The Boston Celtics and veteran forward Blake Griffin have agreed to a one-year contract, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday.

Griffin, 33, will add depth for a team that has endured a series of injuries in the frontcourt before the 2022-23 season has even begun.

Danilo Gallinari, Boston's top free agent acquisition of the offseason, suffered a torn ACL in August, while starting center Robert Williams III underwent knee surgery last week, keeping him away from basketball activities for at least two months.

A six-time All-Star selection, Griffin averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 56 games with the Brooklyn Nets last season.

Griffin's signing comes in the wake of coach Ime Udoka's year-long suspension for an inappropriate workplace relationship that is still clouded in mystery.

The Celtics tip off their season on October 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has officially been suspended by the franchise for the entire 2022-23 season for an "improper" consensual relationship with a female staff member.

Udoka, who in his first year as a head coach guided the Celtics to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, will be replaced by assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim head coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Mazzulla was considered a finalist for the Utah Jazz head coaching role that ended up going to fellow Celtics assistant Will Hardy, after former Celtics general manager Danny Ainge took the top role in Utah.

In a 46-word statement on Thursday night, the Celtics confirmed reports from ESPN and The Athletic that they have opted to sideline Udoka for the full season for what they call "violations of team policies".

Udoka also released a brief apology, saying: "I want to apologise to our players, fans the entire Celtics organisation, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team's decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment."

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is reportedly facing "a significant suspension" for violating "organisational guidelines", according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The report is incredibly vague and lacking in any detail about what exactly Udoka did to warrant a significant internal response from his Celtics bosses, however it does say it is believed he is not in danger of getting fired.

Hours later, The Athletic's Shams Charania added that Udoka had "an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff", which has been deemed a violation of the Celtics' code of conduct.

After Udoka's top assistant, Will Hardy, was hired as the new head coach of the Utah Jazz, Boston's Joe Mazzulla is the favourite to take over in the interim role.

Udoka, 45, became the fifth rookie head coach in the past 25 years to take his team to the NBA Finals this past season when his Celtics emerged as the best defensive team in the league. 

He is also the first rookie head coach to win multiple Game 7s in his first playoff run, taking out both the Miami Heat and the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston Celtics centre Robert Williams III reportedly will miss between 4-to-6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic left knee surgery this week, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It is the second surgery on the same knee in six months for Williams, who had a meniscus procedure performed March 30. That specific surgery enabled Williams to recover quicker and return to the court for Boston’s run to the NBA Finals.

The 24-year-old Williams injured the knee in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 27, forcing him to miss the final seven regular-season games and Boston's first two playoff contests.

He came off the bench in Games 3 and 4 of the Celtics' first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, and started the first three games of the Eastern Conference semi-final series with the Milwaukee Bucks before suffering a bone bruise in the same knee in Game 3.

He missed the remainder of the seven-game series with the Bucks before returning to start Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.

Another knee injury sent him back to the bench for Game 3, but he then played the rest of Boston's seven-game series with the Heat and every game of Finals with the Golden State Warriors.

Williams has battled injuries throughout his four-year career and wasn't as effective in last season's playoffs compared to the regular season, averaging 7.7 points on 67.9% shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 17 playoff games.

In 61 regular-season games last season, he averaged 10 points on 73.6% shooting, 9.6 boards and 2.2 blocks.

The Celtics went 40-21 in the regular season when he played and 11-10 when he didn't suit up.

Without one of the league's premier rim protectors, veteran Al Horford will be tasked with playing more minutes until Williams returns early in the regular season.

Boston tips off the 2022-23 season on October 18 against the rival Philadelphia 76ers.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving thinks his team "needed" their 4-0 loss to the Boston Celtics in last season's NBA playoffs.

That chastening first-round exit to Irving's former team brought to an end a frustrating campaign for the much-fancied Nets.

With Irving being teamed with Kevin Durant and James Harden, many felt Brooklyn were the favourites to go all the way.

However, Irving only made 29 appearances in all for the Nets, mainly due to his unvaccinated status meaning he could not play any home games until late in the season when the ban in New York on unvaccinated players was lifted.

Durant also missed some games through injury, while Harden struggled for form before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, who is yet to make his Nets debut.

Speaking on Twitch for streamer KaiCenat, Irving said: "We got 4-0'd my G, we got 4-0'd. It was meant to happen like that. Motivation, bro.

"We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that match-up.

"We're going to see them again, we're going to have to. They're going to be where they're going to be. But those young'uns over there in Boston, bro, I got to see them grow up.

