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After one of the worst seasons in franchise history (25-57 in 2013-14), the Celtics went shopping for a new head coach and landed on a very talented Brad Stevens who was running a top NCAA program at Butler University. In his first year with the Celtics, the team showed improvement, ending up with a respectable record of 40-42 while squeezing into the playoffs.

Regardless of expectations from the fans, Stevens was surely looking for nothing more than continued improvement coming into the 2015-2016. With a little more than half the season in the books, it seems safe to say the Celtics have indeed made that next step forward. With a current record of 27-22, they are ranked #6 in the Eastern Conference with a reasonably good chance of making the playoffs. Continue reading Orlando Magic Snaps Boston’s 5-Game Winning Streak »

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nba-trade-rumors-atlanta-hawks

With the NBA trade deadline a mere three weeks away the hot stove is heating up, and rumors from Chad Mannix have linked the Celtics and Hawks in trade conversation regarding Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Although the Celtics have been involved in many rumors they have yet to make a deal. This particular option, if completed for both players, would put the Celtics on a win-now path with championship aspiration in the near future.

The positive attributes of Horford are renown around the NBA. He is proven winner, has averaged 14.3 points and 9 rebounds over his career, and would fill the vacancy at the center position that I covered here last month. This is not a knock on Amir Johnson, I love the way he plays, but Al Horford is a big improvement. He is 29 years old, is a presence on the glass, and can get a bucket in post when his team needs it. He is exactly what the Celtics are lacking. The negative aspect of a trade involving Horford is his contract. This is the final year of his current deal and he is expecting to get a significant salary in free agency this summer. If the Celtics were to pull the trigger on a deal for Horford, Ainge would either have the upmost confidence in the team’s ability to sign him to a contract extension or be sending a message loud and clear that the goal is to win this year.

Teague is an electric athlete and has shown the ability to both score the basketball and run an offense at the NBA level. The Wake Forest product, now 27 years old, has averaged 11.8 points and 5.1 assists per game over his career, and his current contract is worth $8 million per year for both this season and next. Not a bad deal for a really good point guard. The only problem with his addition to the roster is that he would join an already crowded back court. The guard position does not feel like a pressing need for the Celtics at this point, which makes this rumor puzzling unless the front office plans to completely reconstruct this lineup mid season.

Danny Ainge has shown the guts and willingness to make this type of deal and go all-in for a championship, but has shown patience with player development and ‘trusting the process’ with young guys. Is the goal to win a championship this year? If so, then this trade will certainly move the team toward that goal. Also, is the front office that confident in their ability to sign Horford to a contract extension after this season? Another essential consideration when weighing this deal. If not, then a one year window of return is not an optimal return. It all remains to be seen and or now Celtics fans can only wait anxiously. Ainge is a diligent general manager and will surely consider every and any possible option before making a decision. In the meantime, we should continue to foster the hope of a DeMarcus Cousins-Isaiah Thomas reunion in a green and white uniform.

 

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1. Patriots laments: it’s only been a week – ugh!

* More on the offensive line – They were so bad that they not only could they not provide Brady protection but almost as bad is they couldn’t RUN block five against three

* Julian Edelman should hang the picture from Sports Illustrated showing Talib taunting him while he is prostrate on the ground

* Brady hit more than any quarterback in almost a decade – speaks to talent and compete incompetence but also insanely bad blocking schemes, play design and adjustments

* Why didn’t they roll out more?

* Last time the Patriots didn’t defer after winning coin toss – 2008 during the game that Brady’s knee got blown up

2. A suggestion from reader Marty J – Celtics picks when finishing in the bottom ten of the league:

2014 – finished 5th lowest – got 6th pick – Marcus Smart (33% chance top three pick) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Dog Day of Sports! »

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The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are set to face off in what should be an epic showdown. Although the Super Bowl odds are tilted slightly in one team’s favor more heavily than we’ve seen in recent years, this matchup is very unique, where we have one team that’s on the rise, and one team that’s clinging on to veteran players. Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning has been the highlight of this game, as Manning has mentioned that this is likely to be his last season, and he wants to go out with a bang.

This matchup will be played during the first Sunday in February on the 7th. It will be the last game played in Levi’s Stadium, as the 49ers are moving to a new stadium after this season. The game is set to air at 6:25PM EST on CBS, but be sure to tune in early to watch the player introductions and the pre-game entertainment. The stage has been set for an epic showdown, and we just have to decide who to pick in this game. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Betting Preview by MyBookie.ag: Who has the Edge? »

Meet the Prospects: Anderson Espinoza

January 30, 2016 at 5:04pm in Boston, Red Sox

I have to be honest, I have a really hard time following and writing about the NBA. Even when it is the Celtics. I’ve written a couple posts about them, but I’m just lack the same passion that I have for baseball. So, in response to this epiphany, I have decided to start a new weekly segment leading up to spring training focused on Red Sox prospects. These are some guys that Red Sox Nation should keep their eyes on in this spring and in the coming years. Because of all the hype Yoan Moncada has gotten since his signing I will skip him and save you the redundancy by simply saying: he is a really promising prospect. To lead off the series this week’s post will feature Venezuelan RHP Anderson Espinoza, who was recently rated the #39 on the 2016 MLB Top Prospect List.

The Red Sox signed the 16-year old Espinoza for $1.8 million in the summer of 2014. At the time he threw his fastball 90-92, with a decent slider and makings of a change-up. This past season at 17 years of age, his first as a professional in the United States, he was sitting 94-96 on the gun and touching 98. Pretty good for the equivalent of a junior in high school.

Espinoza has a wiry build at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, but looks like natural athlete on the mound. From the windup he as a simple low leg rock with an ever-so-slight pause at the top before he break his hands. This simple, efficient motion helps him repeat his delivery well for someone his age. Up to this point in his life he has been able to rely heavily on his explosive fastball without much need for a secondary pitch, and had a thorough debut in Rookie and low Class-A ball last year to the tone of a combined 2.16 ERA in the 15 starts. The next step in his progression will be to put on some muscle, develop a feel for his change-up and, like every young pitcher, improve his command of all three pitches.

Red Sox fans should not expect Espinoza to debut at Fenway Park anytime soon. He needs to put on some muscle and develop a pitcher not just a thrower. He will likely need time in Class-A ball for a year, but even that may still keep him on pace to debut at Fenway before his first legal beer. Expect him to start the year in Greenville with the chance of promotion to Salem by the end of the season. Plans for Espinoza are long term because he is so young, but with a special talent like his the sky is the limit.

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Avery Bradley

At a time when the Boston Celtics are playing good ball, they last thing they want to see is personnel issues that could disrupt what seems to be great team chemistry. That may have been a bit too much to expect as G Avery Bradley has come forward with apparent issues related to his current four-year, $32 million contract

Based on information provided by writer Matt Moore of the Boston Globe, Johnson is becoming increasingly more dissatisfied with the contract he signed back in 2014 when represented by sports agent Mitchell Butler. He signed the contract after four years with the Celtics when he spent a good deal of time on the sidelines due to various injuries. Continue reading Celtics’ Avery Bradley Unhappy With Current Contract »

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ross

Another day, another salary arbitration hearing avoided. Friday, relief pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. signed a 1-year contract with the Boston Red Sox worth $1.25 million.

In addition, Ross may be eligible for a $25,000 performance bonus if he takes the mound 60 times or pitches 60 innings.

Continue reading Robbie Ross Jr., Red Sox Agree to 1-Year Contract Worth $1.25 Million »

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