Don't hand the Eastern Conference championship just yet to the Miami Heat.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge confirmed the Celtics have agreements in place with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen that would keep Boston’s “Big Three” intact for a run at a third NBA Finals in four years.
Ainge also said he expects to sign free agent center Jermaine O’Neal to fill in while center Kendrick Perkins recovers from knee surgery.
“We’re the Eastern Conference champions,” he said. “And we think we’re going to be better next year.”
The Miami Heat re-signed Dwyane Wade and added free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
“I have a great deal of respect for all those guys — all the top-notch free agents,” Ainge said. “Whatever happens, I know that it’s going to be a challenge. The East is going to be stronger.”
Q-PON TO HORNETS
Former University of Washington star Quincy Pondexter practiced with New Orleans after his trade to the Hornets became official.
Pondexter was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 26 overall pick on June 24, then his rights were traded that night to the Hornets along with the rights to Iowa State forward Craig Brackins, the No. 21 pick, for Kansas center Cole Aldrich, the No. 11 pick, and veteran Mo Peterson.
The trade, like all draft-day deals, couldn’t become official until Thursday.
All-Star forward David Lee is headed to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal as the former Knicks player will get a six-year, $80 million contract. New York will receive forwards Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and former Gonzaga star Ronny Turiaf. … Two-time All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, who agreed to a five-year deal with Chicago earlier in the week, joined the Bulls in a sign-and-trade. Utah also sends a second-round pick to Chicago for a trade exception. … The Bulls also confirmed the draft day trade that sent guard Kirk Hinrich and his $9 million salary along with the rights to No. 17 pick Kevin Seraphin to Washington in return for salary cap relief. … Four-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson signed his six-year, $123.7 million deal to remain with the Atlanta Hawks. … Center Brendan Haywood agreed to a $55 million, six-year contract to remain with the Dallas Mavericks. … The Nets reached an agreement in principle with free agent forward Travis Outlaw. … The Phoenix Suns re-signed free agent big man Channing Frye to a five-year deal worth a reported $30 million. … The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard Elliot Williams, the No. 22 overall pick out of Memphis. … The Milwaukee Bucks signed No. 15 pick Larry Sanders, a forward from Virginia Commonwealth, to a standard rookie scale contract that guarantees him $3.59 million for the next two years. … Free agent guard Steve Blake signed with the L.A. Lakers, getting a four-year contract worth $16 million. … The L.A. Clippers signed free agents Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes. ... The Bucks traded the draft rights to second-round pick Jerome Jordan to the New York Knicks for cash considerations. … Steve Quintanilla, 22, who was accused of inciting a riot during last month’s celebration of the Lakers’ NBA title, has been sentenced to nine months in jail.