"So to see them do what they did last year on the Finals stage, making it that far, I'm glad they had to go through us."

Irving – who exercised his $37million player option with the Nets for next season in June – still managed to average 27.4 points per game last year, as well as 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

Boston Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari could miss most or all of the upcoming NBA season, according to reports, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last week.

Gallinari was injured playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game against Georgia on Saturday. The Italian national team later announced the veteran sharpshooter sustained a torn meniscus, without providing further details.

ESPN reported on Friday that Gallinari was hopeful of returning late in the 2022-23 season. Typical recovery time for an ACL tear is anywhere from six to 12 months.

The Celtics confirmed on Twitter on Friday: "Danilo Gallinari has been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee. Gallinari sustained the injury while playing for his home nation of Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifier against Georgia on August 27. Further updates will be provided as appropriate."

Gallinari previously tore the ACL in the same knee while playing for the Denver Nuggets late in the 2012-13 season. That injury required an additional surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2013-14 campaign.

The 34-year-old signed a two-year, $13.3million contract with Boston in July, just days after being waived by San Antonio. Gallinari was acquired by the Spurs from Atlanta on June 30 as part of the trade that sent All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray to the Hawks.

Gallinari, who averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 66 games with the Hawks last season, was being counted on to provide bench scoring for a Celtics team coming off an appearance in the NBA Finals.

He also took to Twitter on Friday to post a statement, saying: "This has been a tough week for me as I have learned the extent of my injury. This game means everything to me and not being able to be on the court with my Celtics teammates hurts.

"I plan to give everything I can to the Celtics organisation and my teammates as we hunt for a title. I will work tirelessly with the Celtics staff to return to the court as soon as I can and I appreciate the unwavering support from the fans, my teammates, and the entire NBA family."

The 13-year veteran is one of only six players to average at least 15 points per game and shoot 40 per cent or better from three-point range over the last four seasons (min. 100 games), along with 2022 All-Stars Stephen Curry and Karl Anthony-Towns, Kyrie Irving, T.J. Warren and Bojan Bogdanovic.

The NBA has made the historic decision to retire the number six from all franchises' jerseys to honour the legacy of Boston Celtics icon Bill Russell, who passed away on July 31 at 88 years old.

It is the first time in history that a jersey number has been retired league-wide, and in addition, every jersey and every home court in the 2022-23 season will feature a clover-shaped logo bearing the number six.

Russell holds the record for winning the most NBA Championships, collecting 11 rings from 1957 to 1969 while winning five league MVP awards.

Across his career, Russell averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game, and at nearly seven-feet tall while being a world-class high-jumper and sprinter, is considered arguably the sport's greatest ever defensive player.

Since 2009, the NBA Finals MVP award has been named after Russell.

While his competitive achievements place him amongst the greatest to ever lace up a pair of basketball shoes, his off-court legacy is just as significant, as he became one of the faces of the American civil rights movement.

Russell was regularly pictured with Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the public faces of the campaign for civil rights in the United States, and in 2011, then-president Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments both on and off the court.

In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: "Bill Russell's unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserves to be honoured in a unique and historic way. 

"Permanently retiring his number six across every NBA team ensures that Bill's transcendent career will always be recognised."

 

Tom Brady remembered Bill Russell as a sporting figure with "a great presence" as he recalled striking up a rapport with the Boston Celtics great, who died on Sunday.

NFL superstar Brady told a news conference about his sorrow at hearing of Russell's death at the age of 88.

He had come to know the basketball hero when living in the Boston area, while spending 20 seasons as quarterback with the New England Patriots.

Russell was drafted by the Celtics in 1956 and went on to win 11 NBA titles. He was a five-time NBA MVP and is one of only four players to have been named to all four NBA anniversary teams (25th, 35th, 50th and 75th).

He became the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team, leading the Celtics to back-to-back NBA championships in 1968 and 1969 when he served as a player-coach.

Russell also made a significant impact away from the basketball court, championing the civil rights movement, and Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Brady said: "I knew him pretty well. I had a lot of time up there in Boston and got to know him and he was a very impactful figure.

"Going back to my early days with the Patriots, in my second year at training camp he came and spoke to the team.

"A really imposing figure, he had a great presence around him and obviously what he overcame in his career was pretty unbelievable. It was a sad day."

Chicago Bulls hero Michael Jordan on Sunday described Russell as a "pioneer" and a "legend", while Obama also paid tribute to "a giant".

The Celtics said Russell's "DNA is woven through every element" of the organisation.

