 19, 2015 to utilize it. (For those interested, Washington still has $4.3 million remaining on a trade exception generated from Trevor Ariza's departure).
• Washington sent a 2015 second-round pick to Boston that is top-49 protected, meaning the Wizards will have to be one of the top 11 teams in basketball, record-wise, next season to convey that pick to Boston. The good news: The way Washington has loaded up gives them a chance at that. The bad news: Picks in range 50-60 can usually be bought on draft night because of the long odds of that player faces to even make an NBA roster. Alas, an asset is an asset.
The gem here is the trade exception, which could help Boston facilitate roster additions down the road.
• Low risk, high reward? Positioned to navigate another season that should be heavy on development as part of a rebuilding process, the Celtics are adding a former No. 2 pick who should be motivated to re-establish his value. Turner got traded from Philadelphia to Indiana at last season's trade deadline with the Pacers looking to bolster their bench for a playoff run. Instead, Turner played sparingly, and Indiana declined to extend an $8.7 million qualifying offer this offseason, making Turner a free agent. If he can revitalize his career in Boston, it's a low-risk/high-reward play. The concern is that Turner will further clog an already logjammed shooting guard/small forward spot and potentially take minutes away from the likes of rookies Marcus Smart and James Young.
• The trouble with Turner: Before Philly dealt Turner, ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan examined Turner's game and why the team struggled to move him. "Turner isn't a particularly good perimeter shooter, but he thrives in the midrange, where the majority of his shots come (mostly off pull-ups). His 3-point percentage falls below the Kendall Gill Line (basketball's version of baseball's Mendoza Line: 28.1 percent shooting from 3-point range) in every spot except the left corner, where he shoots 38 percent, although he did shoot well from the corners last season. If he does make the pass, it will usually be the easiest one available (to the pick-setter popping back or to a player in his direct line of sight as he comes off a screen). ... If the ball isn't in his hands, he's not nearly as big a threat as he gets stuck watching the ball, while his poor perimeter shooting encourages defenders to help off him on the weak side. In short, to get the most out of Turner, you have to continue to get him touches."
• Crowded house: The Celtics now have a whopping 18 players under contract with a payroll that will, at least temporarily, crawl over $80 million. Boston still has three nonguaranteed contracts totaling roughly $7 million that can help it trim down moving forward. With that in mind, the odds just got a little bit longer for nonguaranteed players Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. Boston does have Keith Bogans' $5.3 million nonguaranteed salary that can help it immediately chop salary, though that slot might be more valuable as a trade asset. Needless to say, more moves are coming as the 2014-15 season approaches, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his staff seem content to gobble up low-cost assets in hopes of maximizing their value while navigating this rebuilding process.
• Reclamation magic? Brad Stevens was able to figure out the best way to maximize Jordan Crawford's talent last season before the team dealt him away while acquiring future assets in January. It's fair to wonder if the Celtics can do the same with Turner. If Turner jump starts his career, maybe Boston will be able to get more than its initial investment before the trade deadline.
According to the Boston Herald, which first reported the deal, Turner will sign for a portion of the midlevel exception.
Boston is adding the former No. 2 pick from the 2010 draft. But the 25-year-old Turner will be looking to revitalize his career in Boston.
Turner has averaged 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists over four NBA seasons. He was dealt from Philadelphia to Indiana at last year's trade deadline with the playoff-bound Pacers looking to bolster their bench. Turner played only sparingly as a reserve while Indiana was bounced in the Eastern Conference finals.
[Read full story]
An explanation from the team:
The goal in creating the logo was to extend the Celtics brand with a symbol reflecting the rich tradition of the organization throughout its history, yet versatile enough to work across various formats and products. The new mark was inspired by the team’s past logos and pays homage to the Leprechaun logo from the 1960’s illustrated by Celtics’ legacy Red Auerbach’s brother, Zang.Photos via Celtics.comThe Celtics say the new “Lucky Alternate” is a combination of classic visuals that have been updated with a modern twist.
The logo reproduces well at one or two-color and can be displayed with or without a border on the outer ring. To make the logo even more versatile, Lucky’s finer details were slightly modified, allowing for better visibility when produced at a smaller scale. The logo can also be displayed without the curved Future Bold typeface, resulting in a simplistic yet bold Celtics mark.
The new logo will not be utilized on game uniforms, though the Celtics did make one uniform switch for the 2014-15 season. Their road jerseys will now read "BOSTON" on the front rather than "CELTICS." Also, all teams that have won NBA titles will have a gold tab on the back of their jerseys indicating those titles.
Do you like the new alternate logo? Sound off in the comments.
“We had definitely hoped to try to make bigger moves this offseason, to be honest," Grousbeck told WEEI.com on Sunday from Fenway Park. "Having said that, it takes two partners to make a trade, so we focused on longterm, trying to build the club."
After Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love himself visited Fenway Park in early June -- crossing paths with Celtics captain Rajon Rondo while here -- some wondered if Boston could facilitate a trade to land the 25-year-old All-Star. The two teams reportedly engaged in trade conversations, though little came of it, with Minnesota seemingly more intrigued by other potential offers. Love, who has expressed a desire to become a free agent next summer, remains on Minnesota's roster.
Instead, Boston made a series of quieter moves this offseason. The Celtics drafted Marcus Smart and James Young in the first round of June's draft; re-signed guard Avery Bradley to a four-year, $32 million contract; and utilized a hefty trade exception to facilitate a three-way deal with the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers that brought back guard Marcus Thornton, center Tyler Zeller, and Cleveland's 2016 first-round pick.
"We think we’re a better team now -- positioned for the future -- [with] some new young talent and even more draft picks," said Grousbeck. "But it’s been a patient summer so far, and I'm not always the most patient guy."
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has preached patience ever since Grousbeck first expressed that desire for fireworks near the end of a 2013-14 season in which Boston and first-year coach Brad Stevens won just 27 games.
Back in March, Ainge said, "Listen, we all wanna do some things this summer. We have some objectives. We’d like to be a relevant team next year. But you can’t force it. So, no, I don’t feel [a] pressure [to create fireworks]. I try to avoid that kind of pressure, just to do something. We want to do something good and right. Patience is crucial as we’re in this process right now."
Ainge reiterated that stances often, including on the final day of the regular season in mid-April.
"I have some ideas and some plans that I’d like to do, but there’s just no guarantee that we can do it," said Ainge. "We need to find good training partners. We are always trying to make fireworks; every summer we try to do something that’s unique and special and we will definitely try this summer."
The Celtics remained positioned for potential fireworks next summer when the team might have more available cap space to seek free agents, all while maintaing its surplus of draft picks that could help facilitate trades to add impact players.
[Related: Offseason reset: Where C's stand | Fireworks in summer 2015?]
"I'll let [the media] assess all that stuff," said Ainge. "That doesn’t matter to me. We’re just trying to get better, but we were able to acquire a lot of assets in that trade."
We probably don't have to wait until 2018 -- when the last of those first-round draft pick will be utilized -- to suggest that Boston got the better of the swap. But just how much better will likely depend on each team's trajectory in the coming seasons. The Nets went all in on the 2013-14 campaign -- and paid a $90.6 million luxury tax payment to prove it -- only to be bounced from the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games by the Miami Heat.
Below, we track what each team got from the deal (and we'll try to update these lists over time to reflect just how the trade played out for both sides):
WHAT THE NETS GOT
• Pierce helped Brooklyn play some of its best basketball late in the regular season, and his exploits helped the Nets survive a seven-game first-round series with the Toronto Raptors. But Boston's former captain signed as a free agent with the Washington Wizards this week.
• Garnett, who appeared in just 54 regular-season games last season due to back issues, looks like he'll return for another season at age 38.
WHAT THE CELTICS GOT
• Wallace appeared in 58 games for Boston last season before undergoing season-ending knee and ankle surgery. Taking on three years and $30.3 million in salary was part of the reason Boston was able to bring back three first-round draft picks. Will Boston find a taker for that salary at some point down the road?
• Bogans got a monster pay raise to be a sign-and-trade inclusion in the deal. He appeared in only six games for Boston last season before being dismissed for "personal reasons." It's likely that the Celtics will attempt to use his nonguaranteed contract as a trade asset, though he can also be waived this summer for an immediate $5.3 million savings.
• Brooks seemingly spent most of his time in Boston playing 1-on-1 with assistant coach Jay Larranaga while unable to crack the rotation. He appeared in only 10 games before being traded to the Golden State Warriors (with Jordan Crawford) in a deal that brought back Joel Anthony (who triggered a 2014-15 player option to stick around longer), Philadelphia's lottery-protected 2015 first-round pick (more likely two future second-round picks), and Miami's 2016 second-round pick.
• Joseph, originally a second-round pick by Boston in 2012, was waived immediately after the completion of the trade.
• The Celtics used Brooklyn's 2014 first-round pick to select Kentucky swingman James Young with the 17th overall pick. The 18-year-old was signed last week to his rookie pact, but did not participate in summer league while recovering from injuries sustained in a pre-draft car accident.
• The Celtics used a $10.3 million trade exception generated as part of the Brooklyn deal to absorb the salaries of Thornton and center Tyler Zeller as part of a three-way trade with the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston also got Cleveland's 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected) in the swap.
Here's a quick look at what the Celtics have remaining for draft picks from the deal (and the moves spawned from it):
• Philadelphia's 2015 first-round pick (becomes two second-round picks if in lottery)
• Brooklyn's 2016 and 2018 first-round picks (Boston can also swap places in 2017)
• Cleveland's 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected until 2019)
• Miami's 2016 second-round pick
Bill Russell taken to hospital, OK after scare
Basketball legend Bill Russell was hospitalized Thursday after feeling faint while giving a speech in Nevada, the Boston Celtics said.