Michael Jordan has hailed Bill Russell as a "pioneer" and a "legend", while the Boston Celtics and Barack Obama also paid glowing tributes to the basketball legend after he died on Sunday.

Russell's family announced that he had passed away peacefully at the age of 88.

One of the all-time greats, Russell won 11 NBA titles, was a five-time NBA MVP and is one of only four players to have been named to all four NBA anniversary teams (25th, 35th, 50th and 75th).

He was the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team, leading the Boston Celtics to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1968 and 1969.

Russell also made a huge impact off the court, championing the civil rights movement and Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

The legendary Jordan said: "Bill Russell was a pioneer – as a player, as a champion, as the NBA's first black head coach and as an activist.

"He paved the way and set an example for every black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace."

The Celtics said Russell's "DNA is woven through every element" of the organisation.

"To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionise the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was," the NBA franchise stated.

"Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports – an 11-time NBA champion, including winning eight consecutive titles, a five-time MVP, an Olympic gold medalilst and the NBA’s first Black head coach.

"Bill Russell's DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organisation, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court. 

"Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn his passing and celebrate his enormous legacy in basketball, Boston, and beyond."

Former United States president Obama posted on Twitter: "Today, we lost a giant.

"As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher – both as a player and as a person.

"Perhaps more than anyone else, Bill knew what it took to win and what it took to lead. On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off of it, he was a civil rights trailblazer – marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali.

"For decades, Bill endured insults and vandalism, but never let it stop him from speaking up for what's right. I learned so much from the way he played, the way he coached, and the way he lived his life."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver hailed Bill Russell as "the greatest champion in all of team sports" as he paid tribute to the basketball great, who died on Sunday.

Russell's family confirmed the 11-time NBA champion had passed away "peacefully" at the age of 88.

He was the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team, leading the Boston Celtics to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1968 and 1969.

Russell was an All-Star on 12 occasions, a five-time NBA MVP and is one of only four players to have been named to all four NBA anniversary teams (25th, 35th, 50th and 75th).

Away from the court, Russell championed the civil rights movement and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by Barack Obama.

"Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports," Silver wrote.

"The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill's immense impact on our league and broader society.

"Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league.

"At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps.

"Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

"For nearly 35 years since Bill completed his trailblazing career as the league's first black head coach, we were fortunate to see him at every major NBA event, including the NBA Finals, where he presented the Bill Russell Trophy to the Finals MVP.

"I cherished my friendship with Bill and was thrilled when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I often called him basketball's Babe Ruth for how he transcended time.

"Bill was the ultimate winner and consummate team-mate, and his influence on the NBA will be felt forever. We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Jeannine, his family and his many friends."

Every NBA championship-winning team has been led by a superstar, and at the centre, both literally and figuratively, of the greatest dynasty in not just the NBA, but in American sports history stood Bill Russell.

An 11-time NBA champion, a five-time league MVP and a 12-time All-Star during a 13-year professional career with the Boston Celtics, Russell is one of the United States’ most decorated basketball players.

He died on Sunday at the age of 88. His family confirmed the news on social media.

"Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side," a statement read.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a tribute that Russell was ''the greatest champion in all of team sports.''

Russell, six feet and 10 inches tall, helped revolutionise basketball, taking a hard-nose, defense-first mentality to the court, frustrating opponents with his vast wingspan. He is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Born in Monroe, Louisiana on February 12, 1934, Russell and his family moved to Oakland, California when he was eight years old. His legend on the court began at McClymonds High School, where his menacing defense helped his team to back-to-back state championships in his junior and senior years.

Lightly recruited by colleges, Russell accepted a scholarship to the nearby University of San Francisco, where his game took off as he led the Dons to consecutive NCAA championships as a junior and senior. He was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1955 and the NCAA National Player of the Year in 1956.

One of the most highly coveted prospects of the 1956 NBA Draft, the Celtics acquired Russell in a draft-day trade with the St. Louis Hawks, who selected him with the second pick. A trade that would shape the NBA landscape for the next 13 years.

Before his Celtics debut, however, Russell helped the United States Olympic men's basketball team win the gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Once he joined Boston, he made an immediate impact, averaging 14.7 points and 19.6 rebounds during his rookie season in 1956-57 as Boston captured their first NBA title.

In 1958-59, he led the Celtics to the first of an unprecedented eight consecutive NBA championships, culminating with legendary coach Red Auerbach retiring after the last of those titles.