Russell, 80, left the event at the Hyatt Regency resort in Incline Village on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, according to the Celtics.
The Hall of Fame center is "feeling better," the Celtics said, and is expected to fly back to his Seattle-area home as early as Thursday night.
• Rapid reaction: Initial reports of Russell collapsing during a speech were concerning, but Russell was doing well later in the day and it's encouraging that he was planning to fly home last night.
Cavs willing to deal Wiggins for Love?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are now offering No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins in attempts to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, league sources have confirmed.
The availability of Wiggins could lead to a blockbuster trade that could shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference and the league as a whole.
The two clubs have been engaged in trade discussions since LeBron James announced he was returning to Cleveland last Friday.
But talks stalled due to the Cavaliers' refusal to include the 19-year-old Wiggins in any trade, as sources said the Timberwolves were unwilling to send Love to Cleveland without receiving the former star Kansas guard in return.
Yahoo! Sports reported that James has reached out to Love since the Cavs' change in thinking.
• Rapid reaction: For those Celtics fans clinging to the dream of landing Love this summer, news that Cleveland might be backing off its reluctance to move Wiggins -- the No. 1 pick in this year's draft -- is not good news for Boston. The Celtics can offer a package heavy on rebuilding assets, but nothing quite as glitzy as Wiggins.
Some other quick-hitters of interest to Boston fans:
• Glen Davis will stick with old friend Doc Rivers in Los Angeles
• Mike Miller is trying to recruit old friend Ray Allen to Cleveland
• The Lakers won the amnesty bidding for Carlos Boozer
• Delonte West opens up for TrueHoop
THE OFFSEASON SO FAR
A rundown of the transactions that Boston has made since late June:
• June 26: Drafted guard Marcus Smart (6th) and forward James Young (17th)
• July 2: Agreed to four-year, $32 million extension with restricted free agent guard Avery Bradley
• July 9: Acquired center Tyler Zeller, guard Marcus Thornton and Cleveland's 2016 first-round pick as part of a three-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers
• July 10: Announced the signings of Smart and Young
• July 15: Acquired a conditional second-round pick and a $4.3 million trade exception as part of a sign-and-trade deal that delivered free agent Kris Humphries to the Washington Wizards
• July 15: Free agent guard Jerryd Bayless agreed to a two-year deal with Milwaukee Bucks
SNAPSHOT: THE DEPTH CHART
SALARIES IN FOCUS
The Celtics are currently committed to roughly $78.7 million for 17 players. A handful of notes on the current roster/cap situation:
• The Celtics stand $15.6 million over the 2014-15 salary cap ($63.1 million). The team can only add players via available cap exceptions (more on that below).
• The Celtics stand $1.9 million over the 2014-15 luxury tax line ($76.8 million). Tax calculations are made after the season, meaning Boston has plenty of time to get back below the line (something that should occur naturally while trimming to the league maximum of 15 bodies before the start of the regular season).
• Boston has three nonguaranteed contracts totaling roughly $7 million, which gives it one easy way to trim bodies and salary if needed. Phil Pressey's contract became fully guaranteed when he remained on the roster after July 15. The contracts for Chris Johnson, Chris Babb and Keith Bogans have no guarantee date, though their salaries would be pro-rated if carried into the start of the regular season and would become fully guaranteed in early January.
• Rookies Smart and Young were signed to 120 percent of their rookie scale contracts (the maximum allowed).
• Anthony had a player option for the 2014-15 season, which he (wisely) elected to pick up despite the fact that he doesn't project to see an increased role if he remains with Boston.
CAN BOSTON STILL ACQUIRE PLAYERS?
Sure, the Celtics could theoretically add more bodies. That's more likely to occur via the trade route considering the current roster/cap situation. But Boston does have a couple of available exceptions to sign free agents if it desired.
ESPN sources say Milwaukee Bucks are closing in on a deal with free-agent guard Jerryd Bayless— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
• Rapid reaction: The Celtics acquired Bayless in January in a swap with the Memphis Grizzlies that also served as a chance to unload Courtney Lee's cumbersome contract. Bayless brought some additional ball-handling and, true to his reputation, got hot at times as a scorer off the bench. But with Boston adding depth at the guard position this offseason, including drafting Marcus Smart at No. 6 overall, it was clear that Bayless wouldn't be back. The 25-year-old Bayless talked about laying some roots, but now he appears off to his sixth team in six NBA seasons. -- Chris Forsberg
[Related reading: Bayless' 2013-14 report card | Is Bayless in Boston's future?]
“We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. "He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We're ecstatic to have him back."
[Related reading: Bradley agrees to stay with C's | Reaction to Bradley deal]
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