Russell then took over as player-coach, becoming the first African-American coach in the NBA. The Celtics' winning streak was interrupted in the 1966-67 season, before Russell helped guide Boston to two more titles in his final two campaigns in the NBA in 1967-68 and 1968-69, serving as coach in those seasons as well.

Russell ended his career with averages of 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds and his 21,620 total rebounds trail only Wil Chamberlain for the most in NBA history. When he was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on April 28, 1975 he became the first African American to be inducted.

For his postseason achievements, his legacy lives on as the NBA Finals MVP trophy was named the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 2009.

While he may be most remembered for his dominance on the court, he is also regarded as a pioneer in sports activism.

A civil rights advocate during his playing days, Russell used his platform later in life to speak out against social injustices, and in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Russell is survived by his wife Jeannine. He had three children – Karen Russell, William Russell Jr. and Jacob Russell.

NBA legend Bill Russell has died at the age of 88 on Sunday, his family have confirmed.

The 11-time NBA champion was a titan of the sporting world and paved the way for the future after becoming the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team, leading the Boston Celtics to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1968 and 1969.

Russell's play-off rebounds-per-game average of 24.9 during his 13-year career, where he remarkably won the NBA championship in all but two seasons, is an NBA record that stands to this day.

"Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side," a statement said.

"Bill's wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. 

"Perhaps you'll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded.

"And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill's uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle.

"That we be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6."

Away from the court, Russell championed the Civil Rights movement and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by Barack Obama, who heralded him as "someone who stood up for the rights and dignity of all men."

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum says Kevin Durant is a "great player", but is unsure his team needs to bring the wantaway Brooklyn Nets man onboard.

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant requested a trade out of Barclays Center last month following a 4-0 playoff exit to the Celtics.

That sparked discussions between a host of sides and the Nets, with Boston also reportedly making enquiries into his availability.

Durant averaged 29.9 points per game in the regular season across 55 appearances, with only Joel Embiid (30.6) and LeBron James (30.3) averaging more, as well as 6.4 assists and 7.4 rebounds.

But while Tatum has tremendous respect for Durant, having played alongside him for the United States team as part of the Tokyo 2020 gold medal-winning squad, he thinks the Celtics already have the players they need onboard.

"I played with [Durant] during the Olympics," he said on Tuesday at the premiere of Showtime documentary 'Point Gods'. "Obviously, he's a great player, but that's not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys that we got.

"We got two new pieces [in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari]. I love our team. I just go out there and play with my teammates. I don't put that [general manager] hat on to make decisions."

The Boston Celtics have emerged as a possible trade destination for Kevin Durant, according to reports.

The 12-time All-Star forward rocked the Brooklyn Nets by requesting a trade last month, having joined the franchise in 2019.

Having won back-to-back NBA titles in 2017 and 2018 during his time with the Golden State Warriors, being named the finals' MVP on both occasions, Durant has reportedly shown signs of discontent with the Nets' failure to compete for a first-ever NBA title.

The Nets' 2022 playoff campaign was halted by a first-round defeat to the Celtics, who now appear to be in the hunt for Durant's signature.

According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics' ability to include 2021 All-star forward Jaylen Brown in any deal makes them a strong contender to acquire Durant, who is under contract until 2026.

Durant is expected to command a huge trade package, and ESPN claim Boston could offer as many as three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps alongside Brown's services.

The Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors have also been credited with an interest in Durant, who led the Nets with an average of 29.9 points per game across his 2021-22 regular-season campaign, posting a 36-19 record in his 55 outings.

The Indiana Pacers have agreed to trade point guard Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday, bolstering the backcourt of the reigning Eastern Conference champions. 

Indiana are getting a 2023 first-round draft pick from the Celtics, along with Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts and Juwan Morgan. 

The Celtics set out to find a traditional point guard this offseason after last season's NBA Finals run came up short largely due to a high turnover rate.  Boston committed 353 turnovers during their 24-game playoff run, the most since the 2003 San Antonio Spurs (365). 

Jayson Tatum was responsible for 100 of those turnovers, the most by a player in a single postseason since the league started tracking turnovers in 1977-78.

Brogdon averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season for Indiana but was limited to just 36 games by a lingering injury to his right Achilles tendon. 

A second round pick out of Virginia, Brogdon spent his first three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and won Rookie of the Year in 2016-17. He has spent the past three seasons with the Pacers. 

Even after acquiring Brogdon, Boston top executive Brad Stevens may not be done adding to the Celtics' roster.

ESPN reported earlier on Friday that veteran forward Danilo Gallinari – who was traded to the Spurs and was then to be waived – has identified Boston as his preferred landing spot. 

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